OK, first things first.
That last name.
John Siko, recently promoted to captain at the Fullerton Police Department, where he started as a cadet in 1983, has been dealing with questions about his surname his entire career.
Does it rhyme with the word that refers to a person with unpleasant inclinations (sicko), or the Hitchcock classic starring Anthony Perkins?
For the record, it rhymes with “Psycho.”
Not exactly the best last name for a cop. And about as far from Capt. Siko’s character as one can imagine.
Siko’s great-grandparents from Hungary changed their surname to Sojka after immigrating to the U.S.
“It’s been an ongoing battle,” the good-natured Siko said of dealing with comments from colleagues and suspects — just about everybody — about his surname.
Siko, 50, was promoted to captain following the departure of George Crum, who this week was sworn in as chief of police in Cathedral City, and the retirement of the Capt. Lorraine Jones (check here soon for a profile on Scott Rudisil, the other newly promoted captain).
In a recent interview, Siko said it never was his game plan to rise through the ranks of the FPD.
“I thought I might make it to sergeant one day,” said Siko, known around the department for his laid-back personality. “A lot of it has to do with timing. Did I ever see myself being a captain? No way. But the timing was there.
“I love this place,” he added. “I love the people. And the opportunity to help shape the future of this department was very exciting to me.”
As captain, Siko manages the Operations Division, which includes Patrol, Traffic, Reserves, Narcotics, Gangs and SWAT.
“I am extremely proud of John and the tremendous way he has conducted himself as has served our department and community for over 30 years,” Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes said of the appointment.
“He is a man of character who lives his professional and personal life in an honorable manner,” Hughes said. “I am proud to call him a partner and friend and look forward to his continued influence of leadership in our organization.”
Siko grew up in Placentia and graduated from El Dorado High School. He enrolled in business classes at Fullerton College (“Or UCLC, the University on the Corner of Lemon and Chapman,” Siko said with a laugh).
He knew becoming a police officer was his calling after he took an elective in law enforcement, which he calls a “noble” profession.
As a cadet in 1983 — he and Hughes were cadets at the same time — Siko worked several assignments throughout the department. In 1985, he graduated from the Orange County Sherriff’s Academy and began his career as an officer.
He has worked in Patrol, Traffic, on a Community Policing Team, as a Field Training Officer, as an investigator, and as a tactical operator on the SWAT team.
In 2002, Siko was promoted to sergeant, where he worked as a supervisor in Patrol, on a Community Policing/Special Problems Unit known as the Crime Impact Team, Property Crimes, and as supervisor of the Crisis Negotiations team for North County SWAT.
Siko said he especially loved working on the Crime Impact Team, whose mission was to arrest career criminals. He was on the team from the mid-’90s through 2002.
In 2011, Siko was promoted to lieutenant. He worked as a Watch Commander in the Patrol Division, a Commander of the North County SWAT team, and managed the Traffic Bureau.
Siko is married with three children. His wife, Leslie, is a police dispatcher.
He has a lot of relatives in the Pennsylvania area where his ancestors first settled.
Said the new captain: “There are a lot of Sikos out there.”
Yes, he caught the joke.
Siko grinned and got back to work.