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.
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.