Juan Chavez Jr.'s swearing in Tuesday at the Glendale police station
was a homecoming of sorts.
Chavez returned after an eight-year stint as a deputy with the Los
Angeles County Sheriff's Department to serve Glendale, the city he
grew up in. He came home to help keep the high quality of life for
others that he experienced during his formative years.
"I want to help people growing up in the same way a police officer
helped me when I was in school," the 31-year-old said. "I feel like I
can wear a gun and badge, and still play kickball with the kids and
have a positive attitude."
Chavez was one of seven officers who were officially welcomed
Tuesday by Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams. The ceremony was one of
the largest swearing-in ceremonies for officers transferring from
other law enforcement agencies in the department's history.
Officers Matthew Ruzgerian, Lynette Martinez, Nelson Aguillon,
Paul Fletcher, Ryan Smith and Mark Oliver were also sworn in.
For so many officers to transfer to Glendale demonstrates the
Police Department's "outstanding reputation" in law enforcement
circles, Adams said.
"This speaks well not only of the department, but of the community
as a whole," he said.
After serving three years with the Los Angeles Airport Police,
Oliver wanted to switch to more traditional police work.
"People in airports are coming and going," the 31-year-old said.
"I could never see the fruits of my work."
After taking a ride-along and talking with friends on the force,
Oliver said he was impressed by the professionalism and decided to
apply. Smith, formerly of the La Verne Police Department, echoed that
sentiment, adding that Glendale residents stand by their police
"The city really, truly believes in the Police Department, and the
people back it, which is nice because that's not always true in other
parts of L.A. County," Smith, 31, said. "And that is very important
for police officers."
Officer Carlos Dominguez, who transferred from La Verne to
Glendale about two years ago, encouraged Smith to transfer. Smith,
who has been with La Verne for 10 years, had fewer promotional
opportunities with the 48-member force, Dominguez said. Besides, he
said, Glendale is a more police-friendly city.
"Instead of driving down the street and having people give you bad
gestures, everyone here waves," he said.