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Dave Bricker being inducted into Manteca Hall of Fame

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Dave Bricker being inducted into Manteca Hall of Fame

Former Police Chief Dave Bricker is shown with his wife Ruth at a retirement gathering in 2011.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED April 30, 2013 2:05 a.m.

Dave Bricker - who spent 32 years serving and protecting the people of Manteca - is being inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame.

The dinner and induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame take place Saturday, May 11, at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane. Tickets are $50 apiece and available at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club, 545 Alameda St., or by calling 239-KIDS.

Other members of the Class of 2013 are Jack Miller, athletics; Mike Henry, education; Lucille and the late William “Bill” Harris, at-large; George J. Abdallah, government; Karl Konrad Wolf, health care; Randy Ernest Albertsen, agriculture; and Greg Leland, education.

Bricker is being inducted for government.

Those nominating Bricker said they were surprised that when he became police chief he still found a way to be involved extensively in the community - often in partnership with his wife Ruth - as well as being thoroughly dedicated to his job.

They noted “Dave leads by example and sets the example. He never asks anyone to do something he is not willing to do himself. He is wise, gives good advice, and has a wonderful way about him, People respond to him, he is a good communicator and shares great stories.”

Bricker, a 1972 East Union High graduate, started his police service as a Manteca Police cadet - the forerunner of the Police Explorers.

His first ride along was with a new officer by the name of Willie Weatherford.

He still remembers that day not for what happened during the patrol shift but what happened when Weatherford took his dinner break.

Weatherford, who later became police chief and eventually was elected mayor after his retirement, took Bricker home with him where the young officer’s wife had prepared dinner for her husband and their children as well as Bricker.

The gesture made him realize that police officers were more than just guys in uniforms enforcing the law. They were also family men.

Bricker also was the first Manteca Police Explorer to go on to become an officer in the department.

After a stint in the Air Force from 1972 to 1977 he went to work for the San Joaquin County sheriff’s office before joining the Manteca force in 1979.

Bricker related during an interview in 2011 that he completed just three days of field training in 1979 after joining the Manteca Police before he was ready to start his first solo shift as a Manteca Police officer.

He had three years under his belt previously as a San Joaquin County Sheriff deputy but worked primarily in the courts and jail. When he did venture on to patrol it was as a fill on. He always rode shotgun with a partner who directed what had to be done.

Within an hour after leaving briefing that day in 1979, he made a traffic stop that led to his first solo arrest of a man wanted on warrants.

“I got paid $880 a month back then,” Bricker recalled. “I’d been happy to have gotten half of that. It was a dream come true for me to be a cop in my hometown.”

Back in 1979 with 36,000 residents, Manteca had two officers on patrol at night with North Street serving as the beat boundaries.

Watch commander Roger Sorrick would take his business cards and place them on the front and back door of every business in town. Officers were expected to check every door and retrieve the cards.

“You had to learn to handle incidents on your own as your back-up could be tied up on another call or clear across town,” Bricker said.

“Manteca was a dusty, valley dairy town,” Bricker recalled in 2011. “We had crime but it was different.”

At one point he went 17 days on the job without getting a call from dispatch. Today (when he retired in 2011), dispatchers send officers to calls about every 17 minutes.

Early in his career he convinced then Police Chief Leonard Taylor that Manteca needed a SWAT team after he attended SWAT training on his own dime and time.

From 1986 to 1989 he left the department to pursue a career of teaching law enforcement at colleges as well as everything from K-9 and firearms classes to SWAT instruction for other police departments.

He came back to the Manteca force in 1989 when the city’s new police chief - Weatherford - dropped by Modesto Junior College - and wanted to hire him.

Bricker served as police chief from July 2008 to December 2011.

Bricker has served as president of the Sunrise Kiwanis and Manteca Kiwanis, Give Every Child a Chance as well as the Manteca-Lathrop Boys & Girls Club. He has also served on the boards of other organizations such as the South County Crisis Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, and South County Crime Stoppers. He was the founder of the Manteca Police Chief’s Foundation.

He also has chaired numerous events such as the Manteca Pumpkin Fair and Crossroads of California Street Fair.

He was the 1983 Rotary International Police Officer of the Year, the 1994 American Legion California Police Officer of the Year, the 1997 City of Manteca Employee of the Year, and in 2011 received the Manteca Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America and holds four degrees in the martial arts. He is an 11 time medal winner and a gold medalist in karate competition at the California Police Olympics.

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