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Westminster : First Vietnamese Officer Graduates at Academy

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The first Vietnamese officer in the history of the Westminster Police Department was one of six graduates of the Golden West Police Academy sworn into duty Thursday.

The officer, Manh Ingwerson, 27, of Westminster, was born in Saigon and recently completed a 6 1/2-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army, where he was a sergeant serving as a tank commander in West Germany, said Westminster Police Officer Larry Woessner.

More of the approximately 80,000 Vietnamese refugees in Orange County reside in Westminster than any other city, and the department has been seeking Vietnamese officers for a long time, Woessner said. He said the process was made difficult because in conducting background checks to screen out applicants, recruiters found most of the information needed was in Vietnam and unobtainable.

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“The need (for Vietnamese officers) is inevitable because it’s hard to find officers who can speak with Vietnamese people and understand more about their life style,” Woessner said.

The department has civilian Vietnamese employees, Woessner said, but no sworn officers. He said there are about 80 officers in the department.

Sworn into duty along with Ingwerson were: Robert Fowks, 21, of Garden Grove; Steve Moore, 25, of Long Beach; Tim Starn, 22, of Santa Ana; Christopher Taylor, 21, of Huntington Beach and Ronald Velez, 24, of La Habra.

The six officers recently completed 16 weeks of academy training. They will spend next week undergoing orientation with the Westminster Police Department, Woessner said, followed by 10 weeks of field training, during which they will ride with uniformed officers.


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