Earning an additional stripe on the uniform sleeve or a star for the collar is not an easy feat for a law enforcement officer.
An officer’s career and credentials are studied, even scrutinized, by an outside firm that determines whether that officer should bear a supervising title.
Westminster police on Thursday congratulated six on their force who earned this achievement with a promotional ceremony at the Westminster Rose Theater.
“The process was tough and objective,” said Police Chief Kevin Baker. “The people up here tonight earned these promotions.”
Dan Schoonmaker was promoted from commander to deputy chief, the highest-ranking position under Baker.
Schoonmaker started with the Westminster Police Department in 1990, and his previous assignments include K-9, narcotics and special investigations, among others.
He also has more than 17 years of SWAT experience, most-recently serving as a commander for the West County SWAT team.
Schoonmaker has a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and a master’s in criminal justice.
Two sergeants were also promoted to commander at Thursday’s event.
Cmdr. Cameron Knauerhaze started with Westminster in 1997 and has served in a variety of assignments including public information officer, a detective on the meth-lab task force and a homicide detective.
He is also a recipient of the department’s Medal of Courage and Medal of Merit.
Knauerhaze has a bachelor’s degree in emergency management, a master’s in communications, and an executive certificate in advanced negotiations from Notre Dame.
Cmdr. Mike Chapman grew up in Westminster and joined the force in 1991.
He has worked narcotics, gangs and special investigations, among other assignments.
Chapman is also a founding board member of the Community First Mental Health Conference and wrote up current protocol for how officers in Orange County handle calls involving the mentally ill.
Chapman has a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and a master’s in organizational leadership.
Three corporals earned a third stripe on their sleeve when they were promoted to sergeants.
Sgt. Mark Lauderback is also a homegrown officer having attending local high schools and the Golden West Police Academy.
He was hired in 1994 and has served in various assignments such as motor, SWAT and detectives.
Lauderback holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
While serving in the United Marine Corps, Sgt. Bill Drinnin signed on as a reserve officer for Westminster PD in 1999.
He was hired full-time in 2000 and has worked in the motor, patrol and traffic divisions.
Drinnin also supervises the department’s Honor Guard, is a member of the bike patrol team and is a team leader on the West County SWAT Team.
Sgt. Eddie Esqueda was hired in Westminster in 2000 and has worked in a variety of assignments including SWAT and detectives.
He also worked a Drug Enforcement Administration major narcotics task force where he investigated drug trafficking organizations.
Esqueda is currently working toward his bachelor’s degree at Cal State Long Beach.
In addition to the promotions, Baker honored six officers given speciality assignments.
Michael Harvey, Andy Pinvidic and Brian Perez were named detectives. Scott Gump, Brian Marlow and Alan Aoki were named corporals.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Baker said of the 12 honored Thursday. “The continued support of the council, city manager and mostly the community … is just beyond words.”
The officers start their new assignments Jan. 24.