The Tustin Police Department welcomed two new police officers and promoted four others during a ceremony March 28 in Tustin City Council Chambers.
Officer Graciela Melendrez and Reserve Officer Chelsea Marie Martin were sworn in by Tustin Police Chief Stu Greenberg.
“Promotions and new hires are a big deal,” Greenberg said. “You’ve got to go through a lot of steps just to be considered for a law enforcement agency.”
Melendrez comes to Tustin after about a year as a reserve officer with the Orange Police Department. She grew up in Cerritos and attended Cal State Long Beach, where she received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She served as a Sheriff’s Special Officer at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department before joining the Orange Police Department.
After being pinned with her new badge by her mother and grandmother, Melendez said she appreciated Greenberg and her field training officers giving her the opportunity to become a Tustin officer. She also thanked her family for giving her the strength to make it through the police academy.
“I’m incredibly grateful for their support throughout my journey,” Melendrez said.
Martin also graduated from Cal State Long Beach, where she was captain of the university’s field hockey team. She did her academy training at Golden West College’s Regional Criminal Justice Training Center in June 2018 before joining the Laguna Beach Police Department.
The capstone of the March 28 promotions ceremony was the promotion of Bob Wright to captain after 29 years with the Tustin Police Department. Wright is known by many Tustin community members for his sense of humor as the emcee for Tustin police events and for being the department’s public information officer.
“I want to thank the Academy… actually the Sheriff’s Academy,” Wright joked (he’s a member of the Orange County Sheriff Department’s Police Academy Class 100).
Wright has served the department as a patrol sergeant, K9 program supervisor, Special Enforcement Detail supervisor, and General Investigations supervisor. In 2014, Wright was promoted to lieutenant commanding the professional standards division where he oversaw administrative investigations, the cadet program, volunteers, community events, and training.
“I look forward to making our department, which is already wonderful, even better,” Wright said.
Duane Havourd, previously the sergeant for Tustin’s SWAT program, was promoted to lieutenant and now manages all policing activities in Tustin north of the 5 freeway. Havourd was promoted to full-time Tustin police officer in May 1990 and has since worked as a gang officer, narcotics officer, SWAT team member, and range master.
“I work for an amazing team,” Havourd said. “People at this department will drop everything for you and that’s the only reason I’m a success.”
Don Houle and Matt Roque were also promoted to the rank of sergeant.
A Maryland native, Houle served in the Marine Corps as a hydraulics mechanic and crew chief on a CH53-E Super Stallion helicopter before he graduated from the Golden West College police academy in March 2006. Since joining the Tustin Police Department about 12 years ago, Houle has worked in patrol, traffic, and as a field training officer.
Roque, a former president of the Tustin Police Officers’ Association, was born and raised in Canada. He was a communications officer for Tustin before becoming an American citizen. He was hired as a Tustin police recruit in 2010. Roque is recognized for starting the popular annual Run with a Cop event that brings officers and cadets to local elementary schools to encourage children to exercise and eat a healthy diet.
Roque bent down on one knee so his son and daughter could pin his new badge during the recent promotion ceremony. He said he needed to thank countless people for standing by him throughout his career, particularly his wife and children.
“Thank you for your patience and for sharing me with the Tustin Police Department and supporting me through this process,” Roque said.