As Morro Bay welcomes 500-plus classic cars for the 19th Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show from Thursday through Sunday (www.morrobaycarshow.org), folks might wonder why the city’s police department, volunteers and Explorer Post No. 48 are out in force all weekend.
The officers aren’t expecting burnouts during Friday evening’s cruise around Morro Bay’s Old Town or fisticuffs among competitors for Best of Show trophies.
Rather, getting involved in community activities is fundamental to police Chief Amy Christey’s leadership philosophy.
Traditionally, the beneficiaries of the car show are Morro Bay Rotary and the Police Explorers program, mentored by K9 Officer Stephanie Pipan, who recently received the Chief’s Commendation award for netting the most arrests in 2014 for DUIs.
The Explorers program offers youths ages 14 to 20 regular training and positive interaction during law-enforcement activities.
While attending the car show, be sure to check out the replica of the department’s first squad car created to be shown at events such as this. And don’t forget to congratulate police volunteer Ken Vesterfelt, who has been the voice of the Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show for 19 years and is Morro Bay’s Citizen of the Year.
In other news, Christey recently announced department promotions and awards.
Senior Officer Derrick Porter was promoted to sergeant on April 13. He served for more than 12 years in Farmersville before moving to Morro Bay over a year ago. His duties include field training, fleet management, SWAT, canine supervision/handler and property/evidence.
Detective Dale Cullum was moved to senior officer, and Officer Tony Mosqueda was assigned to investigations.
Cullum’s five-year service includes leading the investigations unit, which has solved numerous criminal incidents and several cold cases. Previously, he served with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and Fresno Police Department.
Mosqueda joined the Morro Bay Police Department in December after working in Farmersville as a detective and corporal.
Bonnie Johnson, support services coordinator, was named Employee of the Year, and Officer Maria Lomeli received the Excellence in Service award for providing “exceptional customer service” recovering and returning stolen property.
Other recognitions went to Sgt. Jody Cox, Officer Gene Stuart and Cullum and, who jointly received the Investigation of the Year award for their collaborative efforts solving multiple commercial burglaries.
Police Volunteer of the Year was given to former City Councilman Bill Peirce; Mel Brenneise was thanked for “serving as the heart and soul of the annual Caroling Cops trolley for more than 18 years.”
School resource officer Nicole Canby, Senior Officer Robert Hufstetler, and Susan Johnson of the Support Services Division were also recognized during the awards presentation, which was officiated by Christey and City Manager David Buckingham.