Anaheim PD Officers Matthew and Joshua Juntilla have had their share of mix-ups.
Especially when Matthew – the newer officer and identical twin to Joshua – first started working at the APD’s main station on Harbor Boulevard about six months ago.
“Aw, it was a mess,” Matthew said.
Other officers at the APD have their tricks for knowing which of the twins they’re talking to. Since Joshua is right-handed and Matthew is left-handed, that affects where each wears his gun. Also, Joshua is about an inch taller – but that’s more difficult to determine when the twins are not standing side-by-side.
“People say we walk the same,” Matthew said.
Interestingly enough, the Juntilla brothers aren’t the only identical twins working for Anaheim PD.
There’s also Officers Matt and Patrick Bradley, who currently work out of the East Station, and Public Information Officer Sgt. Daron Wyatt also has an identical twin – Lt. Gary Wyatt – who works for Irvine Police Department.
“I’m just happy because a lot of departments don’t hire brothers and family,” said Joshua.
Added Matthew, “Even though we’re brothers, they treat us as individuals.”
The Juntilla brothers
Joshua joined the APD three years ago, following in his stepfather’s footsteps – he is a police sergeant in Honolulu, where the brothers grew up. Matthew became a personal trainer for a while, but then decided he also would pursue a career in law enforcement.
“Our goal was to make it to the NFL, but that didn’t work out,” said Joshua, adding they moved to California in 2009, playing for Orange Coast College and Golden West College.
At the tail end of their football careers, Joshua decided to refocus his career path from chasing footballs to chasing bad guys.
“I’m an adrenaline junkie and there’s a purpose behind [police work],” Joshua said. “It’s a good purpose.”
It’s been a great help to Matthew that his brother has already been working as an officer for a few years.
“Made it a lot easier rather than it being all new to me,” said Matthew, adding that Joshua has a way of explaining things to him that makes it easier to internalize. “I can talk to my future self.”
Because Matthew is still in training, they haven’t seen much of each other at the station yet – though they see plenty of each other at home since they live together.
“We’ve been on one call together,” said Joshua. “It was a trespassing call…The guy got a bit confused.”
As for the confusion in the station, the brothers usually just go with it. Because they share many of the same interests, hobbies and get along with the same kinds of people, they can easily complete casual conversations with other people for each other — Though they also will let people know they’re the wrong Juntilla, when necessary.
“If someone’s friends with him, they’re friends with me,” Joshua said.
The Bradley brothers
Although identical, Matt and Patrick don’t seem to have the same mistaken identity problems as the Juntillas.
“The only people who ever confuse us are the people who don’t know us,” said Matt, who has worked for the APD for 16 years. “For being identical twins, I don’t think that we look identical…We just have two different personalities.”
Matt worked at the Long Beach Police Department for nine years before lateraling over to Anaheim. Patrick served in the U.S. Coast Guard before starting work at the APD, where he’s been for 17 years. Patrick has worked in the K9 unit, as a motor officer and as a collision investigator. He’s now working patrol.
Matt has worked in the traffic division and as a detective, and is also now back in patrol. Both of them are also on the APD Mounted Unit.
“We’ve worked together on and off for a number of years. When I first started, we worked patrol together for several years,” said Patrick.
Even when they’ve been out on calls together, people don’t seem to pay much attention to their similarities.
“When we go to calls, we just handle them the way we’d normally handle them as if we were with any other cop,” said Patrick. “People don’t notice it as often as you would think, even with us standing right next to each other.”
They do part their hair differently – and always have – and Matt wears prescription glasses all the time, while Patrick doesn’t.
“No one’s ever even asked if we’re brothers,” said Matt, adding that most people they meet out on calls are probably more concerned that they’re dealing with police officers rather than what they look like.
No one else in the brothers’ family works in law enforcement, but they had a friend whose dad worked at the APD and got them in as police cadets.
“Since we grew up in Anaheim, we went to school in Anaheim, we know a lot of the people in the city – it just seemed like a good fit,” said Patrick.
The Wyatt brothers
While Daron and Gary have never worked for the same agency, there have been times when their work paths have intersected.
In 2004, they were both supervising their agency’s respective narcotics unit and got to do some work together. (Daron was at the Placentia Police Department at the time while Gary has always been at Irvine PD.)
“It was pretty fun,” Daron said.
Daron said there also have been incidents throughout their careers when they’ve been confused – such as when he’d gone to book someone at the Orange County Jail and was asked if he hadn’t just been there.
“One time in the SWAT academy [I was asked], ‘Has anybody ever told you that you look like Gary Wyatt?’” Daron recalled. “Yeah, I’ve heard it my whole life.”
The brothers were adopted, children to missionaries who spent ages 12 through 18 in South Africa. When they got back to the United States, they attended Orange Coast College. Gary wanted to major in wildlife research and return to Africa, but his plans changed when he realized the major required two semesters of calculus, in which he was getting a C.
Both of the Wyatts ended up working in security. Gary realized he was good at spotting drug users and thieves at the store he worked.
“I did very well at security,” he said.
Daron started as a reserve officer at the Tustin Police Department in 1986 and went full-time in 1987. Gary entered the academy about a year after Daron.
Gary, a lieutenant in charge of Internal Affairs at the IPD, is going into his 29th year in law enforcement and Daron is nearly at 30.
Though Gary “never would have really guessed that we would have both ended up in the same field” because they’re “actually quite different,” they do share common interests in photography and returning to Africa for wildlife trips.
“We do have a lot of the same mannerisms,” said Gary. “He’s always been heavier than me… That’s the easiest way to really tell us apart.”