Sacramento Police and Sheriff's 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-05-16

WOODLAKE, SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Friday, May 2, officers from several agencies, including Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, descended upon the quiet Woodlake neighborhood for the 17th Annual Remembrance Ceremony, and to commemorate a new memorial plaque for Officer Mark Stasyuk who lost his life in the line of duty on September 17, 2018.

The ceremony included a procession of law enforcement officers from Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento Sheriff’s Department led by the Sacramento Firefighters Pipes and Drums.

Officer Paul Brown, President of the Sacramento Police Sheriff’s Memorial Foundation welcomed officers, fallen officer families, dignitaries, fellow officers from outside agencies, and the general public.

“Today, let us remember our Sacramento fallen,” said the 20 year Sacramento Police Department veteran.

Pastor Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church gave the invocation prior to guest speakers.

“It is in times like these that we realize how fragile we are and how quickly our loved ones can be taken away from us.” Each officer, he added, to be remembered had paid the ultimate price, as did the fallen officer’s family, in order to protect the citizens.

“Today we are saddened, and also honored, to add yet one more hero to the rank.” He then called for prayers for Deputy Mark Stasyuk and his family.

“We honor Deputy Stasyuk for his extraordinary bravery in the face of imminent danger,” he stated.

Throughout the invocation, the bells of Sacramento Regional Transit’s light sounded gently. The memorial, a living monument, is situated across the street from Woodlake Park and behind the light rail station on Arden Way. Land was donated by North Sacramento Land Company, wrote Rotary Club of North Sacramento President, Stephen Lemmon. His organization, along with Woodlake Improvement Club worked with the land company.

“Since we had a great working relationship with the Sacramento Police Department, the idea was hatched for a memorial,” Lemmon wrote, adding that Rotary Club member Dennis Tsuboi submitted the design and the club contributed $10,000.

In 1992, “a foundation was formed including both unions for Sac PD and Sac Sheriff, reps for the Chief and the Sheriff, the Rotary Club, Woodlake and the Council Member,” wrote Lemmon.

A list of major funders, board of directors, and past board members is etched in granite beside the dedication stone that reads, “For all those who served & sacrificed wearing the badge, we are eternally grateful.”

Sacramento Police Department Chief Daniel Hahn spoke first.

“Welcome to these sacred grounds,” he said. “We will never forget the sacrifice that you have made for our entire community.”

Chief Hahn spoke several minutes about current challenges for law enforcement, community, and how these men and women “know what it takes to protect our community, to protect our values and our way of life.”

“We pray that this will be the last year that we add a name to this very important memorial,” said Hahn.
Sheriff Scott R. Jones spoke next, thanking Supervisor Susan Peters, general public, and fellow officers.

“I love coming to this place. I come from time to time. It seems like things are a little quieter, things are a bit more contemplative. It seems like I’m able to be a little bit more reflective. I love the fact that the community takes care of this place. It is truly hollow ground,” he said, adding that he also hates that there needs to be a place like this and that another name needs to be added this year.

Mark Stasyuk’s name joined twenty other Sheriff’s department officers, District Attorney Investigator Grant Wilson, Galt Police Department Officer Kevin Tonn, and sixteen Sacramento Police Department officers.

“His life made a difference,” said District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

Chief Todd Sockman, Galt Police Department, spoke about the family of law enforcement and the family that includes the community.

“As a family, we can get through this,” he said.

Following the guest speakers, the name of each of the 39 fallen officers was called, with a moment of silence, and the placement of a yellow rose on each memorial plaque by members of each respective agency. Each officer was honored with a white-gloved salute by a member of his agency.

Sheriff Jones said of 4 ½ year veteran Mark Stasyuk, that he “exemplified what it meant to be a law enforcement officer.”

Yellow roses were presented to members of the Stasyuk family who carried the flowers and placed them on his memorial.

Following a moment of silence, the rider-less horse was led in and through the memorial, a bugler played “Taps,” followed by a 21-gun salute, and a flyover of helicopters in the missing flyer formation.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together,” said Sacramento Police Officer William J. Conner in the benediction. “We are all part of something greater than ourselves.”

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Dispatcher of the Year Award

Citrus Heights Police Department  |  2019-05-16

Dispatcher Scott Kermgard, the CHPD awards recipient, standing with Police Chief Ron Lawrence.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as Public Safety Telecommunicators. On Saturday, April 6, 2019, the Organization of Public Safety Telecommunicators (OPST) hosted the 22nd annual Dispatcher Awards Banquet to recognize and honor police and fire 9-1-1 dispatchers, call takers and supervisors for their exemplary performance and contributions to the community.

OPST is comprised of call takers, dispatchers, supervisors, and managers from 9-1-1 Public Safety agencies in Placer, El Dorado, Nevada, Sacramento, and Yolo Counties, including state agencies.

Each year many Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) dispatchers are nominated for the annual Dispatcher of the Year Award, and this year Dispatcher Scott Kermgard was selected as the CHPD awards recipient.

Scott joined the CHPD Communications team shortly after the inception of CHPD in 2006. During his tenure, Scott has served in a variety of training and leadership roles and is looked upon as a veteran member and mentor of this team.

On December 27, 2018, Scott received a frantic 9-1-1 call from a woman who had just been struck by a drunk driver while riding her skateboard. Scott remained on the line with the victim for over 20 minutes while he, his partners, and responding officers attempted to identify the caller’s location. During that time, Scott demonstrated incredible calm, compassion, and encouragement, and the victim was successfully located and transported to the hospital with critical injuries.

For many the story ends here; but not for Scott. He and his partners would later visit the victim in the hospital to show their care, concern and compassion towards those we serve.

The above example is just one of many reasons Scott is deserving of this award. In department-wide nominations, he was recognized for his consistency, reliability, expertise, professionalism, and compassion. Scott is a consummate professional and has earned this award for his ongoing compassion in representing the dispatch profession.

Congratulations, Scott! We are so lucky and honored to have you on our team.


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No Code, No Confidence

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-05-16

Councilmember Steve Miller (right) presents a proclamation to Citrus Heights chief building official Greg Anderson, recognizing May as Building Safety Month.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The City Council issued a proclamation observing May as Building Safety Month. The goal of 2019’s Building Safety Month is to raise awareness about the importance of safe and resilient construction, fire prevention, disaster mitigation, and new technologies in the construction industry. This year’s theme is “No code, no confidence.”

Councilmember Steve Miller said there is public confidence in the structural integrity of local buildings, which is “achieved through the devotions of vigilant guardians… building safety and fire prevention officials, architects, engineers, builders, tradespeople, design professionals, laborers, plumbers, electricians… and others in the construction industry.”

“These guardians are dedicated members of the International Code Council (ICC),” said Miller. ICC is a United States-based organization that brings together experts on the local, state, and federal levels “to create and implement the highest quality codes to protect citizens in the built environment.”

The City’s chief building official, Greg Anderson, accepted the proclamation and thanked the Council for their support. Throughout the month of May, the Building Division will have displays and informational handouts available at City Hall to raise awareness about building safety. 

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CHPD Chief Lawrence Elected President of The California Police Chiefs Association

Special CHPD Release  |  2019-03-27

Chief Ron Lawrence

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald A. Lawrence will be installed as the 54th President of the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) for a one-year term, on March 9, 2019, at its 42nd Annual Training Symposium held at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Chief Lawrence brings extensive experience to the position of President of CPCA, having been in law enforcement for 29 years. He has served as the Chief of the Citrus Heights Police Department since October 31, 2016, having previously served as Chief of the Rocklin Police Department for several years. Prior to becoming a Police Chief, he also served as a Police Captain with the Rocklin Police Department, a Lieutenant with the Palo Alto Police Department, a Sergeant and Police Officer with the West Sacramento Police Department, a Police Officer with the Lincoln Police Department, and a Deputy Sheriff with the Placer County and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Departments.

Chief Lawrence was appointed to the CPCA Board of Directors in 2011 and was elected third vice president in 2016. During his eight years on the CPCA Board, he has served on several committees and workgroups, chaired the association’s Finance Committee, as well as the Political Action Committee.

“Leading the California Police Chiefs Association this year as President is truly humbling. I join a long history of California police chiefs who have been consistently dedicated to keeping Californians safe, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the years. We have proven ourselves trustworthy partners to all who have an interest in public safety; we have championed good policy as well as opposed bad policy, in our focused efforts to protect California communities. There is much to accomplish in the coming year, and we stand ready to continue our legacy of leading professional municipal policing in the state. Our top priorities will be to work collaboratively at addressing issues facing our profession, including homelessness and the mentally ill, strengthening community trust, helping frame the conversation around police use of force, and working to pass legislation to standardize policies and training. I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with all California police chiefs, who are committed to working with our stakeholders on these priorities and many other issues that impact the safety of California residents,” -Chief Ronald Lawrence.

Chief Lawrence is the second police chief to lead the Citrus Heights Police Department, taking the helm from the departments’ inaugural police chief, Christopher Boyd, who is the current City Manager. Boyd served as CPCA’s 49th President in 2014, prior to taking the City Manager position and hiring Chief Lawrence to lead Citrus Heights Police Department into the future. Boyd will administer the Oath of Office for Chief Lawrence’s CPCA inauguration on March 9, 2019. During Chief Lawrence’s tenure at Citrus Heights, the crime rate has lowered, and addressing homelessness has been a top focus.

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Council Recognizes Winners of Student Art Contest

Story and photo by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-03-05

Members of Citrus Heights City Council stand with the 13 student winners of Republic Services’ annual Poster Contest.

Approves Grant Funding for Tactical Police Gear

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Republic Services, which provides residential garbage and recycling services to Citrus Heights, recently held their annual Poster Contest in partnership with the San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD) and Citrus Heights schools, teachers, and students. This year’s contest prompt was “Put Plastics in Their Place,” and was intended to promote recent changes to recycling guidelines. Students in grades K-8 were eligible to participate in the contest, and members of the Citrus Heights City Council and city staff members helped choose the winning entries.

The contest winners were recognized at the January 24 City Council meeting. Twelve student winners received certificates and $25 gift cards to Barnes & Noble. The grand prize winner, third-grader Bethany Morales, was presented with a certificate and a $50 gift card. Arlington Elementary had the most participation and received $500 to spend on art-related school activities.

Dignity Health representative Dr. Jill Walsh, who will be the site medical director of the new Mercy Medical Group Citrus Heights Medical Office Building, updated the Council on the progress of the state-of-art medical center located at 7115 Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. The expansion will include 50 physicians providing a wide range of primary care, family medicine, and specialty care services for patients. Dr. Walsh explained that they have planned a staggered approach to moving in to the new building, with the first wave planned for June 2019, and then second and third waves in July and August 2019.

The new medical center will serve the growing medical needs of the community and improve access to quality care for residents. Michael Korpiel, president of Mercy San Juan Medical Center, said, “We are a proud member of this community for over 50 years, and we are excited about the future.”

Councilmember Bret Daniels expressed his appreciation for the care provided by Mercy San Juan, saying that over the years many of his family members have been cared for by the dedicated staff.  He also wanted to bring up a concern about the “unintended consequences” of a new California law that says hospitals can’t discharge patients unless they have somewhere to go. Daniels is worried that the issue of homelessness in the community will impact the level of care. He said that if the beds are taken up by homeless persons, then there won’t be room to admit other citizens in need of medical attention. He asked, “What is Mercy San Juan doing to ensure that there is going to be room for the citizens of Citrus Heights?”

Korpiel replied, “The simple answer is that the law that was passed was the right thing to do. And we’ve been practicing the right thing to do already…We actively work with social workers and community partners to ensure people can be placed somewhere safe when they’re discharged…It’s the right thing to do and we’ve been doing it for a long time.”

During public comment, local resident David Warren stated that he believed “the Dignity Health representative gave an overly rosy view” of the homelessness issue. Warren said, “My experience at Mercy San Juan was very different from what was presented.” Warren claimed he saw many mentally ill or homeless people in the hospital and he believes that caused a delay in his own treatment and that of other citizens. He suggested that the Council ask Mercy San Juan to present a detailed plan for how they will deal with the homeless issue.

Chris Ryan with the Citrus Heights Police Department gave a presentation about the department’s request for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Funding. Under this program, federal funds are allocated to augment public safety expenditures, which must be spent on law enforcement activities. The JAG funding available to Citrus Heights is $27,961 for fiscal year 2017 and $29,157 for fiscal year 2018; the funds must be expended by September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2021, respectively.

The 2017 funds will be used to purchase Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) cameras, the total cost of which will be $48,000. The Department intends to use special monies from the Citizen’s Option for Public Safety (COPS) fund for costs exceeding the grant amount. The closed-circuit SWAT camera systems will give officers access to vital and time-sensitive information in high-risk situations, including the layout of structures, potential barricades, and the location of the suspect and victims.

The 2018 funding will be used to purchase approximately 30 riot gear suits in various sizes, which will cost around $40,000. To cover the costs over the grant amount, COPS funds and/or the department’s budgeted general fund will be expended. The suits will allow officers to safely respond to partner agencies in need of mutual aid, and to engage effectively in crowd control events when necessary.

Officer Ryan stated that the purchase of both the tactical cameras and the riot suits will assist officers in responding to high-risk calls while increasing officer and citizen safety. The Council voted unanimously to approve the grant funding for the requested expenditures. 

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Farley Does the Trick

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-03-05

Detective Moranz and Farley are ready for duty. Photo courtesy Citrus Heights Police Department.

Citrus Heights Police K9 to Serve Sacramento Region

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA  (MPG) – Police K9 Farley, newest addition to the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD), may be performing an invaluable service, keeping illegal drugs from reaching the streets of Sacramento and beyond, but it’s all just a game of fetch to him. 

Farley is a single-purpose narcotics detection canine. The two-year old Labrador Retriever was sworn into the CHPD by Police Chief Ron Lawrence at the December 13, 2018 city council meeting.  He was assigned to work with his handler / partner Detective Dave Moranz, a 28-year veteran of police work who has been with the CHPD since its inception in 2006.

Officers Farley and Moranz are a team, assigned to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Narcotics Enforcement and Criminal Investigations Task Force. During their intensive five-week training, Farley was trained to sniff out and alert Detective Moranz to the ingredients in four illegal narcotics; marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin. Farley received his official Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) certification on November 23, 2018.

After being on the job for only three months, Farley has been involved in the seizure of 40 pounds of marijuana, 9 grams of cocaine, 16 grams heroin, and 9 grams methamphetamine.

Farley begins searching for drugs only upon hearing the words, “peanut butter” spoken by his handler. As far as Farley is concerned, he is not looking for drugs, only his tennis ball. Working as a team, Farley detects the scent of the narcotic and alerts Detective Moranz by a behavioral change such as sitting close to the source of the odor of the controlled substances he is trained to alert to.  Moranz watches him while he is working an area and checks to validate what he has found. Farley is rewarded with a “good boy” and a few tosses of his tennis ball each time his mission is accomplished.

In an email, Police Chief Ron Lawrence expressed his pride in Farley’s accomplishments.  “Having Farley on our team has been a tremendous asset. He is not only an expert at sniffing out illegal drugs and helping to solve crimes, but he is also a huge hit within our community. Everyone seems to love Farley! In a very short period of time, Farley has already proven himself as a valuable member of our policing team.”

The team continues their training weekly at different locations with different trainers to keep their skills sharp. Moranz described to this reporter one search where a substance was hidden high on the wall inside a covered a key case. Farley heard his command, took off and ended up twirling in a circle towards the source of the odor of the controlled substance. He then clamped his paws onto the wall beneath the box and stared at it until rewarded for his work.

Of the five K9’s with the CHPD Farley is the only one certified for narcotics detection. K9’s Dax, Blitz, Luke and Jake are trained in officer protection, tracking and criminal apprehension.

Farley spends his off time with his handler, Dave Moranz.  Both are on-call to assist CHPD and USPIS wherever and whenever there is a need for a narcotics detection canine.  Farley has also been called out by CHPD to assist in searching for illegal narcotics and on other cases.

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Sayonara Youth Center is Thriving

By Elise Spleiss  |  2019-03-05

Transformations Continue and Lives Are Changed on Sayonara Drive. Photo courtesy City of Citrus Heights

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - If there is a residential street or neighborhood that can be showcased as a template for totally revitalizing itself, it is Sayonara Drive in the city of Citrus Heights.

For the first ten years of cityhood, Citrus Heights endured the stigma of the crime and blight on Sayonara Drive. This three-block swath of land was known for gangs, drugs, shootings, assaults, and a myriad of other calls to 911.  Located off Sunrise Boulevard, between Greenback Lane and Auburn Road, Sayonara was the street to avoid. Calls to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department were, on average 32% higher than anywhere else in the city.

That was then. Now, almost 13 years since the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) was formed in 2006 and began a methodical transformation of the street, crime is down more than 70%, 15 offending apartment building were demolished and a long, ongoing collaboration was created and is continuing to this day to keep Sayonara Drive safe for its families and the surrounding communities.

This collaboration is between Campus Life Connection, which oversees the work of the Sayonara Children and Youth Center, CHPD, local churches and other service organizations, and members of the community at large. All continue to work alongside the families of Sayonara Drive.

The mission of the Center according to the Campus Life Connection / City Life website is to “develop character, confidence, responsibility and faith in the lives of young people and their families through educational, social, physical and spiritual programs.”

Integral to the project’s success was the work of a new Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Unit created by then Police Chief Christopher Boyd to address the problems on Sayonara. Officers formed relationships with students at the first Sayonara Children and Youth Center housed in two small apartment units.  

Eventually, as trust grew between police and residents, these officers, working with the City, volunteers from the community and local churches, along with the students and their parents became a successful team, eventually taking back their street.

In 2012 a new 2,700 square foot Children and Youth Center and a new park and playground was built for the residents of Sayonara Drive with a federal grant.

Julie Habeeb has been site director since 2015 when Gladys Standard, the first site director retired. Habeeb, 28, works with over 100 students from elementary through high school who call this building and playground their home away from home.

Habeeb volunteered at the “old” center in 2008 while in high school. She kept in touch with the Center and some of the students during her three years in Los Angeles working for a non-profit. Upon her return in July of 2012 she was hired on staff with Campus Life Connection to be the Program Assistant at the Sayonara Center. In 2015 she was hired as site director at Sayonara.

At risk children and teens work and play hard and thrive at the Center. There is never a dull moment when students begin to arrive for the after-school program. Tutors and other volunteers help with homework, make healthy snacks, help on the computer or baking or artwork. When homework is completed many students and volunteers head next door to play on the half-sized basketball court.

Students are constantly learning during their time at the Center. One of the goals of the City Life program is “to raise leaders in their communities who will affect long term change.” Not only do they learn at the Center but working with Sunrise Park and Recreation, playing football, basketball, martial arts, and attending CHPD  Police Activities League (PAL) events.     

During the summer there are middle and high school trips day camps and trips including Break Away at Bayside, swim lessons and Extreme Camp with the CHPD.

 Two students tell why they like going to their after-school program and other outing. Sergio, 12 says, "The reason I attend the Center is because it’s a fun place to be at and it's also a cool hang out spot. I look forward to fieldtrips with the Center. My favorites so far have been going to Santa Cruz and to Mojo Dojo."

Richard, 15 says, "If it wasn't for the Center I am sure I would have dropped out of school already."

If you would like to be a volunteer at the Center call 916- 390-1117.


Sources: Campus Life Connection

California Police Chiefs Association

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