LATHROP – Sergeant Steve Pease of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department calls his five years on the Lathrop Police force as “by far, the best assignment in my 20-year career.”
It was in Lathrop that he saw “community policing for the first time,” he said during his official and emotional goodbye to the city at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Pease left his five-year post at the Lathrop Police Department last week to go back to the Sheriff’s Department. In Lathrop, he was the patrol supervisor. He will be executing the same responsibilities with the same title of patrol sergeant at the Sheriff’s Office, only this time, he will be the patrol supervisor for the entire unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County during his shift.
“It was a very good assignment. It was a real positive experience for me,” he said of his five years in Lathrop working with “a nice group of people” that included the code enforcement and Public Works employees.
Reminiscing the first time he attended a Lathrop Days celebration and got immersed in the city’s cultural and social experience, he said, “What a great event I thought that was.”
He also got to see first-hand a community that truly supported not just their community but their police as well.
“I found in Lathrop what I called the City of Hope,” he said as he delivered his tearful comments after receiving a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Kristy Sayles.
Working with the people of Lathrop “definitely touched me,” he said, adding, there were probably only 10 days that his job felt like work. The rest of the time, he was doing what he truly enjoyed and loving what he did.
Pease got emotional and waxed nostalgic when he said that in his new job, he is driving “a truck that doesn’t say Lathrop anymore.”
On a positive tone, though, he noted that he still has seven to 10 years left in his law enforcement career before retirement.
“I would love to come back and serve this community again. Lathrop will always have a special place in my heart,” he said.
The council members were equally thankful to the sergeant and grateful for the personal touch he gave to his policing job in Lathrop. Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo said her nephew still treasures the police card that he received from the sergeant years ago.
“You touched the lives of everybody in this council,” the mayor said following a standing ovation by the crowd in the council chambers in appreciation of Pease.
Council member Christopher Mateo summed up the general feeling of everyone in the room when he told the sergeant, “Sometimes thank you is not enough.”
Replacing Pease at the Lathrop Police office was Sgt. William Mitchell.
The Lathrop police force is currently made up of 27 sworn officers led by Chief Dolores Delgado at the helm. They are assisted by four civilian employees.
To contact Rose Albano Risso, e-mail email@example.com or call (209) 249-3536.