That dream came true Monday for Martinez, one of six new recruits
who started their first day as officers at the California Highway
Patrol's Altadena station. The location welcomed its first wave of
new officers in two years.
The force's Altadena station patrols Glendale and Burbank
freeways. It also handles traffic enforcement in unincorporated La
Crescenta and about 40 miles up Angeles Crest Highway.
"This is the warm and fuzzy day of the training," Officer Vince
Bell said Monday of the new recruits, who were treated to a barbecue
lunch with family and friends at the station. "From here on out, we
crack the whip."
The new hires graduated together April 22 after six months of
instruction at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West
Sacramento. Each recruit will be assigned to a training officer for
45 days before being allowed to patrol on his own, Bell said.
With the new addition, 69 sworn officers are assigned to the
station -- a shade below full strength, Bell said. The six new
recruits are filling in for five officers who retired last month.
"With these new officers, this will give us a chance to make the
highways safe, get the drunk drivers off the road and keep people on
it," he said.
Erik Larsen, 27, a former paramedic who also started Monday, said
he was always impressed by the way CHP officers handled crash scenes.
"I liked their reputation," Larsen said. "First and foremost, they
were extremely professional and businesslike. And they are looked
highly upon by many other agencies."
Reginald Mitchell, 25, agreed.
"I always see things that are going on in the world that are not
right, and I want this to be my way of making a difference," said
Mitchell, also a new recruit.
Though supportive, his wife Mishna Mitchell isn't entirely at
"I'm excited and nervous," she said. "It's a risky job, but I know
it will be rewarding for him."
Other recruits welcomed to the force Monday were Raymond Peidra,
Michael Morrin and John Burgess.