Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Share
News

To protect and serve

Jeff Tully

As a basketball point guard, Dave Ulloa is used to protecting the

ball and serving up his share of assists to teammates.

Although the former Hoover High graduate is still a force in the

Advertisement

hoop game, Ulloa has found another way to protect and serve -- as a

Los Angeles police officer.

In a unique melding of his two passions, Ulloa, 28, has found a

way to combine his love of basketball with his career in criminal

Advertisement

justice.

The eight-year Burbank resident is a sure-shooting player for the

LAPD’s talented basketball team. With Ulloa’s help, the team has

earned a trip to compete against the finest law enforcement and fire

fighting athletes in the world.

Beginning today through Aug. 3, Ulloa’s squad will be competing in

the 10th annual World Police and Fire Games in Barcelona. The Games

will join more than 10,000 participants who will compete in 64

Advertisement

sports.

“We know we are going to be going up against some very good

teams,” said Ulloa, who is 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds. “But we think

that we have a pretty good team ourselves, and we are looking forward

to it.

“Some of our players played Division I college basketball and some

have played internationally. We even have a former L.A. Laker [Trevor

Wilson] on the team.”

Advertisement

The World Police and Fire Games were created in 1985 by the

California Police Athletic Federation with the goal of promoting

physical fitness and sport within the police and fire fraternity

worldwide. The Games are held biennially and are open to active and

retired, publicly employed and full-time firefighters and peace

officers.

The LAPD squad earned the chance to compete in the competition

with a fine showing in the California Police and Fire Games.

Ulloa said he became involved with the LAPD team when he was

approached by some players while he was still at the police academy.

“It’s been great playing for the team,” he said. “It gives me a

chance to continue playing the sport.”

Thriving on the basketball court is something Ulloa has done just

about all of his life.

In fact, his desire to get his law enforcement career off the

ground pulled Ulloa away from a successful professional career

halfway around the world.

In 1997 and 1998, Ulloa was a wildly popular player for the

Victorian Basketball League in Australia. Playing for the Euchuca

Pirates, he quickly became the most prolific scorer in the league.

In his rookie season, Ulloa was unstoppable, leading the league in

scoring. In 30 games, he averaged 45.3 points a game and was also

tops in three-point shooting (49.3%, 138 of 280). He was also second

in three-throw percentage (89.8%, 167 of 186) and assists (7.1 per

game).

“I had a great time playing in Australia and I was thankful to

have the opportunity to compete professionally,” Ulloa said. “But I

really wanted to come back and get my career started.”

So, with three years left on his five-year contract with Euchuca,

Ulloa headed back to Burbank.

Ulloa got the chance to play professionally after a fine career at

Thousand Oaks California Lutheran University, where he turned heads

and broke records with his sharp skills and personable demeanor.

At Cal Lutheran -- an NCAA Division III university -- Ulloa was a

four-year starter for the Kingsmen and was a three-time All-Southern

California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference award winner.

His finest season came in 1995-96 when he was a senior. Ulloa led

the team in scoring (16.4 points a game), assists (5.1) and steals

(2.0). He holds the school record in career steals with 214.

Not only did Ulloa put a great deal of hard work and effort honing

his basketball skills at Cal Lutheran, but he also put in just as

much time making sure he received a good education. Majoring in

criminal justice, he also got a minor in physical education coaching.

“I have never had a player who was as well conditioned as Dave,”

Cal Lutheran Coach Rich Rider said. “He was always in the best shape

and he was also a very hard worker.

“The other great thing about him is that he was one of the most

intense players you will ever see. You put those two things together

and you have a real Tasmanian Devil of a player.

“When we heard that Dave was going to become a police officer, a

few of us said we feel sorry for the bad guys because we knew Dave

was going to bring the same dedication and intensity to that job that

he does for basketball.”

Along with his basketball skills, Rider also said Ulloa is a

gentleman who should be considered a valuable role model.

“I just can’t say enough about him,” Rider said. “He is just a

great human being and a very nice person to be around.”

Ulloa’s work ethic was also apparent at Hoover, where he graduated

in 1992.

In his senior season -- playing for Coach Kirt Kohlmeier -- he was

an All-Pacific League first-team and All-CIF Southern Section honoree

for the Tornadoes, averaging 24.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.0

rebounds a game.

Along with his personal aspirations, Ulloa -- who lives in Burbank

with his wife Yvette -- has a passion for helping younger players and

a driving desire to give something back to the community.

While playing in Australia, Ulloa spent time helping develop

junior programs and working with young players in clinics.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Ulloa has seen how children can go astray

without the proper guidance and education.

With that in mind, Yvette Ulloa said her husband finds time to try

and make a difference.

“Dave has benefited from some things when he was growing up, so he

really is committed to giving something back to the community,” she

said. “He really tales it seriously.”

One of his endeavors is working on the Burbank Community

Development Goals Committee, in which he is serving a four-year term.

The BCDC is a citizen’s liaison between the federal government and

the city of Burbank that makes recommendations to the city council on

policy issues.

Finding time to devote to his job, family, basketball and other

interests has become an art for Ulloa, who would like to move up in

the police ranks and hopes to be a training officer or a detective.

However, Ulloa admits nothing puts a hard day of chasing bad guys

behind him like a few games of basketball.

“I think I will still be playing basketball in my 50s, and

probably even after that,” he said. “I guess it’s just in my blood.”


Advertisement