Redlands Police Department Cpl. Chris Mead is the 2022 RESA coordinator and a product of the program. Mead began the inaugural RESA program in 1999 with an interest in firefighting. Over the course of his week with RESA, his interest shifted to police work.
Mead said that each year RESA participants who are interested in fire end up more interested in police work by the end of the week and vice versa. The goal of RESA is to expose local high school graduates to immersive emergency services training.
“Usually, after day one, we’ll have one or two people decide this is not for them and they leave,” said Mead.
This year’s RESA class had 18 students— four young women and 14 young men. The teens are from Redlands and surrounding communities like Beaumont and Bloomington. The program is free and funded in part by a grant from the San Manuel Mission Band of Indians and donations from local businesses.
Each year, participants are housed in campus dormitories at the University of Redlands. Local restaurants provide meals for RESA participants.
The Redlands police and fire departments start recruiting participants in January. Interested students apply, write an essay and get letters of recommendation. Ideally, RESA would accept 25 to 30 students. Mead attributes this lower number of applicants to a lack of interest in public safety work.
Over the course of the week, RESA students participated in Special Weapons and Tactical Training (SWAT), active shooter response training, a jail tour and much more.
The live firearms training was led by Officer Matt Knudsen and Sgt. Dominick Povero from the Redlands Police Department. Knudsen is a former Marine and a firearms educator. The day prior to firearms training, Knudsen went over proper firearms safety with the RESA students.
Several of the students had never shot a gun prior to RESA. The officers agreed that those who had never shot a gun before were often better shots than those who had, because the newbies had proper training.
Fitted in proper attire — a bulletproof vest, eye protection and ear protection — RESA students had the opportunity to shoot a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle. Three at a time, the teens sprinted downrange where three officers awaited them to instruct in proper shooting form.
Recent Bloomington High School graduate Alexandra Mayorga Galvan had never shot a gun before her RESA experience.
“It’s not like in the movies. But in reality it's a whole fundamental thing like there are like rules and regulations for a reason,” said Mayorga Galvan.
Ofc. Eddie Herrera told the students that feeling tense is natural the first time shooting a gun. He demonstrated how to determine a dominant shooting hand by forming a triangle with both hands, extending his arms outward, picking a distant object to focus on visually, and moving his hands back. He said that they can determine their dominant shooting side by which eye the space between thier hands naturally comes to. The RESA students mimicked Herrera.
Citrus Valley High School graduate Clarissa Hernandez said her favorite part of her week at RESA was team-bonding and pushing her fellow students. Hernandez has plans to study criminal justice at San Bernardino Valley College before eventually applying for the police academy.
Many of RESA’s students have goals of joining local police and fire departments. Mead said the goal of the program is to expose students to these intense training opportunities, so they know what to expect if they pursue law enforcement or fire careers.
Next year, Herrera said they hope to recruit even more students to RESA by using social media and other outreach techniques. He hopes that the Redlands Police Department will be able to hire more former-RESA students down the line.
By Jane Dreher, Redlands Police Community Foundation
A large crowd of adults and children turned out for the first-ever Redlands Police "COPTOBER" Community Fair last Saturday, October 2, held at the Redlands Ranch Market parking lot.
"We had a very successful Coptober Community Fair with an estimated 800-1,000 people attending the event," stated Redlands Police Officer Eddie Herrara with the Community Policing Unit. "It was heartwarming to see all the families attending and socializing with our police officers, our Chief of Police, mayor and council members, and Assemblymember James Ramos. It's a great reminder that the constant outreach and responses we make into our community are appreciated by those we serve."
The event was totally free to the public, thanks to the Redlands Police Community Foundation and local business sponsors. Police officers grilled 400 hot dogs and served 300 pieces of pizza, along with a variety of cold drinks. Other vendors were there serving free coffee, cookies, and food coupons. Music was provided by a DJ with "Music Changing Lives," an organization located at the Redlands Community Center. Numerous non-profit organizations participated and presented information and local history, gave free building kits, coloring books, and games for kids.
Redlands Police showcased their variety of equipment, including the large SWAT Rescue Unit. The Forensic Unit was a big attraction as officers demonstrated how they can lift finger prints off objects. The department's new K-9 police dog Jake was a hit with both kids and adults. The Police Book Plane gave hundreds of free books out to the children.
Assemblymember James Ramos had a booth and mingled around the event talking to the public and commented, "Attending this COPTOBER event is a good way for elected leaders to show support for public safety in the community and to get out and meet people personally. I like how the public and police came together to show support for one another."
The Community Policing Unit is involved with numerous community outreach programs so youth can get acquainted with members of the Redlands Police Department. "COPTOBER was a great opportunity for us to interact in a fun, educational, and relaxing environment," stated Chief of Police Chris Catren.
Foundation President Stan Weisser and Officer Herrara concurred that COPTOBER Community Fair will become an annual event in Redlands. "There was so much good support from businesses and the community this year, so we will continue to build on this success for next year," concluded Weisser.
Seventeen middle school students who are part of the Micah House afterschool program were treated to a trip to Angel Stadium in Anaheim to watch the Angels play the Blue Jays on August 12, 2021.
The trip, titled “HomeRuns & Heroes 2021,” was sponsored by the Redlands Police Department and made possible by a collaboration of several organizations. Chick-fil-A treated the kids and escorts to a lunch before the game, Starbucks provided drinks and other refreshments, and the Redlands Police Community Foundation donated funds to purchase 2021 HomeRuns & Heroes shirts and goodies for the game.
Paul Smith, general manager of Toyota of Redlands and longtime reserve officer with the Redlands PD, secured tickets for the group and sponsored the rental vans for transportation. Chaperones included Redlands PD Officers Seth Franklin, Elaine Gutierrez, Eddie Herrera and Paul Smith, as well as Detective Mike Merriman and Micah House volunteers Mr. George and MJ Turner.
“HomeRuns & Heroes was a huge success,” said Officer Herrera. “Thanks to sponsors and Toyota of Redlands, we were able to take 17 kids to a major league ballgame. Many had never been to a game before. We had so much fun interacting with the kids throughout the day. They can’t wait to do it again next year!”
According to Allison Anderson, Executive Director of Micah House, “It was an incredible night. The kids had an opportunity to bond with each other, our volunteers, and the police officers. We are so thankful to everyone who made this possible.”
Photo: (L-R): Mike Bosman presents a $23,000 donation to Redlands Police Community Foundation President Stan Weisser, Police Chief Chris Catren and Police Commander Steve Crane.
By Jane Dreher, Redlands Police Community Foundation
In a profound show of support for the Redlands Police Department, a group of 85 members in a Men's Golf Club at Redlands Country Club passed a virtual hat and collected $23,000. Mike Bosman, a member of the group, proposed the idea via several golf chat groups and put in $2,500 as seed money to get it started. Within minutes, the money was raised for the Redlands Police Community Foundation (RPCF), which supports a variety of Police community programs that are not funded through the regular city budget.
Bosman, who joined the RPCF Board on January 11, stated, "After that first meeting, it started me thinking of ways I could help contribute and be a positive addition to the Foundation. I reached out to fellow golfers and told them about the RPCF. It was inspiring to see our Club members come together through collaboration and share their resources for a common good. It shows there is so much good in the world. We wanted to make an impact locally because Redlands is an amazing town. For me, giving back directly to organizations in our community is what motivates me from a philanthropy perspective."
Bosman comes from a family with a history of police involvement. "The Redlands Police Department is near and dear to my heart, given my father was a Redlands police officer years ago and former Police Chief Lew Nelson has been a family friend since I was a baby," said Bosman. "The positive support from our golf group shows how much we appreciate our Redlands Police Officers, Chief Chris Catren and all the men and women who work in the department. We wanted to let them know they are respected, admired and we support all they do to keep our community safe."
Chief Catren and Foundation President Stan Weisser were both very grateful. "This donation underscores the feeling of support coming from the community," stated Catren. "We will use these funds to invest back into our Police Youth programs, the Police Citizen Volunteer program and the K-9 Police Dog program."
The Redlands Police Community Foundation (RPCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by a group of local citizens led by Stan Weisser, president, and an 11-member board of directors. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for the community by supporting Redlands Police to further the goodwill and safety education among our residents . For more information about how you can show your support for the Redlands Police, please go to: www.rpcf365.org.
Redlands Police Officer Joseph Tamayo, Cpl. David Frisch, Officer Shelby Donley and Deputy Chief Travis Martinez prepare to distribute holiday gifts to neighborhood children Thursday, Dec. 17.
By Carl Baker for the Redlands Community News
Despite the pandemic, Redlands police are still reaching out to help the community.
Traditionally, the department has hosted an annual Heroes and Helpers event at the Redlands Target store in Citrus Plaza to provide a Christmas shopping spree to about 100 children each year. Over the past several years, hundreds of children from local schools have participated in the event.
The children, nominated by school principals, teachers, police officials, and community and faith leaders, would be partnered with members of the Redlands Police Department for a sponsored shopping spree.
Children were nominated based on family need as well as demonstrations of outstanding citizenship and leadership throughout the year.
In the past, each child was given $125 to purchase items for themselves and their families.
Chaperones often returned with heartwarming stories as many of the children purchased toys as gifts for younger siblings or selected items such as deodorant, soap, socks and other basic necessities we often take for granted.
As a result of the pandemic, this year’s event has been modified and on Thursday, Dec. 17, Redlands Police Officers delivered gift cards to the homes of 63 participating children. In addition to Target, gift cards to other local, kid-friendly businesses, including Jacks Toy Shop and Board Game Paradise, were distributed.
“While we wish that we could chaperone the kids in a shopping spree and interact as usual, we are glad to have an alternative way to hold the event and help them enjoy holiday cheer,” said Redlands Chief of Police Chris Catren.
In addition, the Redlands Police Department participated last week in Blue Christmas, an alternative to the holiday block party held annually at the Redlands Community Center and the annual neighborhood parade traditionally made up of police, Fire Department and other city vehicles.
Redlands police collected toys and other gifts, which were distributed to more than 250 children nominated by various community organizations, including the Micah House, Boys & Girls Club, Community Center and other neighborhood groups.
The American Legion Post 650 and the Post 650 Auxiliary, along with additional donations from Stater Bros. and the Redlands Walmart, donated toys.
By DALE WHITEHURST For the Redlands Community News
This year, the Redlands Police Department Citizens Volunteer Program celebrates 30 years of service.
Starting with only five members, the program has grown to as many as 65 members and is currently 45 members strong.
“The idea of a CVP Program was brought to Chief Robert Brickley in 1989 by a retired Air Force officer, Bill Hughes, who had relocated from Arizona,” said retired Chief of Police Jim Bueermann, who began his police career as a volunteer Reserve Officer. Hughes had seen citizen volunteers in Sun City.
In 1990, Lt. Clete Hyman was put in charge of forming the unit, a volunteer team of highly visible, uniformed, unarmed, “eyes and ears.”
The first CVP academy graduated in 1991. In 2007, the Volunteer Park Rangers and Mounted Patrol were incorporated into the program.
Annette and Russ Dawkins were members of the first CVP academy in 1991.
“The CVP program was like Neighborhood Watch except the entire city is your neighborhood,” Annette Dawkins recalled.
“We knew the community and our kids went to school here. It was like serving your family. Volunteering was good for the volunteers, giving a sense of worth, and good for the community because of the service provided and the safety ensured.”
Lew Nelson was chief of police from 1993 to 1998, during a change in policing philosophy throughout the nation.
Law enforcement agencies were adopting a Community Policing strategy that encouraged a community role in safety and security combining education, prevention, collaborations and partnerships, and enforcement. The CVP program was a natural fit.
“We wanted to take on tasks that we could do to free up police resources to go fight crime,” said Jim Stellar, a CV member since 1991. “At first, the officers weren’t so sure of us, but they came to appreciate our efforts.”
Cecilia Cortez, an active CV member since 1994, was involved in many police investigations in circumstances from murders to terrorism in San Bernardino.
“Citizen Volunteers are the eyes and ears in the community and have played an important role in our community.” She said the organization has members with varied backgrounds and different stages of life. “Someone who has the hours to dedicate to their community would be a great asset.”
Redlands Police Chief Chris Catren notes that while Citizen Volunteers do not take on dangerous duties like sworn officers, “they do virtually everything else. They’re involved in just about everything we do, every aspect. They’re doing it for free. Their level of dedication is just unbelievable.”
CV Coordinator Martin Lemon, a member since 2017, joined the organization to contribute to his community and meet interesting people.
“This organization has allowed me to use the skills and experience I learned working in the private sector to better our community and provide a service. My vision is to continually adapt the organization to meet the needs of the Redlands Police Department and the City of Redlands. We are constantly looking for new ways to provide value and service.
“If you like to be outside and among the community then you might like to patrol the streets, high crime areas, and our parks” Lemon said.
“If you want to see the inside workings of the many special events that take place in Redlands, then this is the place to see it. If you like to do office work and have the skill sets to match, there is probably a place for you. If you like to be around people and develop camaraderie with others then this is a great organization. We just need 16 hours per month.”
“I often refer to policing as a ‘team sport,’” Catren said. “And the Citizen Volunteers are integral players on the Redlands Police Department’s team.
“The decades of contributions from its members enable the signature events of the city such as the Bicycle Classic, the Run Through Redlands, the Christmas Parade, the Believe Walk and many more. In fact, in 2019, the volunteers donated approximately 12,000 hours to the department, which is equivalent to nearly six full-time positions. The volunteers touch every part of the department including Patrol, Investigations, Special Events, Administration, Information Technology, and Animal Services.
The Citizen Volunteer Program allows the department to provide a much higher level of public safety services, and I appreciate all that they do for our great city.
“My vision for the Citizen Volunteer Program is to continue to increase the number of active participants to deliver even better services,” Catren said. “I believe that the more we involve community members in the department, the better. Our volunteers are some of our best ambassadors and help us build trust in the community.”