By Gladys B. Vargas
Several new and experienced officers were honored at the bi-annual Oxnard Police Department Employee Recognition Ceremony Wednesday morning, September 27, 2023, in an event attended by city officials, family, friends and community members.
The ceremony, which recognizes newly-hired and recently promoted employees as well as employees with service anniversaries, was held at the Residence Inn Marriott in Oxnard Sept. 27. The event featured remarks from Mayor Jonh C. Zaragoza, Mayor Pro Tem Bryan MacDonald, and council member Bert Perello. City Manager Alexander Nguyen, and executive assistant to the mayor Martha Arenas-Guillen, were also in attendance among many others.
Zaragoza was invited to share a few words, and mentioned his memory of pinning his godson during a similar event years ago before complimenting the current honorees.
“I’ve always said that we probably have the best police department in the whole United States, and I really mean that because many, many times you guys are not given the credit that you deserve when you’re out there 24/7 and, and you’re missing an anniversary or a birthday, or your spouse’s birthday; which is really, really important.”
MacDonald, who served as Assistant Chief of Police in Oxnard until 2006, welcomed the new hires and recent graduates to the work, and thanked members and staff for their service.
“The police department is a family, and that family protects our community…I’m proud of the work that you do as a family to protect the community that I choose to live in,” MacDonald said.
“Bluntly, it’s an honor to serve in the city of Oxnard,” council member Perello said in his remarks, “but it’s also an honor to serve in a city where people feel safe on the streets.”
Members of the Sheriff’s Department’s staff attended the ceremony as well, according to Police Chief Jason Benites. Benites thanked Sheriff’s Department executive staff Victor Fazio, Shane Matthews, and Jose Rivera, for joining the event.
Officers with service anniversaries were gifted with pins reflecting their years of service, which were then pinned onto them by family members, partners, or Benites.
“The Oxnard Police Department’s badge is our symbol of not just authority, but is also a service and sacrifice,” Benites said. “Our badge, it stands for honor and it stands for integrity, as well as respecting others.”
Toward the end of the ceremony, Benites administered the oath of office to three new officers. Daniel Diaz-Sanchez, Jordan Upton, and Gustavo Urquieta that graduated from the Ventura County Criminal Justice Training Center on Friday.
“This ceremony, amongst others is held to recognize…that our employees are our department’s great assets,” Benites said, “and no organization should lose track of the thought that it is people that make things happen.”