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By Commander Paul Reyes, American Legion Post 637–
I have been a resident of Citrus Heights since WAAAYY before we became a city. I have seen this area grow and get better year after year and am very happy I am part of this community.
Over the last few years one thing that has really irked me has been the trashing of our police officers throughout the country. Growing up in the South as I did, my daddy taught me at an early age to show respect for those in uniform. Now that didn’t mean just military, but also firefighters, first responders and of course police officers.
In fact, I remember getting the back of my head slapped for calling an officer a “cop.” My father said “Don’t you ever let me hear you call an officer a cop! They are there to protect us and they should be respected! They are POLICE OFFICERS do you understand me?” All I could say as I rubbed the back of my head was, “Yes sir!”
Being the Commander of the local American Legion for the past four or five years has given me the honor of getting to meet a large number of Citrus Heights police officers including City Manager Christopher Boyd (then Chief of Police), Commander Jason Russo, Commander Alex Turcotte, Sgt. Jason Baldwin, Sgt. James Evans and the list goes on.
Now, I count Chief Ronald Lawrence, Assistant Chief Gina Anderson and Lt. David Gutierrez as friends, but what this is all about is a particular officer who happened to have made a vehicle stop on me some three weeks ago.
I recently purchased a car from a private party and went to DMV for all the necessary paperwork and I asked them for a temporary registration so I could drive the car. I was on my way home turning onto Antelope Road from Van Maren Lane when I noticed an officer that came out of nowhere with their emergency lights on right behind me.
I made my turn, went across the overpass at Interstate 80 and turned into the Stones Gambling Hall parking area. I parked my car, shut it off, put my wallet and keys on the dash board and put my hands just like they teach in Drivers Ed, at “10 and 2.”
The officer came up and greeted me and stated he stopped me because I had no plates and no apparent temporary registration. Without taking my hands off of the wheel I motioned to where I had positioned it on the right front windshield.
He stated it should have been on the rear window. I offered to change it right then and there, but he said, “Don’t worry, just let me see your driver’s license, and take the temporary and hand it to me so I can check the VIN number.”
I did as I was asked and I waited for him to come back to let me know I was okay. Well, he comes back, hands me my license and temporary registration and says that all is good, just to make certain to put the temporary in the correct place.
We chatted a bit and just as he was getting ready to leave I said to him, “You know officer, we at the American Legion work very closely with the police department throughout the year. So much so, that whenever we have any kind of interaction with an officer we always say the following, “We want you to go home to your loved ones after your shift, so please……….BE SAFE.”
He stopped for a second and he then extended his hand to shake mine and said, “Thank you for your support.” To which I told him, “No, thank you for being out here taking care of all of us in Citrus Heights.”
I have not had very many interactions with officers, but this one I will remember for a very long time. The officer was professional in his demeanor. He was courteous. And when he shook my hand, you could tell he was a gentleman!
So, to all of you Citrus Heights residents let it be known that when you mention Citrus Heights’ finest, it is very true. They are the finest and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Thank you Chief Lawrence for having the best of the best working and taking care of our little city. You are the best!
Paul Reyes is a Citrus Heights resident and serves as commander for the American Legion Post 637.
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