View Mobile Site


Douma had long career as police chief

Text Size: Small Large Medium

Ripon Rotary President Zac Crawford presented longtime police Chief Harvey Douma with his club’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin/

POSTED June 15, 2014 10:04 p.m.

Ripon’s Harvey Douma, 97, is the ironman of community service.

He served as Ripon’s police chief for a record 20 years to cap a 33-year career with the department. He has a long list of community service endeavors including being a charter member of the Ripon Rotary Club. And he’s also he’s the oldest living alumnus of Ripon High. Douma graduated with the Class of 1935.

Douma was the honored guest at a Rotary luncheon at Spring View Country Club where he was presented Rotary’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in his name along with a framed copy of The Congressional Record citation read in the House of Representatives by Congressman Jeff Denham.   He was also given an American flag that had been flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C., by Dana Ferreira from the congressman’s office

Douma moved to Ripon with his parents when he was 18 months old.

His family moved from northern Michigan in their seven-passenger sedan in 1918.  The clutch went out on the trip.They took the train for the remainder of their trip arriving in Lathrop in mid-November.  They had waited in Lathrop for some eight hours to catch another train that would take them to Ripon.

When he came of age, Harvey enlisted in the Merchant Marines. He was sent to boot camp on Catalina Island during World War II and assigned to a troop transport ship docked in San Pedro.  After completing his military service, Douma returned to Ripon and joined the police department where he worked for the next 31 years.  He served as its chief from October 1963 to May of 1982.

The Sixth Annual Ripon Almond Blossom Festival of 1968 named Douma as its grand marshal as it honored law enforcement with emphasis on “Operation Crime Stop.”  As a charter member of the Ripon Rotary Club , he has earned two coveted Paul Harris Awards.  Douma is also a charter member of the Ripon Historical Society. He’s a life member of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce having served as its president in 1970.

Douma has also been a member of the Safety Council in Ripon for 55 years.  He and his late wife Etta Mae Ramsey were married in 1939 until her death in 1997 – some 58 years later.  

Taking the microphone at the luncheon,  another retired police chief and former Ripon Mayor Red Nutt told a little of his history with Douma to the 50 Rotarians and friends in attendance.  

“This man took me under his wing and made a police officer out of me,” he said.  “He told me to never tell a lie because you would always have to tell another lie to cover it up.”

Optometrist Duane Kirk, Rotary president in the 1994-1995 year, remembered the fundraising Suitcase night that year when it was so hard to sell tickets out in the community because Douma had already single-handedly sold 40 percent of them in the first few days.  

Bryce Perkins said Douma was great at curing olives, something he watched him do going back some 27 years.  He said it was always great to have a couple beers with Harvey and listen to his stories and his simple approach to life.  

“He knows men and he knows people,” Perkins said.

Perkins told of an incident that involved his father-in-law who chased a man through the community in his car because of an unpaid debt.  He said the man pulled up in front of the police department and went to Douma for help in stopping this man who was chasing him.

Perkins said Ripon’s chief asked what the chase was all about.  When told the man owed money to Perkins’ father-in-law, Douma came back with the perfect solution saying, “Why don’t you just pay him?”

Rotarian and retired CHP Captain Chuck Winn said he sees Douma as a friend who doesn’t know a stranger.  

“Everybody he meets is his friend,” he said.  “I saw the evolution of law enforcement in my career – not as personal today (as it was in Harvey’s day).”

“One thing I will say about Harvey is that he is a most humble man.  I’ve always appreciated him, seeing he really cares about the people and everyone he contacts.  He will always be an icon as long as there is a City of Ripon,” Winn said.  

Ripon Historical Society President John Mangelos said when the historical society was in the planning stages he was there.  Mangelos noted he often thinks of Harvey when he is faced with making an important decision:  

“Would Harvey do that and is it good for all?”

Others presenting personal tributes to Douma included Roger Swier, Danielle Pierce, Stephanie Hobbs, and Gerrit Van Riet

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...