Garden Grove officer a shining example of agency’s drive to groom from within


For law enforcement agencies looking for quality hires in today’s competitive recruiting environment, a guy like Patrick Murphy is a dream.

The rookie officer at the Garden Grove PD, who still is in field training, was groomed from within the department – an ideal situation for public-safety agencies facing challenges to fill sworn positions with fresh talent as well as veterans from other PDs.

The Garden Grove PD, Chief Todd Elgin repeatedly has said, takes great pride in finding promising candidates when they are young, giving them a taste of law enforcement work through the agency’s explorer and cadet programs, and then, hopefully, eventually hiring them.

Murphy, 28, is a former GGPD cadet and community service officer who is back with the agency as a sworn officer after serving in the U.S. Navy.

“We’re glad to have you back,” Master Reserve Office Paul Danielson told Murphy when he ran into him during a recent interview.

“Thanks, sir,” Murphy replied.

“He was my favorite cadet,” Danielson said. “He was locked on. He didn’t goof off and disappear for hours. He was an adult, and we took him very, very seriously.”

Murphy says he loves the family-oriented vibe of the GGPD.

“And I believe they really try to grow the agency from within,” says Murphy, whose father is Irish and whose mother is Filipino.

Murphy, who grew up in Anaheim, moved to Garden Grove when he was 13. He was almost 18 and teaching martial arts when he yearned for something more.

He went on the City of Garden Grove’s website and saw a job listing for cadets.

“I had no idea there were cadets, but I applied,” said Murphy, who always had considered becoming a police officer so he could “chase the bad guys.”

Officer Patrick Murphy, a rookie with the Garden Grove Police Department, started as an explorer with GGPD. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Patrick Murphy: “I always thought if I had a successful career in law enforcement and I didn’t join the military, I always would wonder when I retired, ‘Why didn’t I serve?’” Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Murphy was hired and served as a GGPD cadet from 2007-2010, when he promoted to CSO. While a CSO, he also worked part time as a valet at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach and earned an associate’s degree in social science from Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Murphy was 24 when he decided to join the military.

“I always thought if I had a successful career in law enforcement and I didn’t join the military, I always would wonder when I retired, ‘Why didn’t I serve?’” Murphy said.

“I felt the need to do my service.”

The GGPD was very supportive of Murphy’s desire to join the military.

After leaving the Navy in April 2016, Murphy started the pre-academy at GGPD, a three-week mini-version of the much more rigorous academy run by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The GGPD sponsored Murphy through the academy and he graduated as a member of class 222 on Nov. 16.

“It had its stresses,” he said of the OCSD academy, “but I enjoyed it.”

Murphy said he hopes to eventually land a position with the GGPD’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and also work gangs and SWAT.

For now, he’s enjoying the ride as a patrol officer in training.

“Every day’s different,” he said, “and whether you think you are or not, you’re helping somebody out.”

Continued Murphy: “I want to be a good role model for the kids that see me on the streets and try to dispel everything that’s (anti-law enforcement) on social media…. I feel law enforcement is a good profession to be in, and I think I can help turn things around as far as perceptions about policing and police officers. I want this to be a profession that people look up to.”

Murphy is married. He met his wife at GGPD when both were explorers. She now is a police officer who works for a municipal police agency in Los Angeles County.

So the GGPD not only groomed him, but also his wife to become police officers.