It was the donut and the cup of coffee on the dashboard of a restored Los Angeles Police car that drew attention to LA officer Bob Gelb as he drove into the registration line Saturday at the Emergency Car Show and Law Enforcement Recruiting Fair at the Ripon Community Center.
Gelb – now a volunteer with the Sacramento Police Department – said he thought it fitting to drive into the show with his “tongue in cheek” morning snack – long associated with working cops. One of some 140 entries from fire rigs and old ambulances and motorcycles, Gelb showed his pride in his old LA patrol car. He said it was the same model as the first patrol unit that he drove away from the academy after his graduation in the mid ‘70s.
His memories included running with other recruits through the hills near the academy around Dodger Stadium and seeing film crews taping “T.J. Hooker” in front of the Academy with William Schafner doing his own stunts.
Reno’s Washoe County Sheriff was in his recruiting booth talking to potential deputies along with one of his officers Deputy Michael Stapeldon when they were approached by 11-year-old Ripon boy David Eddy and his mother with the boy saying he wanted to become a deputy. He was told they would keep his name on file adding that he should come back to see them when he turns 20.
The entry level for a new Reno deputy is in the mid-$40,000 range.
The deputy introduced Eddy to his personal dog who was in the booth with albino-like blue eyes. He said when he worked for the Nevada Highway Patrol he had found a litter of puppies dropped off along Interstate 80 three years ago and this dog they named “Charlie” was one of the female puppies.
Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen was at the event as well as San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore. Allen said he was looking for six deputy applicants and had the authority to hire another 15.
Moore had a number of his officers on hand in his recruiting booth with one of them bringing his police Canine named Maximas in addition to one of the Breast Cancer support patrol cars painted in all pink – used in day-to-day patrol duties.
A pair of helicopters flew into the grounds for the enjoyment of the Ripon residents. One came from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office and the other from REACH Medical Helicopters based at the Stockton Airport. The crews were busy providing their orientations to the members of the community who showed interest in the aircraft. REACH has been known for providing quick medical service at the scenes of many traumatic incidents in and around Manteca.
Two volunteers set up with other vendors inside the community center from the Chula Vista Police Department near San Diego selling obsolete police radios and red light bars they hoped to sell to smaller departments in need of used equipment. Former officers Glenn Isaaks and Ray Walton said the police department had donated them to their non-profit foundation to help them fund their development of a detailed department history.
The big event for the car owners was a red light police and fire department caravan running through the community’s streets at 1 p.m. Saturday beginning at Doak Boulevard on the south side of Ripon and cutting through the historic downtown and residential areas bringing residents and shop keepers out to watch the parade followed by awards presentations back at the Ripon Community Center.
Two Ripon entries earned first place awards: Ripon Fire Chief Dennis Bitters for having the “Best Fire Vehicle” and Ripon Police Sergeant Stephen Meece who took home first place awards for his police motorcycle – a 2013 Harley Davidson in the 1996-2017 category.
Other first place awards went to:
BEST OF SHOW, Alan Earland, 1969 Dodge Polara, CHP
BEST RESTORED POLICE VEHICLE 1900-1974, Roger Clemonts, 1958 Mercury Monterey, CHP
BEST RESTORED POLICE VEHICLE, 1975-1997, Mike Stapledon, ’93 Dodge Ram Charger, NHP
BEST NOVELTY POLICE VEHICLE, 1900-1964, Ernie Zebal, ’55 Buick Century, CHP
BEST NOVELTY POLICE VEHICLE, 1965-1997, Michael Hughes, ’74 Ford Falcon, XB, Mad Max movie
BEST RESTORED SPECIAL SERVICE PURSUIT PACKAGE VEHICLE – Mustang-Camero, Ron and Donna Silva, ’86 Ford Mustang, CHP
BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS (volunteer, Explorer, CSO or Cadet vehicle, K.C. Stone, 2016 Mercedes Sprinter, America’s Forgotten Heroes. ]
BEST SPECIALTY EMERGENCY VEHICLE, Captain Jose Beltran.
BEST POLICE MOTORCYCLE, 1900-1995, John Spe4ncer, 1992 Kawasaki, Washoe County Sehriff’s Department, Nevada.
BEST AMBULANCE, MEDICAL, MILITARY OR PROFESSIONAL VEHICLE, Bruce Hrabak, Vintage Military Jeep.
BEST IN-SERVICE POLICE VEHICLE, Sgt. Josh Kresha, 2017 Ford Explorer Utility Vehicle.
BEST IN-SERVICE SECURITY OR TOW VEHICLE, Michael Zachry, 2017 Dodge Ram 2500.
BEST DAILY DRIVER, Raul Blair, 2015 Dodge Charger.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD, Jeff Leathley, ’91 Chevrolet Camaro, Nevada Highway Patrol.