Garden Grove’s two newest officers have something in common besides badges and training schedules.
Rookie Officer Hector Ferreira, 21, always has loved tinkering under hoods.
Reserve Officer Chris Doveas, 42, who happens to be built like a Mack Truck, has owned a successful automotive reconditioning business, Ding Me (dingme1.com), which specializes in paint-less dent removal, for more than 15 years.
Both reported to orientation in mid-June and are undergoing the required three months of tutelage by field training officers.
And both are thrilled to be part of the GGPD.
“There are two things about the Garden Grove PD I tell everyone: We’re a family, and second, we work hard,” Chief Todd Elgin said at Doveas’ swearing-in ceremony in June. Attendees included relatives and friends of Doveas, as well as Ferreira.
Elgin mentioned the legacy of good, hard police work at the GGPD.
“We like to take care of business and put crooks in jail,” the chief said.
With Doveas and Ferreira, the GGPD now has 166 full-time sworn officers, but remains understaffed. The agency, whose officers protect a diverse city of about 200,000 residents, has been authorized for 171 sworn officers. In addition to sworn personnel, the GGPD has about 75 full-time professional staff members.
Every year, the GGPD handles about 70,000 calls for service and makes about 6,000 arrests. This year, however, arrests are up 21 percent compared to the same time in 2016, Elgin said.
At the swearing-in ceremony, the chief said crime is “going through the roof” because of successful state propositions that, unfortunately, have put much more criminals on the street.
“The challenges of this police department are great,” Elgin said.
He added: “We’re not the biggest (police department), but we’re the best.”
Below are brief profiles of the two new GGPD officers.
Reserve Officer Chris Doveas
With Doveas, the GGPD now has 10 reserve officers, although one of them, Pat Julienne, is going back full time in a few weeks.
The reserve officers are Doveas, Julienne, Dan Edwards, John Ojeisekhoba, Dean Vargas, Lisa Belthius, Craig Herrick, Randy Chung, Veronica Nelson and Adam Coughran.
Elgin noted the commitment it takes to work part-time as a police officer while holding down a full-time job, as many GGPD reserves do.
“Our reserve officers are very, very committed,” the chief said.
Before joining the GGPD, Doveas was a reserve officer for the Laguna Beach PD for 7½ years.
From 1996-2001, he served in the Marines as a supply specialist, first at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (until in closed in July 1999) and then at Terminal Island in Long Beach. Doveas was part of the 3rd Anglico (Air Navel Gunfire Liaison Company).
Doveas grew up in a law enforcement family. His late father, John, was a deputy at the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Although his father, who died when Chris was 13, was Chris’ hero, he didn’t think of law enforcement as a career option growing up.
“I had no interest in that at a young age,” Doveas says.
Doveas started his Costa Mesa automotive shop after he left the Marines in 2001.
But he couldn’t shake the thought of pursing a law enforcement career. After all, he loved the structure and camaraderie of the Marines.
Doveas graduated from the Rio Honda Police Academy in 2009. It always was his goal, he says, to be a reserve at the GGPD, but he took the Laguna Beach PD job after that agency made him a conditional offer.
“I always looked up to and respected the job and what it represents,” Doveas says of law enforcement.
He says he eventually may want to become a full-time officer, but for now he’s happy running his thriving business — and working part-time as a GGPD cop.
“Since I’ve been hired here,” Doveas said, “I can’t be any happier seeing this type of camaraderie and family-like atmosphere.”
Officer Hector Ferreira
Like Doveas, Ferreira grew up in a law enforcement family. He has an uncle who is a CHP officer in San Francisco, a cousin who is a deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and another cousin who is an LAPD officer.
Born in Fountain Valley and raised in Santa Ana, Ferreira says he always wanted to become a police officer, his interest fueled by such TV shows as “COPS” and “America’s Most Wanted.”
The graduate of Garden Grove High School never considered another career.
Ferreira, at 18, became a GGPD cadet. He worked in Property and Evidence for two years.
He applied for a recruit position and went through the GGPD’s pre-academy in November 2016.
On June 8 this year, Ferreira graduated from the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy as a member of Class 226, which started with 34 recruits but ended with 23 graduates.
Ferreira says he’s interested someday in becoming a member of the GGPD’S Special Investigation Unit and its gang detail.
For now, he’s learning the ropes of being a GGPD officer at a challenging time for law enforcement.
“There are a lot of (anti-law enforcement) things going on, but I don’t get discouraged by it,” Ferreira says. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and no matter the how bad things may be, I still have a job to do.
“It has to be within you,” he adds of police work. “People out on the streets now don’t see law enforcement as they did back in the day. You really want to have to do this.”