The Oath of Office and badge pinning of Menifee’s new police chief and his two captains was a historic moment Wednesday, Nov. 20, for this growing city witnessed by a packed city council chamber.
Menifee police chief Pat Walsh and captains David Guiterrez and Christopher Karrer, after reciting their oaths of office and receiving their Menifee police badges, heralded the dream of the city fathers and hopes of Menifee residents since the city’s incorporation in 2008. Also welcomed at the ceremony was Tiffani Sik, the department’s first civilian staff member, who will serve as senior personnel and training analyst.
“This is a momentous occasion for Menifee,” City Manager Armando Villa said. “Through the guidance and foresight of our city council, we have been brought to this moment, which marks a truly remarkable and unique achievement for this city.”
The city council chambers rocked with applause, whoops and hollers as the police officers officially signed their oaths just about 7 p.m.
Walsh, a 35-year law enforcement leader, said after signing, “We just took a solemn oath to this community and we are going to take care of this city.”
He said, “I am honored, humbled and excited to welcome our new captains and Tiffani (Sik) to Menifee. We are assembling a talented, dedicated and experienced team and we are all looking forward to July 2020 when the Menifee Police Department officially rolls out and begins serving this amazing, growing community.”
“I didn’t expect this many people here,” Menifee Mayor Bill Zimmerman said at the ceremony, looking over every chair, the aisles and enclosed viewing room of the city hall’s council chambers filled people. “This is a historic day for the city.”
Making up a large part of the audience were the officers extended families, friends and other law enforcement officials.
Before taking the oath, Walsh introduced his choices for the department’s first captains and read long lists of their achievements as police officers.
He said Guiterrez is married with three children and is coming to Menifee from northern California Citrus Heights Police Department where he served for 13 years and left with a captain’s rank. He has served as a patrol watch commander, special operations lieutenant, professional standards and training lieutenant. He has also led many specialty units, including traffic, problem-oriented policing, code enforcement, animal services, crime scene investigation and property and evidence.
Karrer is married and has three children, Walsh said. He comes from Los Alamitos and has been a police officer for 19 years with his first post in neighboring Hemet Police Department. He spent many years as a detective and handled all types of crimes from property to crimes against persons and even had a homicide case featured in an online video production of “America’s Most Wanted.”
Sik joined the Menifee Police Department in September as the senior police personnel and training analyst. She comes to the city of Menifee with almost 20 years of public service, including 15 years with the Murrieta Police Department and Code Enforcement. Before that, she was with Riverside County in Code Enforcement and the Moreno Valley Unified School District working with career development.
Administering the Oath of Office for the new officers was city clerk Sarah Manwaring.
“This is the favorite part of my office,” she said.
After the oath, the officer’s families came to the front of the chambers with one member pinning the new Menifee City Police badges on the three officers.
Once the oaths were signed the council, one by one welcomed Walsh and his captains.
Councilmember Dean Deines said of Walch’s captain selections, “Good choices, I think our department is going to be in good hands.”
Mayor Pro Tem Greg August said, “We want to congratulate you…and we always want you to come home safely to your family.”
He said he knew they would not be starting their jobs until July 1 but in the meantime, “I want you to have a good time while you can.”
His remarks brought laughter from the audience.
On July 1, 2020, the new Menifee Metropolitan Police Department officially takes over the duties from the Riverside County Sheriff who has been contracted to the city since its incorporation. August praised the sheriff’s Department for the work they have done over the years.
Councilmember Matt Liesemeyer said, “What a tremendous opportunity this is for you guys. We are so proud to have you here as out first. Every single day you are out there and every year forward you are going to be creating a culture for this department to go forward. So everything you do is incumbent upon you to set that pace…We are proud of you guys.”
Councilmember Lisa Sobeck said she welcomed the officers and all their friends and family.
“It just shows what caliber we have. All the support you have here tonight. And I want you to know you are coming into a city as a family. This is a pretty special city and show what support you have tonight,” Sobeck said.
Walsh and the two captains will now have the work of finding and filling the rest of the police force with many sworn officers and the supporting civilian staff. The city is contracted with the neighboring city of Murrieta for its dispatch system which is being organized now.
Tony Ault can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.