Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada stood at the lectern on a recent afternoon and told the group of eight employees — two new academy graduates, one lateral police officer, and six promotees/academy graduates from the correctional facility — how he could relate.
He talked about the honor of wearing the uniform and the solemn duty. And he couldn’t contain his smile.
“I know what it’s like to go through the academy and to be so excited to get up on that stage,” Quezada said. The joy was apparent as he swore them in.
Two Anaheim PD correctional officers were promoted, four more were recognized for recently graduating from the reserve academy, and three new police officers were sworn in at the brief service, just hours before the academy graduation ceremony for two of APD’s newest officers.
In his promotion to Corrections Supervisor, Todd Gardetto said he was just “happy to share the pride” of wearing the badge.
Adrian LaFarge, who respectfully asked to wait a few minutes until his mom could arrive to see him promoted to bailiff, gushed: “I thank God every day for all the blessings in my life.”
New Correction Officer Brenda Alarcon talked about growing into her new job.
“I’ve been blessed to be here since I’ve been an explorer at 14 (years old),” she said. “The whole process has been amazing.”
Ed Bennett, recognized for graduating from the reserve academy, was hardly a new recruit, marking nearly 26 years in law enforcement with his graduation. He admitted being the “old guy” going through the academy was “the hardest thing physically I’ve ever done,” he said. “But the one thing I was, was determined. I never quit.”
Bailiff Abigail Vasquez, also a recent reserve academy graduate, was as relieved as she was excited to have her kids pin on her badge.
“If you told me 14 years ago that with kids and a husband and a mortgage I would go through the academy again, I would have said no,” Vasquez chuckled. “But it’s over! … We’re done!”
Lateral Officer Ricardo Ramirez, a former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy, admitted being a newly minted Anaheim PD officer was an “extremely humbling experience.”
New grad Jacob Addington, also humbled in the moment, said “this is a pretty amazing experience. I take this badge as a big responsibility. Thanks for this opportunity.”
Robert Reams, whose son pinned on his father’s new badge, told the gathering: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent this city. I look forward to serving.”