Graduates first from police academy

August 31, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Eleven voices raised in unison repeated the words.






When the 11 finished the pledge, Calexico Police Chief Tommy Tunson presented the first graduating class of the Citizens Police Academy to an audience of family, friends and civic leaders.

The 11 graduates are Enrique Alonzo, Hortencia Alvarez, Claudia Camargo, Raul Cardenas, Daniel Castelo, Martha Covarrubias, Veronica Gonzalez, Ubaldo Herrera, Chris Minjarez, Marco Trucios and Mariana Valenzuela.


To earn a spot at the front of the City Council chambers Thursday night, the graduates had to complete a three-hour class every week for 12 weeks as well as ride with an officer on duty for 10 hours.

The graduates learned about departmental procedure and the nature of police work from the inside during their time with the force.

Tunson said the graduates will be charged with sharing that knowledge in the community.

"You can't go out on car stops but you can support us in areas where we need assistance.

"When people talk in the community and say things about the department you can go to them and say, ‘I sat in dispatch. They respond to call to call to call,'" he said.

Tunson applauded the 11 for their participation and said, "There is no higher calling than volunteer service."

He said it was the first such graduating class ever, not just in Calexico but in the Imperial Valley.

"This has never happened before in the history of Imperial County. You have stepped forward and put your imprint on the historical map.

"It shows that Calexico will continue to be leaders in Imperial County and you are self-evident of that now," Tunson said.

After the ceremony, Castelo said there are a lot of things the graduates can do for the department, including helping children and teen-agers.

He said the classes were interesting and he is looking forward to returning to his neighborhood to share what he has learned.

Camargo said she will be able to help the department because she knows more about the department's procedures.

The opportunity to be a part of the Police Department and help is what led Minjarez to join the academy — that and the Fox Television show "COPS."

"I'm probably here today because of that show. I used to come home and watch it," he said.

Not that a TV show can compare to the experience of an actual ride-along.

"Oh, ‘COPS' is nothing like when it happens to you on a ride-along. You get the thrill of a ‘code 3' emergency call," he added.

Mayor Victor Carrillo said the success of the academy is important because the Calexico Police Department is asked to do more than any other department in the county because of the city's proximity to the international border.

He lauded the spirit of the graduates because, "You have taken it upon yourself to give something back to the community."

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison said he was impressed with the volunteer aspect of their service and said he hopes to see the program "continue to be a success for years on in."

Councilman Javier Alatorre said the academy could be the start of something bigger.

He said the City Council will keep looking for innovative ways to address security issues in the community.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can reached at 337-3419 or

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