The La Habra Police Department announced the promotions of six officers — two to corporal, three to sergeant, and one to lieutenant — to rousing applause from the audience at the La Habra Community Center on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
The promotees all received their new titles following the ceremony, and all went through a rigorous testing process that included written tests, panel interviews, and an interview with Chief Jerry Price. All six have received multiple commendations from the department, supervisors, and the public for their police work.
“We’re very fortunate to have them,” Price said. “We know they’re going to do good things.”
Those in attendance at the ceremony included family members, La Habra PD employees and retirees, La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Blazey, Councilman Jim Gomez, City Manager Jim Sadro, retired Chief Dave Hinig, retired Chief Dennis Kies, La Habra Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Sturdevant, and La Habra City School District Superintendent Joanne Culverhouse.
“It means a lot to us to have some of our previous here to celebrate the latest accomplishment of our department,” Price said.
Corp. David Diaz
Corp. David Diaz, who joined La Habra PD in 2011, was the first to receive his new badge and will be a field supervisor on patrol.
“David was drawn to law enforcement because he wanted to make a positive contribution to the citizens he served,” Price said. “Within his first year with our department, he was a productive officer at the department.”
Diaz, who is bilingual, has served La Habra as a patrol officer, general investigations unit detective (where he worked on sexual assault and domestic violence cases), special investigations narcotics unit task force officer with the Inland Commercial Enforcement and Financial Interdiction Team, and has been involved with the Spanish Citizens’ Academy.
Diaz also has completed the Goldenwest Leadership Development course and has a bachelor of science degree from Union Institute and University.
“I want to thank the department for giving me the opportunity to be a leader out in the field,” Diaz said. “And I would like to thank my family and my friends for the unconditional support.”
Corp. Craig Hentcy
Corp. Craig Hentcy joined La Habra PD in 2008 with more than 12 years of law enforcement experience. He has worked as a field training officer, range master, and as a general investigations unit detective handling auto theft, auto burglary, and robberies; as well as homicides, assaults, arson, and kidnapping cases. He is currently the police association president.
Hentcy worked on the Emma Posadas murder investigation, which culminated in the suspect being sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in December.
“It was a challenging case in that it included two different jurisdictions with two potential crime scenes,” Price said. “Craig overcame those obstacles and conducted a thorough investigation. He was responsible for key interviews that provided investigators with fruitful leads that eventually led to the arrest of the perpetrator.”
Hentcy helped create the department’s Peer Support Group for times of crisis, and took part in the Police Unity Tour 3-day bicycle ride to honor fallen officers. He also received the American Legion Officer of the Year award.
“Craig is always ready to work and prepared to do whatever is asked of him with a smile,” Price said. “He epitomizes the customer service facet of our profession. His enthusiasm for the job shows in his positive attitude and job performance.”
Sgt. Jennifer Southern
Sgt. Jennifer Southern was the first of three promoted to sergeant. She began her career at the La Habra Police Department in 2010, and has since received numerous commendations, as well as the MADD DUI Apprehension Award in 2011 and 2012, the OCAT Award in 2012 for the most auto theft recoveries in the department, and a Lifesaving Award in 2015, Price stated.
“Very early on in her career at the department, Jennifer showed initiative with her above average productivity in the field,” Price said. “She received three written commendations, all three in reference to her being a part of a team effort which resulted in the safe apprehension of three different suspects.”
She has served the city on patrol and as a general investigations unit detective on cases including burglary, theft, domestic violence, sexual assault, sex registrants, and arson.
“I want to thank my mentors that encouraged me and helped guide me into this position, and friends and family that helped, whether it’s taking care of Logan or support in this journey,” Southern said. Her 9-year-old son, Logan, pinned her new badge.
“I just think it’s really cool, because she can protect other people and I can make new friends,” Logan said, referring to friends he’s made who are children of Southern’s coworkers.
Southern was the final employee hired by Hinig, who attended the ceremony.
“I was very proud to see them progressing in their careers,” Hinig said. “It’s kind of like coming back home when I come down here. Orange County’s law enforcement is an extremely high caliber.”
Sgt. Kim Razey
Sgt. Kim Razey has been a La Habra police officer since December 2001. He has worked as a motor officer (fulfilling a childhood dream), field training officer, special investigations unit gang detective, crisis negotiator for North County SWAT, and task force officer with the Department of Homeland Security Financial Interdiction Team.
“As a new sergeant, Kim plans to encourage his fellow officers to get to know the citizens they serve by participating in community events, community meetings and greeting citizens during their patrol shifts,” Price said.
Razey’s great work includes leading a donation drive to buy a new bicycle for a child who’d been stuck under a minivan in a collision and broke his leg. The boy’s bicycle was destroyed in the collision, Price said. Razey collected funds from other officers, friends, local businesses, and community members, and was able to give the boy a new bike, a new PlayStation, and gift cards to help the family.
He also led a successful campaign to place signs on Beach Boulevard in honor of Officer Michael A. Osornio, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1994. In 2012, Razey received a Lifesaving Award for resuscitating a child at a community pool in Irvine.
“For those of you who didn’t believe in unicorns, you can now,” Razey joked. “I’d like to thank the chief of the department for the opportunity to work on the next page of my career. Thank you, Chief, and my friends, current and retired, you guys have all helped me along the way (to) make this a reality.”
Sgt. Dave Morrison
Sgt. Dave Morrison joined the force later in life as an act of passion, after selling his successful printing business in Santa Fe Springs and enrolling in the academy. He joined La Habra PD in March 2008.
He’s worked patrol, as a member of the honor guard, and as a school resource officer (SRO), earning the 2012 American Legion Officer of the Year award.
“David really took ownership of his schools and he took pride in being their SRO,” Price said. “He made an effort to make himself available as much as possible and was also a resource for the students to go to.”
He was promoted to corporal in 2014, and he earned his bachelor of science degree in 2016. He has also received a chief’s citation and several commendations from citizens for his work, Price said.
“He followed his dream and he accomplished it,” said Morrison’s mother-in-law, Cicilia Dominguez. “He achieved it. He’s got great work ethic. Seeing the accomplishment he’s done is just fantastic.”
Morrison’s wife, Theresa, pinned his new badge.
“I’m so proud of my dad, first to promote and then he got his bachelors (degree) at age 55,” said daughter Jessica Morrison. “It’s a really proud moment for our family because we really supported him. He works so hard.”
Lt. Brian Miller
Lt. Brian Miller joined La Habra PD in January 2006 and was promoted to sergeant in 2011.
He was inspired to join law enforcement by a family friend who was a police officer and a mentor after Miller’s father died of leukemia when Miller was 13.
Miller has worked patrol and been a motor officer; acting unit supervisor; watch commander; detective sergeant for the special investigations unit; operator, sniper, and training cadre for North County SWAT; field training officer; supervisor of range operations and range master; honor guard unit supervisor, terrorist liaison officer coordinator, and drug recognition expert program coordinator and instructor.
“Being a police officer has given Brian the opportunity to help shape our department and his fellow officers in a positive way, and gives him the opportunity to provide leadership to this community,” Price said.
Miller has also been involved with the 5k Special Olympic Torch runs, Love La Habra, Read Across America, La Habra PD Open House, SWAT demonstrations, organizing community meetings, the Citizens Academy, and Coffee with a Cop, and he’s a recipient of the American Legion’s Officer of the Year award.
“It’s just been a dream of his,” said his wife, Tanya Miller. “I’m just very proud of him.”
“We are very proud of Brian,” echoed his mother-in-law, Laura LaVoie. “He’s a very hard worker and we wish him all the best.”
Miller thanked the chief, the command staff, and officers he’s worked with, and thanked Kies for hiring him. He also thanked his wife and in-laws.
“My wife is my rock,” he said. “She’s my everything and no matter how bad of a day I have, it’s always nice to know that coming home there’s always someone there that loves me.”