Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Eight New Officers are Sworn in by Fontana P.D. (SB Sun )
Eight new officers are sworn in by Fontana P.D.
By BOB OTTO
One came from a car dealership, another was a correctional officer, and yet another worked as an electrician.
Jennie Bogdanov, Michael Freeman and Virgilio Ortiz chose to give up their former careers to patrol the streets and neighborhoods of Fontana.
The three joined with five of their fellow classmates and were sworn in as Fontana Police Department officers on Monday.
"These officers are a huge jolt for us to help with the work load," said Fontana Police Chief Larry Clark during the ceremonies.
But reaching the point of standing with their right arms raised in front of a room full of family, friends and fellow officers wasn't easy. It took 23 weeks of what Bogdanov described as a boot camp.
"It was very physical, there was a lot of studying and no free time," she said. "We ran miles and miles and got yelled at; it was fun. They break you down to build you back up."
Bogdanov and the other new officers endured a rigorous training regimen through the San Bernardino Sheriff's Academy. The eight Fontana officers were part of a class of 67 -- a class that had a steep dropout rate, said Clark.
"It's unusual to have all six begin and graduate," said Clark. "The class started with 67 and lost 17, that's 25 percent. We didn't lose anybody. That shows the caliber of people we're hiring. We're picking people we know can be successful."
Was it worth it? Bogdanov's smile and nod said yes. "It's been a childhood dream of mine since I was five years old," she said.
Bobbi Slusser reached up from her chair and hugged her son-in-law, Leonard Sein. Sein is the fourth police officer she's hugged at a swearing-in ceremony. She's the wife of a retired police officer, the mother of two police officers, and mother-in-law twice over of police officers -- the newest being Sein.
Her emotions run the gamut. "I'm thrilled, proud and scared for them all at the same time," she said.
She is thankful no harm ever came to her husband, Steve (who recently retired from the Fontana P.D. after 29 years and 8 months of service) or to her son, Kyle, daughter Ryan or son-in-laws Matt Roth and Sein.
She accepts law enforcement as a way of life in her family, but when daughter Randi expressed an interest, she balked.
"Randi talked about it for about five minutes and I said, 'Please no,'" said Bobbie Slusser. "I wanted one normal child in the family." Her youngest honored mom's wish and earned a college degree in kinesiology.
Ortiz had an electrician's career and a good income, but he was unsatisfied. Law enforcement tugged at him since first grade, he said: "I was around police officers since I was six. I'm excited. This is something I've worked on for a long time."
Soon to follow Ortiz, is younger brother Joseph, 16. He's an Explorer Scout with the Fontana P.D. and eager to join his brother when he's old enough. "My brother has inspired me," said Joseph. "He makes me want to follow in his footsteps."
Dedication and discipline are requisites for the job, but Clark stressed an emotional attachment more important than loyalty to the police force.
"Spend quality time with your family and give focus to that," said Clark. And he forewarned the proud families smiling at and applauding their new officers. "Some families already know this, but there will be birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays and a multitude of other times they won't be there."
Although they've completed 23 weeks of intensive training, the new officers won't hit the streets solo just yet. First comes field officer training. "They've completed the first chapter," said Clark. "After six months they'll be able to provide service to our community."
Michael Freeman, a 1996 Fontana High graduate, is seven weeks away from finishing field training. He needed a positive change after seven years with the Department of Corrections and wanted to make a difference on the streets of his hometown. So he chose to become a police officer. And his wife, Sarah, and daughters, Ashley, 9, Christen, 7, and Michaela, 3, are proud of his success.
"Every time they hear a police siren, the girls ask, 'Is that daddy's siren?' We are so proud of him," said Sarah.
Of the eight new officers, six graduated from the Sheriff's Academy and were appointed police officers on March 29. They include Jennie Bogdanov, Mario Mancha, Christian Mercado, Casey Mutter, Virgilio Ortiz, and David Wibert. Michael Freeman took part in the ceremonies, although he was appointed a police officer on Dec. 26 of last year, and Leonard Sein was appointed to the Fontana P.D. on March 12 in a lateral move from the Bell Gardens Police Department.
(The eight officers are pictured above with Chief Larry Clark.)
BS Ranch Perspective:
It is great that the Fontana Police Department is showing that they are moving to Keep up with the growth of the city. They have Annexed all that new land and Grew, to include all the new houses, they have all the new businesses up off of Summit Ave, off the I-15 Freeway, There is all those Houses, Including the New Golf Coarse, and the newly developed businesses off Sierra, at the I-210 off ramp. Not to mention the new businesses that are being started up in the city of Fontana all over, they need Officers to help our and make sure that Crime stays lower then it has been. Of Coarse that murder and all the schedule one Felonies stay down to dull roar.
I wish them a great start to their Career and I hope that they don't have a very active career...The hardest part of their career is about to start and that is their training with their FTO...