One of the most rewarding parts of Adam Sattar’s job as a Santa Ana police officer is when he can respond ‘yes.’
That is, he loves telling his 5-year-old nephew a little about his most recent adventure in response to the child’s inevitable question, “Did you catch any bad guys today?”
As a member of the 10-officer Directed Patrol Team, Sattar has been with the Santa Ana Police Department for five years.
The team responds to community complaints, Sattar explains, concentrating resources on problem areas, responding to Crime Stopper complaints, and acting on tips. Team members also assist the gang, vice, and other units as needed.
“I came to Santa Ana because, after doing research, I knew that this is a city where I can do actual police work,” says Sattar, 33, a longtime Orange County resident. “It’s a place that offers everything I’ve wanted to do.”
With a bachelor’s degree in criminology from UC Irvine, Sattar says he has always wanted to pursue a law enforcement career. He began career preparations as a young man by working with a nonprofit organization dedicated to diverting at-risk youth from the juvenile justice system. As program coordinator for the Shortstop program offered by Project Youth, he served youth and their families with counseling, drug and alcohol treatment, community service, and academic support.
“The majority of the families were from Santa Ana,” he recalls. “Multiple times I’ve been on patrol and come into contact with some of the kids I worked with, who are now grown up, and some of them are going to or have graduated from college and doing positive things with their lives…It’s neat to come full circle.”
Sattar’s family background helps him relate to Santa Ana’s diverse population. Born in London and maintaining dual U.S. and U.K. citizenship, his mother is Irish, and his father is Middle Eastern.
“They met when they were both studying in London,” he says. “After they were married for four or five years they came to the United States – the land of opportunity – first landing in Florida and then ultimately making it to Southern California, where we’ve lived ever since.”
Growing up with culturally diverse parents offered Sattar and his sister many opportunities to travel to different countries.
“It has helped me in terms of exposure to many different cultures,” he acknowledges.
In fact, he says, the divergent areas of Santa Ana – the wealthy neighborhoods of Floral Park and areas touched by poverty and gang activity – both challenge and enrich his experience as a police officer.
“Any day you can come into contact with people with very different mindsets and expectations,” he says. “Being multicultural myself makes it easy to adapt.”
In his spare time, Sattar lifts weights, runs, and uses the large gym available to Santa Ana employees.
He also spends a lot of time with his two nephews, ages 1 and 5 years old. He also reads for pleasure and recently finished “Shotcaller: The Life of a Mexican Mafia Soldier.” Which details the life of a San Diego gang member who rose through the ranks in prison by Casey Diaz.
While he enjoys working with residents to brainstorm about issues and solve challenges together, he also likes participating in the department’s community engagement activities, such as Coffee With a Cop and holiday events geared toward families.
During his five years as a Santa Ana police officer, Sattar says, he has had opportunities to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse escape their predicaments, and has arrested suspects believed to have victimized others.
“Not everyone has the ability we have to help others,” he observes.
“I’m most proud when people say that we have positively affected their lives and the lives of their kids,” Sattar says.
“Not every problem can be solved but when they can, it is rewarding.”