Two members of the Manteca Police Department retired with more than 50 years of combined service on Friday – Dispatcher Kim Thomas and Detective Armen Avakian.
Two events were held in their honor – one during the lunch hour and the other at Las Casuelas Mexican Restaurant later that night on West Yosemite Avenue. Avakian took care of the charges for the Fagundes lunch truck that set up behind the police department. Thomas made sure that half of the evening event was put on her tab with the non-sworn union paying for the remainder.
Avakian said he felt honored that an officer from Stockton Police Department, Captain Tony Sajor, came down from Stockton to show his respect for the Manteca detective. They had worked together in narcotics enforcement with Captain Sajor attached to the SPD narcotics unit and Avakian assigned to the San Joaquin County’s Craknet for some four years. Their kids went to Annunciation School in Stockton.
Thomas, who headed up the Manteca Police dispatch center, was at the luncheon for only a short time greeting friends and fellow employees. She had to go back into the building to work as a dispatcher because of the department being short- handed. She had worked in the Records Division for four years and served as a community service officer for another five and the remainder as a dispatcher.
A wise reporter on the scene of a felony car stop that potentially involved narcotics would never leave until Avakian had completed his search of the vehicle. Chances were that he would always be the one to find a large cache of dope after others had given up looking.
Thomas won’t be gone from her dispatch position for long – just for a week – she’s coming back on a per diem basis due to a shortage of trained dispatchers.
Both Thomas and Armen were hired by former Police Chief Willie Weatherford.
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