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Police Groups Endorse Sanchez for Reelection

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

In an unusual coup for a Democrat, three police officer organizations in central Orange County have endorsed Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) for reelection.

The formal announcement will be made today in Santa Ana, but officials Thursday confirmed the decisions by the associations that represent officers in Anaheim, Santa Ana and Garden Grove.

Two years ago, all three backed then-Rep. Robert K. Dornan for reelection.

The three departments are the largest in the 46th Congressional District, where Sanchez is unopposed in the June primary but faces vigorous opposition in the fall. Four Republicans, including Dornan, are seeking the GOP nomination to oppose her in November.

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Dornan expressed surprise at the endorsements.

“If this is a general-election endorsement, it is incredible because there was no interview of any other candidates,” Dornan said. In the past, he said, the endorsements were “a very structured process with a full board hearing. This is unprecedented.”

Said Anthony Bertagna, head of the Santa Ana police association’s political action committee: “We think [Sanchez] is responsive to our needs and interested in what we do. She meets with us and talks to us, and we haven’t gotten that in the past.”

Sanchez played a role in delivering a $1-million grant for community-based policing to the Santa Ana Police Department and $400,000 for the Orange County drug court program that provides counseling and community service options for first-time offenders, as well as grants for the Anaheim and Garden Grove departments, said Sanchez spokesman Lee Godown.

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“The endorsements are validation of the work that Loretta has been doing on one of her principal areas of concentration: crime,” he said.

Jerry Pierson, a political consultant to public safety employees in the state, called it “unusual for any police association to endorse a Democrat in this county.”

Sanchez, though, “has been really active helping them get grants and making some programs work,” he said.

Sanchez, who flew back to the district from Washington on Thursday, is expected to be at the 11 a.m. ceremony today at the headquarters of the Santa Ana police officers association.

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