Oxnard PD Welcomes New Officers

By Tim Pompey y Carlos Garcia

The Oxnard Police Department held its semiannual Employee Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 4, at the Oxnard City Council Chambers. On hand for the welcome were seven new police officers, eight new civilian employees, and one employee promotion.

Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney called this class of graduates and new employees “truly the cream of the crop that our community has to offer.”

Whitney also noted that this was the first time the Oxnard Police Department sent six candidates to the academy without losing a single cadet. Typically, only about 75% of cadets manage to complete the police academy’s training program.

Among the new hires, several interesting points were noted. Four of them are bilingual. Two are former Oxnard Police Explorers. Two have master’s degrees. One became an Eagle Scout at the age of 15. One has traveled to seven different countries. One dressed up as McGruff the Crime Dog. One lived in a foreign country for six years. One’s a former all-star high school basketball player. One is from New York, and one worked at Topper’s Pizza.

The listings of new hires and promotions were as follows: New Employees: Brittany Barton, Public Safety Dispatcher; Kirsten Bergseth, Police Call Taker; Stuart Cassity, Public Safety Dispatcher; Nichole Chen, Crime Analyst Data Technician; Jessica Coleman, Public Safety Dispatcher; John Fitzgerald, Public Service Officer; Jacylyn Solomon, Police Call Taker; Jonathon Teague, Police Call Taker.

Promotions: Monique Garcia, Crime Analyst I. Police Cadets: Curtis Burgan, Cody Cassiano, Mason Galindo Matthew Grey, Norma Mendez, Alex Reynoso and Juan Valdovinos.

Also recognized for his eight years of service on the Police Chief’s Advisory Board was Pablo Ortiz from Gold Coast Broadcasting, who is retiring and moving to Oregon.

Speaking to friends and families gathered in the City Council Chambers, Chief Whitney called this group of new hires “smart, motivated, and they all came to the Oxnard Police Department with the spirit of public service.”

For the cadets, the Chief emphasized the importance of continuing education.

“They can never stop learning on this job,” he asserted. “It does not stop after the academy. It does not stop after field training. We all have a responsibility to stay fresh, to continue to learn and develop throughout our careers.”

He also reiterated that the police department functions successfully because of shared values. Those values include honesty and integrity, cultural diversity, community partnerships, reverence for all laws, respect for others, strong work ethic, and the public’s trust.

“Outstanding organizations have shared values,” he said. “They’re part of what make us proud to work for the Oxnard Police Department.”

The new employees come from a variety of different backgrounds, locations, and cultures.

Monique Garcia was promoted to Crime Analyst I. She will collect crime statistics for the city. She was previously a crime analysis data technician doing mainly data entry. Now she can study crime trends and help the department make resource decisions.

“I get to dig in and do the real crime solving,” she stated. “I’m very excited to be able to use the skills I learned in my certificate program.”

Brittany Barton was hired as a Public Safety Dispatcher. She will communicate with police officers in the field and dispatch them to calls.

Her goal as a dispatcher simply stated was that “I wanted to help people.”

Matthew John Grey is a new police officer from Northridge. Being hired as a cop has been his lifelong dream.

“I finally got tired of wondering, can I do it?” he said. “I decided to go for it and here I am.” Looking into the future, he thinks he might pursue several different directions.

“Right now, I just want to be a good cop and get through training,” he said. “But I think I want to work in K9, or maybe narcotics, maybe gang suppression. I’m not quite sure yet. I’m going to explore some things first.”

What convinced him to come and work in Oxnard?

“I did a field ride-along,” he recalled, “and I was hooked ever since.”

For Police Chief Scott Whitney, he always looks forward to these recognition ceremonies.

“It’s always a proud day for us, because we go out into the community, we hire the best of the best,” he said. “It’s a long process, a six-month process to get hired, five months in the academy, five months in field training. When we have this ceremony, it’s a proud day for us as a department.”

He is always impressed with the quality of new hires that come into the department, particularly with the support of their families, spouses, and children.

“We bring on such good people with big hearts,” he noted. “It’s also a proud day, and you can see it from the families.”

For young cops just coming in, Whitney can always sense their dedication. “They’re full of energy, full of enthusiasm,” he said.

The best part is that many of them are local, having either grown up in Ventura County, or currently living in the area. They’re proud of their communities, and there’s no shortage of candidates who want to work for the Oxnard Police Department.

“There’s a challenge nationally with departments finding candidates and hiring police officers,” Whitney observed. “We don’t have that problem in Oxnard. We have plenty of young people, people that want to be police officers, that want to serve the city.”