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Maldonado takes over as leader for SHARP
Among the new officers are, from left, Captain Marty Maldonado, Sergeant Don Reed, and Lieutenant Lee Maldonado. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Torrie Gallegos was excused early from school on Thursday.

The second-grade student from Veritas School was asked to take part in the change-of-command ceremony for Manteca Police Department’s Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police.

That special request came from none other than Gallegos’ grandmother, Marty Maldonado, who was named the SHARP unit captain.

“I would not have taken the job without Torrie’s support,” Maldonado said.

The 8-year-old Manteca girl had the honors of applying the captain pin on to her grandma’s collar. She followed up by doing the same for Lee Maldonado, her grandfather, and Don Reed. The two were promoted to lieutenant and sergeant, respectively.

According to Police Chief Dave Bricker, Marty Maldonado is the first woman to take charge of SHARP.

“This is an historic event for the organization,” said Bricker.

When asked about her significant role involving the grandparents, Gallegos uttered: “I was embarrassed.”

Marty Maldonado takes over from Jack Snyder, who stepped down after nearly 15 years and two tenures as captain. He was on vacation, thus, missing the SHARP function.

“I have some awfully big shoes to fill,” Maldonado said. “Stepping into it is terrifying.”

Added Marty Ort, who served as Snyder’s lieutenant, “Jack did a great job of putting the group back together and adding to it,” he said.

Both will remain in SHARP.

Ort will continue handling vehicle abatement and training while Snyder will keep on focusing on removing posted signs left over from the weekend including those advertising garage and yard sales.

SHARP under Snyder grew from 30 to over 80 volunteers.

Maldonado wants to continue to build from there. “I’m hoping we can get up to 100 volunteers,” she said.

Marty and Lee Maldonado have been involved in SHARP for two years. Lee once worked for Oakland police while Marty came from a family of peace officers.

“SHARP was a natural fit for us,” she said.

According to Marty Maldonado, SHARP volunteers are required to work four hours a week. But she and her husband averaged between 40 to 50 hours a month.

“Now it’s going to be much more hours for us,” Marty Maldonado said.

Under her leadership, SHARP will continue to function as usual but “with a kinder, gentler way of doing things,” she said.

“I want people to know that the ‘H’ in SHARP stands for ‘Help’ and not ‘Harass,’” Maldonado added.

She’s encouraging those involved to smile, wave and even grin while out on patrol.

“SHARP is the best volunteer organization in the county. Let’s work to make it the best one in the state,” Maldonado said.