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Lathrop Police Services get highest marks
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Its a first place award in traffic safety in the California Law Enforcement Challenge that Lathrop Police Services Chief Danelle Hohe was presented Tuesday morning by Office of Traffic Safety Director Chris Murphy at left. Lt. Chris Pehl, center, stands with Chief Hohe, with the entire support team seen in the background including Mayor Chaka Santos. - photo by GLENN KAHL

LATHROP — It is a first place recognition of the Lathrop Police Services in the California Law Enforcement Challenge Tuesday morning reflecting the efforts of that team in support of traffic safety and should go to them, Chief Danelle Hohe said.

She was accepting the coveted plaque from Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) director Christopher Murphy for excellence in enforcement during the 2011 year at ceremonies in front of the Seventh Street police headquarters building.

“You guys came out on top!” trumpeted the OTS director. Being a contract department out of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office made the award even sweeter to the chief.  Hohe said she can’t take credit for the successes, because she has only been assigned to Lathrop for the last three months with her officers and staff members needing to take the accolades.

She noted that while the parent Sheriff’s office usually has little to do with traffic enforcement, the Lathrop Police Services Department has made a difference on the roadways in the Lathrop community.

The chief singled out motorcycle officer Matt Lindemann as having the highest level of expertise in accident reconstruction in the area and Deputy Chris Sterni for having 67 DUI arrests last year.

“When this city sent in its application, it was looked at by judges from across the country,” Murphy said. “They didn’t know one city from another in California as we do this every single year.  They looked at all the applications from departments between 19 and 25 sworn officers, did all the judging.  This city and the Lathrop Police Department came in first place,” he said.

The OTS director lauded Deputy Matt Lindemann standing across from him for his superior performance in the enforcement of distracted drivers and occupant protection along with speed and many other areas in his duties as a motorcycle traffic officer.

“What the judges looked as was your training.  They looked at your public information, your education, and your enforcement; basically it is centered around occupant protection, passenger safety, speed, DUI and distracted driving,” Murphy echoed.

The OTS director added, “This award is really a total team effort,” he agreed.  “Some of the things you do in the schools from Every 15 Minutes to Choice and Consequences, child passenger safety and bicycle safety are not just enforcement.  This police department understands how important it is to get into our schools and to educate our young people about traffic safety,” Murphy said.

He further stressed that the California Law Enforcement Challenge is all about saving lives.  “I want to commend the chief, the mayor and the city manager – having everybody here today sends a strong signal, along with the Sheriff, that traffic safety is extremely important.”