He arrived at work that first day in a suit because that’s what you wear when you want to impress the new bosses.
Matt Nunley parked his Chevy truck in the parking lot and headed into the Tustin Police Department prepared for some behind-a-desk training.
When he got inside, he saw everyone gathered around television sets. They were horrified with what they were watching.
“Do you have a police uniform?” Nunley was immediately asked.
Nunley put on the uniform and accepted his first-day assignment: Patrolling the Tustin Civic Center looking for anything suspicious. The United States was under attack.
It was September 11, 2001.
“It seems like so long ago, like forever,” Nunley said.
Last Thursday night, Nunley was honored in a ceremony in which he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Also promoted was Brian Greene, to the rank of Lieutenant. The ceremony also welcomed three new employees; Parking Control Officers Guadalupe Lazaro, Garret Gergins and Eileen Chen.
During the ceremony, Chief Charles Celano also honored Sgt. Duane Havourd and Officers Mike Shrode and Tom Knostman for their contributions to the SWAT team. Havourd, Shrode and Knostman rotated out of SWAT after serving on the team for several years.
Chief Charles Celano told an overflow crowd in the Tustin City Council chambers that the promotion ceremony is “one of the honors and privileges that a Chief has.” Celano introduced each of the honorees and their family members.
The honorees then were joined by a family member or friend, who pinned a new badge on their chest.
Celano honored the SWAT members by explaining they had been involved in hostage situations, intense searches for suspects and barricaded suspects. Each of the honorees had completed long careers which is particularly impressive, as SWAT is one of the more difficult assignments, due to rigorous physical and tactical training requirements.
The three Parking Control Officers are just beginning their careers in Tustin.
“I hope to grow into a sworn officer,” said Lupe Lazaro, who is a student at Cal State Fullerton. “I come to work ready to learn.”
Garret Gergins, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, thanked his family.
“I’m super thankful to my parents for encouraging me,” he said.
Eileen Chen has worked for years in Crime Scene Investigations. She has a degree in Economics Administration from the University of California, Riverside.
Brian Greene was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant after 20 years as a detective, training officer and patrol sergeant. In 2006, Greene won the Medal of Valor Award.
This is the kind of police officer Greene is. Just before the holidays in 2005, Greene was on his way to get a Christmas tree with his family. He was driving on Santiago Canyon Road when he saw a car engulfed in flames.
Greene ran over and helped pull a woman out of the car. The car fire became a brush fire. The woman had severe injuries but she survived.
When he became a sergeant more than eight years ago, Greene forgot to thank his wife in his speech. So he thanked her first Thursday night. That got him a big laugh.
“I got it right this time,” he said.
Greene said he’s ready for the challenge of being a lieutenant.
“I’m excited for this new opportunity,” he said.