11 stories you may have missed in 2014


The stories below didn’t make our top 10 most viewed, but they ranked among our favorites because they tackled an important topic, involved great heroism or humanity or were simply fun reads.

So if you missed them the first time, here they are again.

Since launching July 1, BehindTheBadgeOC.com has published more than 450 stories and columns – all focused on public safety.

We look forward to pursuing many, many more in 2015.

Here’s our list:

John Roman: Here’s what it’s like to almost shoot an unarmed person
Officer Roman’s regular stories from the beat are entertaining and insightful. At a time when officer-involved shootings are grabbing national headlines, Roman provides a first-person perspective of the split-second, life-and-death decisions officers must make.

Officers rescue suspect who led them on high-speed pursuit
This story exemplifies how police officers uphold their sworn oath to put the public’s safety before their own. At one point, the suspect in this case tried to run the officers who later saved his life off the road. The fact that those officers then pulled him from a burning car showcases the heroism and humanity that is regularly displayed in OC law enforcement.

Family fights to keep cop killer behind bars
Cypress Police Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley sums this one up best: “When three California police officers have recently been shot and killed in the line of duty, the mere consideration of this hearing sends the wrong message to criminals that murdering a police officer is permissible.”

Dramatic 911 call captures dispatcher giving lifesaving instructions to new father
A good percentage of the stories we’ve published since launching involved heroic acts by police officers and firefighters. In this case, the hero was a dispatcher who calmly helped a father save the life of a child who was born in a toilet. The drama was caught on tape.

Vargas: Body cameras get ready for their close up
Anaheim and Fullerton PDs became the first in Orange County to acquire body-worn cameras – and they made the decision before on-body cameras became a hot national topic. Transparency continues to be a big issue for police around the country, and retired Anaheim Capt. Joe Vargas provides readers with the pros and cons for this important new tool.

‘I wanted out,’ officer says of harrowing child abuse case
Police officers have to deal with unimaginable trauma. It’s easy to forget that they are human beings who experience emotion as they pursue justice for victims of crime. See how one Westminster officer dealt with it.

Sheriff inspires women to be law enforcement leaders
The sheriff and two of her top commanders drew a standing ovation for a speech at the California Police Chiefs Association’s “Women Leaders in Law Enforcement Training Symposium” about the challenges they overcame to enjoy successful careers in law enforcement. Fortunately, Jaimee Lynn Fletcher was there to cover it.

Von Luft: What it’s like to feel forgotten
Kevin writes, “They are just your husbands, wives, sons, daughters, moms and dads trying to do a dangerous job so they can provide for their families. Remember this the next time the media or government officials focus their fear-based reporting or political agendas on the split-second decisions an officer made to defend himself or herself or another person’s life. Unfortunately, I think you will get that chance very soon.”

La Habra PD unleashes officers of a different breed
When most people think about police dogs, they think German Shepherd. Not at La Habra PD. Meet Bobby, a 38-pound English Springer Spaniel born in Ireland, the newest dope dog. He’s not the only unique canine. There’s also Emerson, a 105-pound Golden Retriever and Labrador cross,  is a special police dog used in the field to help traumatized people. Emerson has also been known to boost the morale of officers and helps them work through job-related stress.

A cop, a dog and a short tale about second chances
An abused puppy finds a new home just in time for the holidays. Does it get any better than that?

Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada: ‘You have to communicate’
Deservedly so, shot K9 officer Bruno was the Anaheim Police Officer who generated the biggest headlines of 2014. While his heroism is well documented, the efforts of the police department’s leadership to rebuild relationships with the Latino community didn’t generate as many headlines. It’s an important story.