I do a lot of hiking and in many cases I am wandering trails alone; with an inseam of 29 inches on a good day; those I hike with take one step to my three. So it does not take long for me to fall behind unless I want to jog. Those of you who know me and see me on a regular basis know that is not going to happen. So I plod along at my own pace and enjoy the solitude. Truth be told I enjoy the solitude; it allows me to think and talk to myself and formulate my many ramblings.
This past week has been filled with much activity. Between retirement announcements; parties; court hearings; Frank White's acquittal; political posturing; promotional announcements; the deaths of Fred McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, it has been a very busy week. Frank White's acquittal started the week off on Monday morning. Daily; announcements trickled out announcing retirements of personnel from almost every area of the department. Some surprise announcements caught a few people off guard, as the numbers continued to rise. At the close of Friday the tally was in the neighborhood of 150 sworn and 30 non-sworn.
Thursday evening was the celebration of Chief Cheryl Meyers' retirement after 31+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The poignant tributes paid to Chief Meyers illustrated her place among those who have worked for, around and with her over the years. Those in attendance were spared the presence of the mayor who turned up a "NO SHOW' after making arrangements to appear. It was better he not show his face as this was a celebration for Chief Meyers, who earned and deserved the spotlight and attention on her and her career.
Friday evening had celebrations for Sergeant Tony Johnson, Cold Team Homicide Sergeant; Sergeant Ralph Garcia, Range master; Sergeant Juan Rivera, Eastern Division; and Sergeant Dan Ellison, STAR/PAL. 120 years of combined service leaving to enjoy the next chapter in their lives. Each will be missed greatly by the men and women of the department.
Saturday evening; Sergeant Steve Stone and Detective Victor Morel, Financial Crimes Task Force, held a joint party at the Rock House at the San Diego Police Pistol Range to celebrate their 62 years of combined service to the Citizens of San Diego. Smiles, laughs and lots of great stories were shared as Steve and Vic were honored by those who had the honor and pleasure to work with these two great men. Both will be missed and their experience will be difficult to replace.
Sunday, June 28, 2009, at 3:30 PM, Officer John Russell will celebrate his retirement at the Embers Grill located at 3924 W. Pt. Loma Blvd. If you have some time, stop by and say good bye and good luck to John. John has had a great career and is one of the good guys. His calm, easy going manner did not translate into an officer who just plodded along. John was a hard working, dedicated officer who always worked hard and volunteered to do whatever it took to get the job accomplished. John's enthusiasm and experience will be missed.
As I walked along this morning I wondered where the San Diego Police Department will be in the next 90 days; six months; a year. I wondered about the promotions and transfers to fill the void left by so many retirements. I wondered what is to come from the SDPOA and the City going back to the bargaining table to discuss the mayor's obsession with eliminating DROP and other benefits. I wondered if there was any possibility of a positive outcome from this next step.
My thoughts turned to where I am headed and what should I do for the next three years. Where could I go that would be fun, rewarding and allow me to make a difference? There are so many great jobs that have been created by the exodus of our most senior people; technical positions that require experience in a variety of fields. But what so many forget is the void left in patrol; the leadership and experience that has left and will move inside to investigations and administrative jobs. There are so many options; my mind flittered from one vacant position to another; always coming back to one position. I am also going to be certified for Lieutenant again and like anyone who takes a promotional test, hope to reach that next level in my career. So as you can see my mind was all over the place as I wandered the trails this morning. I was suppose to meet two friends at 0630 hours but did not make it (Sorry Terry and Dick). Sitting with the father-in-law till 3 AM ended any thought I had of getting up at 5:45 to hike at 6:30. I hit the trail at a little after 10:00; alone in my thoughts and wishing I had walked on the treadmill at home after the first 2 miles.
In August we will see the promotion of one Chief; two Captains; six Lieutenants; fifteen Sergeants and a gaggle of Detectives. The promotions will bring more movement and change. Opportunity will present itself for those willing to step forward. Change is there for the taking. When the dust settles we will be a different department. We have an opportunity to help steer the course for the future and put our mark on the San Diego Police Department. Have you thought about what seat on the bus you wish to occupy as we begin to move forward? (No, this is NOT the mayor's train leaving the station) The next 60 days will tells us all what is ahead. Hang in there and be safe.