Thursday, December 29, 2016

Is Loving Your Fellow Man Still a Thing?

I see hate, despair, evil and intolerance each and every day. I have lived, worked and survived (some may say even flourished) in this environment over 26 years. Exposure to all of that can forge a bitter, depressed and angry person.

Long ago, I made the conscious decision to not let any of that change me or affect me in a negative way. I chose not to hate, but to instead be tolerant, be happy and be positive. I chose to love my fellow humans (and animals) and everything this great world has to offer. I chose to be an example of love as much as I can in life.  As anyone knows, love is something that can be easily transferred to others, with very little effort. Love is a choice.

Love is an important concept for us. Love is an emotion, it’s a verb, and it can be a noun and can describe so many different shades of our lives. For me, it’s a choice. I choose to love, rather than hate. In my world, love/tolerance always wins.

Take the example from my work the other day. Four years ago I found out there was a need for food and warm clothing for a local migrant family. I learned they had two small children. It was the beginning of fall and I knew it would be getting cold at night. I turned to social media and quickly organized an effort for food and clothing. I quickly realized that this family also had no furniture, pots & pans or dinnerware. I again went to social media and organized assistance. My little cadre of social media friends and a few fellow employees delivered food, clothing, and bicycles for the kids, pots & pans, dinner and $200 in gift cards for a local grocery store right in time for the holidays. We helped this little family and tears of joy flowed from our group and this little family.

It got me thinking about needing to be more proactive with the needs of our community. After all there could be many more families that have needs. In thinking about it, I realized I needed to focus my efforts on the kids of our community. There was a local food bank that could help with food and there was a local Salvation Army that could help with clothing. There wasn’t a group though, that was helping with kid’s holiday gifts and other needs. I had something to focus on! I have long held a belief that once a child has the opportunity to fall in love with something; be it sports, reading, music or maybe even riding a bicycle, that they will have currency in life that they can use to gain friends, experience and have a destination and dreams as they grow up.

Again leading with the concept of love and being an example of that I was able to connect with like-minded community folks. This lead me to an organization called Turning Wheels 4 Kids ( I wrote a grant request and Turning Wheels provided 70 bicycle’s and helmets, friends and fellow employees purchased about 10 more bicycles and helmets. My fellow employees and I volunteered our time and found local deserving and in need children in our area through a nomination process and delivered the bicycles right before the holidays. Again tears of joy by those that volunteered and those receiving. Love is easily transferred with very little effort.

My fellow employees have continued to volunteer and continued our relationship with Turning Wheels 4 Kids. As each year passes, love for one another grows in our community. We get as much out of our experience with this project as the kids receiving the bicycles, maybe even more. Our little group does many other things in our community as we have diversified our efforts to help our children in need, but that is another story, for another day.

Remember, love is something that can be easily transferred to others, with very little effort. Love is after all, a choice.

Go out and lead by example. Do something good, even when somebody isn’t watching you or posting about it on social media. Most of all tell and show people, every day, how much they mean to you and how much you love them, it might be something they need to see and hear that day.
This blog was also included in this Huffington Post piece.

Dave Westrick,  fellow human being

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Questions asked & answered

Occasionally I get asked questions, some completely legit, others completely off the wall (I will let you be the judge).

Norma asked: Construction Zones Question. Does the reduced speed apply only when they are working there or all times until the job is finished and the signs are removed. 

Great question! So if there's a set construction zone that has active signage, the reduced speed applies at all times - you can also check DMV's drivers handbook here: Driver Safety

Justin asked: Traffic light sensors and many light cycles are motorcycles required to wait before it is permitted to proceed when safe? Seems like I get stuck at every light in town when riding early in the gets really old. Thanks in advance for addressing this.

I guess my answer is: 1) please call us if a sensor doesnt work properly 2) please wait until the light changes

Teresa asked: Where's a great place to work out? (This may be a leading question ;))

Any place that you find effective for yourself and body......(yes a politically correct answer, even though it pains me). CrossFit works for me, It may not be for you. My advice, try something and get moving. 

ADA Ramp
Ana-Marie asked: Is it illegal to block an ADA ramp on the sidewalk?

It is illegal to block an ADA ramp (with a few exceptions)

Rachel asked: Chief, what is the best thing to do when dealing with a confrontational officer?

I want our officers to confront problems head on, so do you. You don't want police officers that shy away from the issue, you want problem solvers. However, I'm assuming you're asking about rudeness. If that's the case, here in Hollister, you can call the supervisor over after the call (636-4331), you can email us at You can report it via citizens complaint form here: Comments / Complaints. You can even compliment an officer on our smartphone app here:

Jason Martinez asked: Favorite band as a teen and favorite band now?

As a teen, it was Van Halen, no doubt, 1000%. Now, wow hard to say. I really like Metallica, Megadeth tons of great metal bands right now (Gojira, Kvelertak, Killswitch Engage, etc...)
Van Halen

But, I love great country music too, Brad Paisley is about as good guitarist there is right now, really. He is the Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell of country music. He plays an absolutely blazing version of "Hot for Teacher". 

I also love Kenny Wayne Shepherd even though he hasn't been in the studio since 2014, which should be frankly a crime. 

Monique asked: Can I ask questions about joining law enforcement? What are the qualifications? Etc.

I expect a lot of folks may want to know this information. Here is a link from California POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) that explains requirements: HERE

In Hollister, like any other City / County we have a hiring process. The process is explained on our job announcements. However, here is the process in brief.

  • Application / resume (optional)
  • Physical Ability / Entry Level Exam *
  • Oral Board
  • Captains Oral
  • Background / Polygraph
  • Conditional Job Offer
  • Psychological exam
  • Medical exam 
* Entry level only

Michelle asked:  Buses...I know we are required to stop for school buses in both directions but does that apply to county buses too?

Yes on most all streets / roadways in Hollister, you must stop for school (the little stop sign that pops out) in both directions. If the bus has the stop sign or active flashing lights, you need to stop. County transit are not setup with stop signs and the flashing lights for the most part, so there is no stopping with those.

Annabel asked: How about reminding people to pick up their dog poop? Oh and what's up with people who are double parked all the time? Is this all of a sudden allowed now? And the leash law...

That should be a given, if your dog does his/her business, please pick it up. So gross. Keep your dogs on a leash when they are not in your yard / fenced. Double parking is a violation, call us if you want or need action. 

Nancy asked: What's your favorite Olympic sport?

Summer Olympics it's gotta be track, speed events. I did those as a kid, so there's a genuine interest. Winter Olympics, I love the downhill events, love snowboarding events, I love bobsled.....I actually prefer the Winter Olympics

Kent asked:  Best way to deal with Road Rage.

I think somebody said "ignore it". I actually agree with this tactic. If it persists, after, please call 911. There is a real chance that it can quickly escalate into something very serious. 

Casey asked: What is your view on the Second Amendment?

I'm sworn to uphold all of the amendments, so I am a supporter. Our Constitution is so important, it is the glue and basis for our American Civil Liberties. Wise men, debated and debated and then put pen to paper. Amazing stuff, if you ask me.

So I guess you are really asking about guns though right? I am a gun owner, I believe in gun rights. I believe in responsible gun ownership. Anything else? I know that is a pretty simple answer, but I think it covers it. 

Frances asked: Any progress on the murder of Ari Zendejas and the murder suspect who has disappeared for so long?

I don't have much to report. We still receive briefings. The suspect is still wanted for her murder. We have several agencies working on the case. It's obviously still open. I keep a picture of Ari on my desk to remind me of our communities loss that night. 

Tim asked: Has the Department developed and implemented an active shooter policy?

All departments should have a policy and have current, realistic training. We have both. We are lucky in that one of SRO's is our Active Shooter instructor. He is also one of our range masters. We have the proper defensive tools and training. We also help train the schools staff as well.

Jenna asked: What would cross your mind if your child(ren) decided they wanted to be a police offer when they grow up?

I hate to admit it but once upon a time I would be beaming at the thought of it for one of my kids. Now I am terrified at the thought. 😏

It would be honestly scary for me and also I would be proud. Being a servant to others is the most noble thing you can do in life. I do not know how I have survived my career. I have been to everything and done almost everything. I've been close to death, more times than I'd like to remember. Still, I would do it all over again. Its what I am. I like to help people and serve. 

Casey asked: How do you think we can get past all this Blue Lives/Black Lives matter and get back to ALL/HUMAN LIVES MATTER????

But not dwelling on the headlines and the color of one's skin and concentrating on what's inside folks hearts. Simply stated, but often not accomplished. 

I think police officers, as a group are the some of the most altruistic, giving, unbiased people on the planet. However, every one and I mean every single person has some bias. Ghandi and Mother Teresa had some bias, I guarantee it. We are human, it's just one of our failings. The trick is, is to realize our bias, overcome them and become a better person. 

We are America, we are a melting pot, that's what makes us great and what makes us strong. 

Paul asked: What are your predictions for the NL wild card?

Wow, I don't know. I think the Dodgers are probably a Wild Card team. I just do not know about the other squad. SF Giants will take the pennant thought. 

Kathy asked: When did you know you wanted be a cop and why?

So originally I wanted to be a Journalist and as a kid, I wrote for my hometown paper and another paper. Mostly sports stuff. It's sort of funny reading some of my articles now. 

Anyway, My Uncle Jim is about 10 yrs older than I and he became a police officer right after college. I was in elementary school and thought it was really cool. I still remember the smell of the leather and the squeaking of the belt as he walked around. 

I went to college and drove by the academy one day on accident. I saw them running. A school mate of mine was in the academy and I saw him running. I chatted with him later that day. I was hooked. I attended the academy about a month or so later and haven't looked back.

Bonnie asked: I saw you mentioned in another post about bringing 911 dispatch back to Hollister. How likely do you think that can happen??

I did say that. I actually have zero complaints with SCR 911. They have been just great partners and we've saved a ton of money with them. Its just that, costs are always on the rise and at some point, the cash savings with SCR 911 will evaporate completely. I would give it less than 5 years. My job is to run this police department as efficiently as possible and be a guardian of the public's funds. So we have to make a decision. Can we do it cheaper and as efficiently? Can we improve on the service? What would something like that look like? Are there potential partners with something like this?

All valid questions. I always need to have a plan 3-5 years in the future.

Kathleen asked: I like to know what is being to enforce the leash law in Hollister and making sure all dogs have licenses. Not that there is a law but what is being done about it.Loose dogs and no respect for the leash law in Hollister is a daily occurrence.

A simple call to Animal Control can get a response if you are in need. We have three Animal Control Officers in the county. They all work for me. We are in the process of hiring a 4th right now. They enforce animal laws and ordinances. Anything else?

Kathleen asked: I'd like to know if there are any laws regarding selling puppies?? Too often on Facebook, I see backyard breeders selling puppies who I believe most will end up in shelters.😢There should be laws that ONLY licensed reputable breeders can sell puppies!!

So thats a good question - CA Penal Code 597z – Sale of dogs under 8 weeks of age - It is a crime for any person to sell one or more dogs under eight weeks of age, unless, prior to any physical transfer of the dog or dogs from the seller to purchaser, the dog or dogs are approved for sale, as evidenced by written documentation from a veterinarian licensed to practice in California.

We get calls like this all the time and we respond and cite those that are involved. Call us anytime you suspect this occurring.

Karina asked: How about people parking in handicap they're not handicapped

That is a very expensive ticket. We are on the lookout for that violation and we even like to be dispatched for that one. So call us! 

Michael asked: For those that have a California CCW. if contacted by P.D either by way of a traffic stop or on the street what should an individual do or say to avoid an unfortunate misunderstanding which may end badly?

The very first thing to say is "Officer I have a CCW and I am carrying a firearm on my person". Then do exactly what the officer says. The officers are familiar with how to take care of it from there. 

Casey asked: I have a VERY important question.... Chicago or New York style pizza????

Hmmm, Chicago style 100% and that is a tough thing to admit for a Packers fan.

Mariana asked: Can people get a violation notice about basketball hoops blocking parking in (the) streets -- they're hard to see at night, or blocking driveways, or sidewalks?

Yes, you can call Code Enforcement and report them if they appear to be a hazard. Code Enforcement 's number is 636-4356


That is it for this edition of My Chief Thoughts. I'll do a Vlog soon and I think its about time for a Coffee with the Cops. What do you think?

Until next time,

Be good to each other,


Thursday, August 4, 2016


As I sit here, its Thursday morning and a few days after National Night Out Hollister. It is 6:45 AM I just got back from the gym, I'm off duty, drinking coffee sitting in my own sweat (lol I'm painting a picture here). It was such a nice event. I loved the location at the Veterans Memorial Building. I was honored to have our event at a place that I love so much. Thank you Veterans for allowing us to have our little celebration at your place. 
National Night Out Hollister 2016

I am interested in hearing feedback about the event. We obviously moved the event to this new location. I personally thought it was a great spot for it. Drop me a line if you wish. 

This of course comes on the heels of the Hollister Independence Rally the first weekend in July. For those of you that went to rally. What was your experience like? I had a great time. I was working obviously, but it was a friendly crowd for the most part. 

Currently we are working on the 2016 SBC Fair, the Red Ribbon Glow Run (10/22/16 at 7 pm at Dunne Park)  - (link for sign ups here)
Also working on our Holiday Bicycle Project. 

Hollister Independence Rally 2016
However our biggest project is the day-to-day operations of this police department. We are constantly busy, that's just the way that it is. We are in full recruitment mode, pretty much all of the time now. Always on the look-out for great police officers. 

Now, I do not want to use this blog as a political stump, but I do need to mention something. In November, we will need your support in the election as there will be an extension to the current sale tax here in Hollister. 

It is just a fact. We cannot do all of the things we do now, without this extra funding. Continuing this 1% sales tax measure is the only way to continue that sort of success in the future. BTW Hollister is still lower than every other city around here. If you're shopping in Hollister, you're getting a bargain in sales tax.

Anyway, please consider these programs that we are doing now, that we couldn't do without the extra funding from Measure E. Here is a short list. 

  • Jr Giants (over 720 kids this year get to play free baseball/softball) - Our program in its 2nd year is third largest in the entire SF Giants organization.
  • United States Tennis Association (USTA) HITS Program - two completely free sessions of a 5 week tennis program for kids in our community. 
  • NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick Contest - completely free for our communities kids
  • MLB's Pitch, Hit and Run Contest - completely free for our communities kids
  • Gang Officer
  • 3 School Resource Officers
  • 3 Patrol Officers
  • 1 Records Clerk
  • 2 Community Services Officers
  • 1 K9 Officer (possibly one more real soon)
  • We have been recognized twice as the National Police Department of the Year (2013 & 2016). To put this into perspective, there are over 12,500 police departments in the US.

    2016 National Police Department
  • I had the honor of being named National Chief of the Year in 2014
  • We were honored with the National Law Enforcement Challenge award for our Motorcycle Traffic Safety program at our motorcycle events (very competitive award).
  • Maintained fast response times to emergencies
  • GREAT program taught in our schools by our officers (Gang Resistance Education and Training)
  • CSI - Crime Scene Technician (We were able to hire and train our very first CSI)
  • Re-started our Police Explorer Program
  • Numerous other safety & crime prevention awards and recognitions

I would like to continue to grow our department, into a more comprehensive community service / proactive type setup if we get the opportunity to continue the same level of funding after November's election. What that means to me is:

  • Bringing back dispatch / 911 to our community!!!
  • More Police Officers (to actually have a carry-over / swing shift)
  • Full-time Crime Prevention Officer for Neighborhood Watch and other community support
  • Full-time PAL Officer
  • Traffic Unit
  • Street Crimes Team (vice, gangs, narcotics, etc)
  • Crime Analyst (Predictive Policing)
  • Grant Writer (Because I am tired of being the only one, lol)
Jr Giants at AT&T Park 2016
Ok that's all I have for now. I'll be doing a My Chief Thoughts Live soon.

Until then, be good to each other.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jr Giants + Live / Work Like It Is Your Last Day

Jr Giants

So I heard a rumor, well I should say I heard talk. This is something I addressed last year and may continue to address until folks understand my thinking. So to put any and all involved at ease in the organizations I'm going to mention.......please read.

Jr Giants is not Little League. Little League is Little League. 

Jr Giants could not and should not replace Little League. Little League and Hollister Heat are two of the most important youth sports programs in Hollister. These leagues teach sportsmanship, skills and provide for great youth competition in our community. I simply love both of these great programs. I have had the honor of participating in both of their opening ceremonies in the past. I value these programs both as a community leader and a parent in our community.

Jr Giants was brought here by San Benito County PAL. I am the Vice President of SBC PAL. I had some previous experience with Jr Giants in two agencies I had previously worked at. I thought Jr Giants was and is a great fit for our county. I still do. So last year, I suggested to the PAL board and the City of Hollister that we try to bring the program here. They listened and we did it. The City of Hollister also agreed that they would assist in running the program, countywide. That means any child in the county.

Lets face it, we have a lot of poverty or near poverty families in our community. We also have a lot of working parents that are trying to make ends meet and sometimes just don't have the extra funds to pay for sports / activities for their children. It is a barrier for those kids. I want to eliminate that barrier if possible for some of our communities kids.

Because every child should get the chance to try something that they may fall in love with. That thing could inspire them to try other things positive and then we just might have the next great leader in our community. The goal here; is to grow the next great generation of people.

Taken from the Jr Giants website:
"Junior Giants, the flagship program of the Giants Community Fund, is a free, non-competitive and innovative baseball program for boys and girls ages 5-18 years old.

In 1994, the Fund sought a program that would give at-risk kids a meaningful partnership with community-based organizations and provide an alternative to drugs, gangs and crime. The Junior Giants program now reaches over 22,000 children in 90 leagues across California and into Nevada and Oregon. The Community Fund provides all of the uniforms, equipment, and training necessary to run a league as well as tickets to select Giants games so the youth can experience a Major League Baseball game.

But more important than the fundamentals of baseball, Junior Giants focuses on the four bases of character development - Confidence, Integrity, Leadership and Teamwork - and offers programs in Education, Health and Violence Prevention. This framework is integrated into the Junior Giants handbook distributed to all of the kids and parents.

This program, presented by Bank of America, welcomes kids from all backgrounds and encourages them to live healthy and productive lives by getting outside and playing baseball!"


  • It's a free program!
  • The league is non-competitive
  • It's a program for girls and boys
  • Higher value placed on character than on wins and losses
  • Programs in education, health, and violence prevention
  • Pitching machines are used
  • Professional training by the Giants is provided to the coaches
So as you can see, Jr Giants is not Little League or Hollister Heat and never will be. In fact our season starts AFTER both Little League and Hollister Heat seasons end. So please, if you're a baseball or softball person and you want to help me, help our kids, call 636-4390 and ask for Tina Garza or the Jr Giants Ambassador and tell them you want to help.

Thanks in advance.

Opening Day for Jr Giants is June 25th at Dunne Park in the AM.


Nothing lasts forever

It is an important concept. It's one that I think about a little more now, than before but something I have thought about for many years. 

I will not be the Chief of Police forever. I will be replaced, because I am replaceable. My job is to train my replacement and make sure my staff is training their replacements. 

You should always work and live like it is your last day. 
  • Take chances
  • Always do what you say you're going to do
  •  Do not be afraid to fail, many times. A lot of lessons in failure.
  • Always say please and thank you
  • Recognize great people and great employees, often
  • Take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Ask yourself if your ok.
  • Take naps to remain focused
  • Be kind to people and animals
  • Eat good food when you're hungry, don't eat junk.
  • Keep taking chances
Anyway, until next good to each other,


Friday, March 11, 2016

5 More Things You Didn't Know About The Chief

After posting my last blog (here) I got more questions from folks and then realized I forgot a lot of others. So here is 5 more things you may or may not know about me.

  1. I was never in the military - It is true that I do a lot of things that involve our service members. Some have assumed I am a military service veteran. I helped start a Christmas/holiday card writing campaign a few years ago for our service members. I also helped with the resurgence of welcome home parades and celebrations (I had a ton of help and the credit should go entirely to them). I try to recognize their sacrifices to our great nation as much as I can, because I think it is the right thing to do. I think many of you agree with me. So with that,  I have never had the honor of serving our country in the military, but like my fellow brothers/sisters in blue, I've made a career out of serving all of you stateside. I am very proud of each and every one of our vets and active duty service members and will do just about anything to help them.
  2. I have worked for three different police departments - After graduating from the State Center Peace Officers Academy in Fresno, CA (Class 46). I started my career as a full-time police officer in the City of Los Banos. I worked a bunch of different assignments, helped write a few grants and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. I was fortunate to have worked with supervisors that understood the value of mentoring. I had a lot of fun there and I learned the value of community policing (see below for more on this). I left Los Banos PD in 2001 and lateraled to Redwood City PD. At Redwood City PD I worked patrol with a bunch a very motivated and professional police officers. I got to work with some fantastic examples of leadership. I also learned the value of being truly a team when tackling complex cases/issues. The commute to Redwood City and from Los Banos was killing me though (104 miles one way). So, having worked in Hollister during the rally a few years in a row, I was familiar with Hollister PD and some of the personnel. I applied at HPD in the spring of 2003 and was hired a month or two later in August of 2003. The rest is history......
  3. My very first job was as a janitor - I was 15 years old. My friend Scott Betty looked me up at school. He said, "are you looking for work this summer?" I said, "sure." He said, "go to Millers Landing on Saturday and talk to the boss. He is looking for some help this summer and I already recommended you for the job." I did what he suggested and got the job. My duties included cleaning bathrooms/showers, emptying trash and the cleaning the restaurant kitchen. The Miller's were great people to work for. They expected a completely spotless kitchen and that's what I gave them every morning that first summer of work. The Miller's moved me to the marina the next year. That's where I picked up my old handle "Dockman Dave". So, thank you Scott Betty for the recommendation!
  4. I don't like cooked/baked fruit/most pies (with a few exceptions) - This one does have a few exceptions. I always say I don't like cooked fruit & most pies, but if I am being honest, there's a lot of holes in that statement. I don't like apple, cherry, berry, pumpkin (okay most) pies. I only like pecan and coconut creme pies (no meringue!). I also like only blackberry and grape (maybe a few similar ones) jelly. I don't eat apricot, strawberry or really any other kinds of jelly. Although I do like jalapeno jelly for some reason. I freely admit I am the weird one on this. 
  5. Community Policing - I was NOT a big fan of this concept as it was presented to me as a young officer. I wanted to drive a patrol car and chase bad guys. I didn't understand the concept of teaming up with community members to effect positive change. This was probably due to my age, level of maturity and my not as broad view as the ranking officers. You see, the patrol officer see's what is in front of him and tackles the problem, looking actively for the solutions to the immediate issue they respond to. His/her supervisor see the patrol officers and the issues and calls for service they are handling in their shift and their beats. The Lieutenant, sees the Sergeants who are in charge of teams of patrol officers that take care of their beats, citywide. The Captain sees the Lieutenants, who are monitoring the Sergeants, who are watching their teams, citywide. The Chief, see's the Captain, who sees the Lieutenants, who see the Sergeants, who are watching their teams of patrol officers, who are effecting change and solving problems citywide/region wide. I had a really smart Chief of Police. His name was Chief Mike Hughes. He was all about community policing, and mentioned the concept to me often. He wanted to do outreach in the highest crime areas, to provide a conduit to his officers and police department, to hopefully effect positive outcomes. Since I was the last guy that wanted anything to do with this, he of course chose me to lead this effort (lol). We opened up to mini-community centers in the highest crime area's. Our little offices, were in apartment complexes. They were fairly dirty little shanty's but, in the end, worked quite well for the purposes of outreach. I will admit, I was almost an instant convert. I started bringing basketballs, footballs and a glove and baseball in my patrol car. If I saw kids playing in our parks or schools, I got out of my patrol car and played with them. When I went to these little community centers, if I was confronted with a neighborhood problem (how ever minor), I took action to try and solve it or coordinated efforts to make it better. Again, this was sort of renaissance for me in my way of thinking and I saw that community policing, really should be the standard in which we should try to achieve in our operations. I still believe that today. Community policing is a partnership between law enforcement and the community they serve. To me its a completely natural relationship and we need to encourage and foster that way of thinking, here in our community. 

 Jr Giants RegistrationJr Giants - is where you need to sign your children up for our free baseball program. Also please consider signing yourself up as a coach or team parent. Its all completely free and we really need your help to have a successful program for our communities kids (no experience is necessary and we will provide the training for free).

Until next time, 

Be good to each other,


Thursday, February 18, 2016

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Chief (well maybe)

I wanted to give you some insight, to understand maybe why I do some of the things I do in the community and in my life.

  1. I wanted to be a pastor - When I was younger I thought my life path would guide me to be a pastor/minister. I had two Youth Pastor's, Barry Sappington and Kenny Rogers (yes that is his real name) that I really looked up to as a kid. I was fairly positive that was the direction I was going until...
  2. I wanted to be a journalist - I actually got to break in this field as a kid. A good family friend was the editor of our local paper. She asked if I wanted to write sports columns following local sports. I accepted and wrote for the paper for a few years. My articles appeared in the North Fork Journal and Sierra Star newspapers. I remember I use to get paid 25 cents a column inch and $5 for a photo. While I still thoroughly enjoy writing still, being a journalist was not the path I chose. Although I am still intrigued by journalism and seeking truth.
  3. I collect Hot Wheels, Matchbox and other diecast race cars - I have an absolutely gigantic collection in pristine condition that my wife always hints about selling. I have not added any pieces in a while, but I'm always on the lookout for unique ones. 
  4. I like working outside or in my shop with my hands - So this one is not a secret really. But if I had my choice, I would work outside every single day on projects around my home. I also like working in my shop. I want to start building some more furniture pieces soon. I've collected a ton of wood to repurpose for some of the things I have planned. I like looking at the finished project that I had the concept for in my head and then seeing it person. It's a great sense of accomplishment.
  5. I love to read - I like to read a lot. I am constantly reading something. Whether it be case law, articles of interest, books or journals. My favorite genre is biographies, but I like a lot different subjects. I've read most of the recognized journalist classics, but I also like contemporary stories too. I don't read a lot of crime novels if you're thinking that. However I do enjoy Evanovich's stuff. I usually find a topic or person of interest and read everything out there on the subject. For example, I think I've read every single thing on Pelagic Fish & Birds, Vikings, US Presidents & Cabinets, Star Wars, Star Trek. I've also found interesting books on pirate mythology and practices, World War 1 & 2 and nerdy stuff like Microsoft, Apple and computer languages (web development tools). I am a confirmed book nerd and one of the things associated to reading is recall. I can remember almost every word I've read, line by line. Often times, it gets in the way because I will blurt out a quote from a book I've read that, in my mind fits the situation (but sometimes does not). Quoting King Richard II in a staff meeting can be sort of silly - "Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings". I said this in response to a person being terminated from employment from another jurisdiction. 
  6. I am not from San Benito County - My wife was born and raised here. My wife's family came to Hollister early on. Her grandparents opened a store on San Benito Street called State Market (close by the old State Theater property). Her grandparents were from Spain. My mother-in-law sold bread from the store to the bikers outside during the 1947 Rally/Riot/Incident (whatever it was) in downtown Hollister. My wife is indeed related to 2/3's of Hollister's families it would seem. Often when I am in meetings and look around the room, many of  my wife's relatives (in some fashion) are in the room with me. 
  7. I grew up in the mountains - I am proud that I grew up in the Sierra Nevada's (North Fork, CA, Big Creek, CA and Redinger Lake, CA). We didn't have a lot of the conveniences of the city folk for sure. But we had a great life, great neighbors and friends. We did EVERYTHING outside. I would often leave the house as a very young boy and meet up with friends and go on adventures in the woods and not come home until dark. We ate lunch at whatever friends house we arrived at and sometimes dinner too. We made our own forts & tree houses and explored caves and old cabins. We went fishing and bird hunting, packing our rods/reels or BB guns with a pocket full of BB's. It was a good childhood and I am grateful son to my parents for having experienced it. When I go back to the mountains, it is always invigorating. 
  8. I almost died - in late 2001 I had a medical problem. I had gallstones in my gall bladder. I had experienced several "episodes" the prior year that landed me in the hospital that doctors suspected were several different things. They ran tests, after tests. Gallstones, was not one of those things they felt was the problem. Well, when I went down this time. It was significant. The pain was really bad, intense and overwhelming. I passed out a few times prior to being admitted. I felt like I had been shot. Admittedly I was not in the best frame of mind or mood, while waiting to be seen in the emergency room in Modesto (I possibly may have said some regretful things to a doctor or two in admitting). Well, long story short. My gall bladder ruptured and the infection set in. The infection went partially into the area of my pancreas, which is sort of a problem because you need a pancreas to live. I went into surgery a few times and spent a fair amount of weeks in ICU. It was not fun at all. My doctor did not tell how bad it was, until I was out of the woods of sorts. This all happened prior to 9/11. I was actually in bed at home convalescing when I turned on my TV the morning of 9/11. I spent a few more weeks at home and then returned to my duties. If you remember, during that time after 9/11 there was the Anthrax scare nationally. Random companies and individuals were receiving letters with "a white powdery substance". I was still on the medicine Cipro at the time to guard against a recurrence of infection from surgery. Cipro is the drug prescribed to those individuals that have been exposed to Anthrax spores. So it was a "win" for me. I actually volunteered to go to every one of those calls for my fellow officers, feeling like I was sort of bullet proof in a way.
  9. I had Gastric Bypass Surgery - I was big boy, a load. I could eat all day and mostly really bad unhealthy stuff (an extra large pizza wasn't even a challenge). In 2002, I weighed 351 lbs. That's a ton on a 5'10" frame. I tried dieting, I tried exercise. I was unsuccessful at all endeavors when it came to food and the required exercise. I never got off the couch. I sat and watched TV on my days off. I was still fairly active at work, but because of the weight, I was exhausted all of the time. I went to my doctor for help. I was consulted and went to a specialist in Fresno. I went to the required classes and completed the pre-op process for the surgery. I had the surgery in Clovis, CA. I followed all of the rules, did the exercise and took the required medicine for a full year. I lost 155 lbs that year. I was wearing drastically smaller clothes. My pants were 34" waist and my shirts were med/large. Prior I was wearing XXXL shirts and my waist was 52". For those of you that have had this surgery or one similar, you know the struggles after. You have to completely change the way you eat or you will physically struggle. I regurgitated so many times and broke so many blood vessels in my eyes and face that first year, I lost count. It was tough, I mean really tough. So, today in 2016 I am 235 lbs, I don't fluctuate a lot up or down. Sure I could be in way better shape, that is totally on me. But I have energy, I sleep better and feel 1000% better. I cannot physically eat like I could before and I never will be able too. It is just a fact after having this procedure. I am completely fine with that and hopefully I will capitalize on it and get myself into great shape. Oh wait was that a maple bar?
  10. I never once in my career ever thought about being the Chief of Police - I spent a lot of time in my career in a patrol car. I actually really miss it a lot. It is the best job in the world and in my mind "my best destiny" (Ok, that's from a book I read, but it works here). All I ever wanted to be was a patrol officer, once the law enforcement bug bit me. But things change, you get experience and a wider view. So I promoted, because I thought I could help develop the next group of police officers to sustain the core values that I had been given as a new officer. Then I promoted again, because I felt I could help guide the agency into a position to develop the next leaders of the agency and in the field of law enforcement. Then, I promoted again because I wanted to lead the agency into the future and help its successes become sustainable after I am gone. So, with experience and time, I've changed my outlook on my career and my goals. One of my most important jobs that I try accomplish with each passing year, is to train my replacement and for those in my charge to train their replacements. It is the only way to sustain success. This job (Chief of Police), at its core is about humility, problem solving, organizational skills and leading by example. 
Until next time.....


PS - I'm planning another My Chief Thoughts Live so if there's something you want me to address, let me know on social media. All my accounts are on the right side of this blog. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Busy, busy and busy

This is the time of the year the City of Hollister prepares its annual budget for the coming fiscal year. For our Department, it's sort of an all-hands-on-deck process. We have bureau managers sharpening their pencils, checking their budget numbers (prices, equipment, stock, etc.). The goal at the end of the year is to have enough funding to complete the mission.

That is the tricky part. Without a crystal ball, we do not have any idea what we will need at the end of the day. We always have to rely on historical data. So there's a lot of extrapolation with historical data combined with a needs assessment based on what projects, equipment and programs we plan for the new fiscal year. In public safety, it is not and never will be an exact science.

So, my point, it is worth the extra time and effort to get it right as possible. You all deserve this kind of effort and value for your money.

We finished the first review and adjustments, we will have more reviews and we will make a few more adjustments and then submit it to the City Manager's Office for review. After the review,, the City Manager submits the entire budget document to the City Council for its examination and review. It gets discussed and voted on and adopted later this year.

We just had our second full rally meeting this afternoon. Additionally, I did a site walk-thru with the new promoters and the City Engineer this morning. We walked the entire rally area and answered / asked many questions with the new group.

Our rally meetings are usually held at the police department. We bring the promoters into a meeting with the other stakeholders / service providers for the event. Its sort an opportunity to solve problems, answer any concerns and ask questions. I like to get everyone introduced so there is a "face with a name". I think it enhances communications and helps everyone have the same expectations with each others roles. It is one of the things I've insisted on since the reboot of the event in 2013. Efficient communication enhances our output and helps us streamline the events build-up, operation and close.

I know I keep banging away at this, so be patient. I'm going to continue.

I said,

We expect a large group of kids this year in the program. We will need a team parent and a coach for every single team. We have about 30 or teams last year, that meant we needed over 60 parents to just operate the league.

Team Coaches do not need prior coaching experience.
Team Parents do not need prior experience.

Jr Giants will send you to FREE training for coaching. Team Parents will receive FREE training as well.

Online registration for both kids, coaches and team parents begins on March 4, 2016 at

Walk-in registration will be the Hollister Community Center, 300 West Street, Hollister, CA - March 19, 2016 10 AM - Noon.

I'm planning another My Chief Thoughts Live for next week via Periscope / Facebook Live. I'll post the date/time online on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram. There is also a link to my YouTube Channel here if you want to watch the older broadcasts.

If you have any questions or observations you would like to share with. Let me know on any one of my social media accounts.

Remember I do these off-duty for the most part so as to not invade my work time and official duties, so sometimes it might take me a bit to respond back.

Until then, I'll see you later.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Chief Thoughts Live

Over the last week or so, I've been experimenting with Facebook Live / Periscope. The thought being that I could address topics and take questions on a live stream.

Seemed simple enough, not.

So I'll be taking baby steps. On February 5th, I did my first "official" unofficial broadcast via Facebook Live / Periscope (Twitter). It came out ok from my end. I took a few questions and overall it was fairly benign and harmless.

I'm working on a format for the show. My hope is to do one every other week that addresses current events and concerns. I also plan on doing these all off-duty and on my own time. I think its just better that way as I am just too busy at work to actually get something like this done with any kind of production value at all (although I'm pretty low budget).

I've uploaded the first episode to my YouTube channel (link to video here). The quality is fairly poor, but I think I can boost it up to full HD with just a few minor tweeks.

 I plan on taking viewer questions live, discussing a number of topics and hopefully will get questions and concerns over the coming weeks from viewers that I can then broadcast live.

Anyway, just a quick note. I'll update you later next week.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Its a New Year!

Well, 2016 is here and I couldn't be happier and more excited for the local things going on. However let me answer a few questions that I have been posed in the recent weeks.

1. Chief how many boards/groups are you involved with in the community, you are always busy, when do you sleep?

Well, I didn't want to answer this for fear that my wife would actually find out how many, but you asked so I'll answer.

I am on the board or involved with:
Rotary Club of Hollister (Board Member, Club Service & Membership Chair, Mission 10 Committee)
San Benito Boy Scouts of America District (Chairman of Board)
Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council Boy Scouts of America (District Chairs are also Board Members)
San Benito PAL (Vice President)
Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo Board (Director - Public Safety Committee)
RAN - Remote Access Network Board (Vice Chair)
Red Ribbon 5K Committee (Member)
United Way of San Benito County (Member - when I can make it)
CCP - Community Corrections Partnership (Voting Member)
UNET - Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team (Voting Member)
CHSRA D4 - California High School Rodeo District 4 (Social Media, Webmaster)
BALSMG - Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group - (Member)
CPCA - California Chiefs of Police Association (Member & Technology Committee)
IACP - International Association of Chiefs of Police (Member)

There's probably a few others. I'll sleep when I'm dead. I've always said that when I pass away and leave this world, it will be with an overused, broken and beaten down body. But I'll leave happy because I had a full life.

Being a Chief of Police is not a 9-5 PM job. It is a 24/7 365 kind of position. I literally get calls 24/7 for work. But, I love the job because I truly have the best people working for me and with me in Hollister. Hollister is a great city to work for. I've been recruited by other cities and agencies, I just don't see myself going anywhere else because I really like it here. It's the people and the relationships with them I think. It also helps to have a very supportive wife and family behind me, as absolutely none of this could get accomplished without them.

2. Can you get grants to do your training because it looks expensive?

 We have been fortunate over the last three-four years in receiving in the neighborhood of $1,000,0000 in grants/additional special funding. It really helps with items like police cars, car camera systems, body camera's, pet adoption trailers, traffic equipment, overtime for special operations, school resource officers, training, safety equipment and a few other things.

Many of the ideas for some of this funding and the grants came from conferences/trainings my staff and I have attended. Staff training is vital for the success of our agency and this city and most of it is required by law. Thankfully, a lot of public safety training is totally reimbursable (tuition, travel, accommodations, meals and overtime to backfill the officers shift) by California POST - Peace Officers Standards and Training.

To answer, yes we get grants for training but there is some training that grants do not cover. We have a training budget of about 35k a year for the Hollister Police Department. That is a low number. The reason why it is so low, is that we have worked hard to send our staff to Train the Trainer classes and with that certification we can train our folks in many of the required disciplines with our own staff. We also have over time, purchased all of the needed training equipment to support this function. We have also helped with training other law enforcement agencies. This saves a tremendous amount of money and the cool thing is with that certification, some of the overtime incurred is actually reimbursable as well (staff time and backfill). This was a strategy we adopted about five years that's seemed to have come to fruition and is paying off for us.

I just checked our budget and we have expended $17,200 in training funds for FY 15/16. That's about 1/2 of the 35k budget and is on track for FY 15/16.

3. Where do I find information on Hollister's crime rates?
Easy one, I post each year's (five sequential years) on our crime stats page on the website here. HPD Crime Stats. Our website can be easily accessed at If you a specific crime / stat, you would like me check on, feel free to email us at

4. What are your plans for 2016?

So right of the gate, we start working on the budget for FY 16/17. In truth we work on it all year long, but the heavy lifting is done in the first several months of the new year. I want a lean & efficient budget that anticipates our historical needs.

We also need to hire a few positions to get our staff filled out. The priority is the Police Officer positions. A few years ago we started hiring at the recruit level for a position or two a year. This allows us to send a person to the academy or our choice and then train them after graduation. It's been successful thus far and we will be sending at least one recruit this month to start the academy. Also a priority is to get LiveScan up and running at Hollister Police Department. The vision is to have the machine for both in-house use and public use. We first need to hire & train an employee to run the system and we are in the process now. If your interested in a position with us, check or the City of Hollister jobs website.

Personally, I hope my family does well in their endeavors throughout the year. This will be my last year as SBC District Chair for Boy Scouts of America. The time has flown by with Boy Scouts, it's a great organization for our communities youth.  Also, I want to build up SBC PAL and our Jr Giants program. I would like the "problem" of running out of room for the program as that will tell me we are doing a good job and offering opportunity to our communities youth.

I would also like to get back to work in my wood shop. It is by far, my favorite hobby. I want to make some nice solid furniture pieces this year.

5. Pot, Cannabis, Marijuana what do you think about legalizing it in California?

Cannabis Sativa is a plant that has many uses. Hemp a byproduct can be used for clothes and other textiles. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the main constituent has been used medicinally for a long time. I think there about 100 different compounds in Cannabis if memory serves, but THC is the one that most people are familiar with.

So since possession, sales and use are still a federal crime (for the time being) what lawmakers/supporters are proposing is to decriminalize it in California, not legalize it. There is a profound difference. The California Chiefs of Police Association (of  which I am a member) is working with the lawmakers/supporters for smart legislation alternatives.

So my thoughts are simple. I do not think government should tell you what you can do in your own castle (home) as long as you're not hurting anyone or committing egregious crimes against humanity. I do not think that government should be in our doctor's offices or involved in our medical treatment. I also believe there is a legitimate place in the medical arena for cannabis.

Here is what I do not like about cannabis and other intoxicants (alcohol, prescription drugs, etc). People drive while under the influence of them. Kids get their hands on them. To introduce access, more widely to yet another substance that folks can abuse and potentially harm others by its over usage, is potentially dangerous in my opinion.

Additionally - Edibles are a problem. There isn't a standard on potency. We have no idea at present what the proper dosage is, because we don't have a national standard for testing potency. We don't even have a field test for potency (yet). We can only test for IF or IF it's not THC.

A lawmaker in Colorado was at a training I attended a few years ago. He explained to the audience that the recommended "dosage" of a THC laced/topped chocolate chip cookie was 1/24 of the cookie (dosage was on the packaging). He then showed the crowd a gummy bear. The recommended dosage (again on the packaging) of the THC laced/topped gummy bear was 1/10 of the bear.

Who eats 1/24 of a cookie or 1/10 of a gummy bear? I've never had a THC cookie, but I imagine they are just delicious as a regular cookie. I've also never just eaten 1/24 of a cookie in my life. Cookies are good.

I use these examples to show you that we have a ton of work still in this arena. I would hate to see a child get a hold of some of these edibles on accident.

I explained my edibles observations a few months back to a group. One of the group members said, "so if kid eats a bag of these cookies, maybe the kid will be really high for awhile". I told the group to exchange the edible with a bottle of liquor and the group understood the danger.

A child's mind cannot compensate for THC just like it cannot compensate with introduction of alcohol. I'm not saying the two substances are the same, but I think there is a strong argument for similarities and comparison. Children's Hospital of Colorado has a brief explanation here. Also an article out of Oregon on the subject here.

Again we need to be smarter than the problem.

Does this make me anti-cannabis? No not at all, it just makes me pro-safety and I think the details need to be discussed and analyzed for the greater good.



We are working on SBC PAL's Jr Giants program right now. In fact, I have a PAL board meeting this week and some of the details will start to take shape for the 2016 Jr Giants season. We will need MORE volunteers. I said, we will need MORE volunteers. I want this season to be big, fun and good for the kids of our community. Please, if you have any interest in our program, sign up when I post the links. We will need coaches and team parents. My basic rule of thumb is, if your child is in the program, please considering helping to insure the success of the program. 

We are also working internally at HPD on the 2016-17 budget (as I previously noted). It is a ton of work because we want to be accurate and efficient. I will say "sorry" ahead of time to our staff on the budget team.

I'll soon be writing a grant or two for the coming year. I'm thinking about items like, motorcycles, overtime and equipment.

Also, I would like to take my hat off to our Development Services Department at the City of Hollister. They are really doing some amazing work on our parks. I think this year they will be tackling other city parks. It's so nice to see these facilities get upgraded and more useable (is that a word?). 


I'll write something next month. Be nice to one another in the meantime.

Send your questions / concerns to me to or my office line is (831) 636-4330 ext 110

I can be also found on social media at: