No one in Daniel Bui’s family was surprised he became a policeman. The only question was what took so long.
On Jan. 19, Bui formally became a sworn police officer, graduating and taking the oath with 42 fellow classmates as part of Class 252 from the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy in Tustin. The class of 43 graduates represents 14 agencies, including nine in Orange County.
Earlier in the day, in a more intimate setting, Bui was honored by the Tustin Police Department, bringing together two families: Bui’s biological relations and his work family.
At the Tustin Police Department, family is a core value, as was evident in the gathering of 20-something new “siblings” from the agency, who came to the briefing room to greet the newest member of the clan.
“It makes me happy to introduce our family and meet your family,” Officer Mark Sauerwein said as he welcomed Bui, 26.
“We’re a family,” Chief Stu Greenberg said before issuing the oath of office. “We support each other in good times and bad. We will take care of him. We’ll give him the best training. We’ll give him the best equipment. On behalf of the Tustin Police Department, welcome to our family.”
Bui received a ceremonial “pinning” from his mom, Kathy, who affixed his new badge to her son’s uniform breast pocket.
The process would be recreated hours later, with his dad, Hung, performing the honors as Bui was announced at the training academy graduation. Bui’s parents were joined at the two ceremonies by his brother, David; sister, Faustina; and his girlfriend, Mariah Marron. Bui’s first day on the job was scheduled for Tuesday.
Seed takes root
“It was something in the back of (my) mind,” Bui said of the idea of entering law enforcement. “The seed was planted and grew through time.”
After graduating from Santiago High School in Garden Grove in 2015, Bui served in the Air Force in Okinawa, Japan, and Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was a communications technician and rose to the rank of sergeant. After leaving the service, he became an Emergency Medical Technician and got a degree as a licensed vocational nurse.
“I loved being a nurse,” Bui said, adding that the job also ignited his first love, which was to be a policeman. Bui began looking for opportunities and eventually was recruited by Tustin PD. Once Bui took the plunge, joining the training academy, he proved to be a natural. Bui took first place in his class in firearms and finished No. 10 in the class overall.
“I heard nothing but good things,” Greenberg said of Bui. “They worked him hard in the academy and he earned it. His work in the academy was outstanding.”
Sauerwein, who oversaw Bui’s background research and has monitored his progress through recruitment and training, joked about Bui’s accomplishments before adding seriously, “Sheriff’s Academy is no joke.”
In an era when policing is moving more toward community engagement and collaboration, Bui seems to fit the model of the new recruit.
“Every day is different,” Bui said about the appeal of policing. “I want to use critical thinking and my interpersonal abilities to help people.”
Bui said the Tustin Police Department, with its family vibe and positive reputation, felt like an immediate fit.
“I wanted to work with a department that collaborates and works with the community,” he said. “Tustin is all about community policing.”
As for his future goals, Bui is modest, saying he would like to become a field training officer and a sergeant.
“He’s always been headstrong. He’ll be good,” Hung Bui said of his son. “I am more than happy.”