The Tustin Police Department welcomed four new members to its ranks with a swearing in ceremony on Thursday.
More than a dozen Tustin police employees, both sworn and civilian, lined the back of the auditorium to watch their new colleagues —- two officers, a reserve officer and a chaplain —- take their oaths.
“You can tell by the turn out that these ceremonies are a big deal to us,” said Police Chief Charles Celano. “You are now members of the Tustin Police family.”
Celano had simple advice for the new hires: “(This career) goes by in the blink of an eye. Enjoy it, cherish it. It’s a great career and it’s the greatest job in the world.”
Meet the new members of Tustin PD:
Chaplain Jim Gwaltney
Gwaltney first started serving as a chaplain seven years ago to thank the men and women who serve in law enforcement.
He started with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, where he was assigned to Lake Forest.
Before becoming a chaplain, Gwaltney worked as an EMT and a substitute teacher in the Westminster and Fountain Valley school districts.
He also has led youth ministry groups in Long Beach and Fountain Valley. For the last decade, he has served in pastoral ministry at Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Irvine.
Gwaltney graduated from Long Beach State with a degree in speech communications. He later attended Seminary at Concordia University, where he earned a master’s degree in theology and culture.
Reserve Officer Taylor Ryan
After starting on a career path toward becoming a pastor, Ryan changed course in 2013 and put his focus on law enforcement.
He entered the Golden West Police Academy, where he served as the chaplain of his class often offering spiritual advice and counsel to his colleagues.
After graduation, Ryan worked in Laguna Beach as an officer for six months. He is currently in Tustin’s field training program.
Ryan grew up in Westminster and later attended Riverside Community College.
Officer Kendal Russell
In working with at-risk children and families, Russell said she found her calling to law enforcement.
Russell graduated with honors in 2007 from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in social work, which prompted her to work with families in the mental health, social services and criminal justice systems.
Her work inspired her to become an on-site advocate with the Irvine Police Department, where she participated in training days, ride-alongs and also responded to crime scenes.
Russell became a police officer in 2012 with the Santa Barbara Police Department. She was hired in April by Tustin PD.
“I am definitely excited to be back in Orange County,” she said. “I am humbled and honored to work here and excited to learn.”
When not on duty, Russell enjoys hiking with her dog, mountain biking and CrossFit-style workouts.
Officer Yun Ivy Zhao
Zhao grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, where she was first introduced to law enforcement through a local Explorer program.
Zhao served as the captain for the Police Explorer Academy in the San Gabriel Valley area.
She attended Cal Poly Pomona, where she majored in psychology. During college, she worked as a barista and supervisor at Starbuck’s.
She enrolled in the Golden West Police Academy and graduated in March. She was hired by Tustin in April.
Zhao enjoys hiking, traveling and spending time with family when not on duty.