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Cloverdale Comments - August 2016

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Cloverdale Comments - August 2016

by Carol Russell

“The Police are the public and the public are th police.” —Sir Robert Peel

In 1829 London, Sir Robert Peel established the first modern police department. His groundbreaking core principles upon which it was built include his belief that police officers must maintain a relationship with the people of the communities they serve and, thus, be community members themselves. Today we call it “Community Policing” and strive to achieve it because what was best for the Victorians is best still for us.    

Sergeant Rudy Segobiano, Officer Rick Rhodes and Sergeant Chris Parker, the three police officers we interviewed for this month’s entry in the “People Who Make Cloverdale Work” series, exemplify the Peelian philosophy of policing. Each sincerely expressed his commitment not only to our Police Department but also to the residents and businesses who make up our increasingly diverse, growing community. They are fully integrated, both as law enforcement professionals and as people whose individual strengths help make Cloverdale stronger and better. 

All three first thought about becoming officers while in high school; but, over time, each came into the profession via a different route. Rick worked as an airplane mechanic, part of the FAA Fact Team, and as liaison to Brazil for Cessna Aircraft Company. In 2001, a move from Kansas to Sonoma County gave him the opportunity to attend the Police Academy, after which he became a Federal Police Officer working on an Indian reservation. Ultimately, Rick became a Cloverdale Reserve Officer in 2013 and accepted a permanent position in 2014.  

As a youngster, Rudy made a conscious choice to protect others—even if he sometimes took a beating himself. Upon high school graduation, he decided to learn how to protect people in a different way by attending SRJC as a Criminal Justice major. At 18, he began his career as a retail security guard and just few years later he was shot at. Ultimately, Rudy progressed to Mendocino and then Sonoma County Corrections, joining our Police Department in the late ‘90s.

Chris began as a security guard for Great America, quickly rising to Security Operations Manager. He joined the City of Mt. View’s Police Department as a Reserve Officer, moved to Cotati in 2001, and received a promotion to Sargent in 2005. Wishing to work for the universally respected Susan Jones, who was serving as Cloverdale’s Interim Police Chief, he moved to our Department as an Officer in 2015, becoming a Sargent shortly after.

Rudy, Rick and Chris are living examples of Peel’s vision of community-oriented policing. For example, Rudy devotes time to our diverse neighborhoods and community organizations, talking with residents utilizing the exceptional communication skills he gained over the years. He genuinely likes “getting to know people”, helping colleagues bring forward the positive spirit that is evident in the Department, and generally building relationships between the police and people in all segments of our community. Rudy is interested in training and enhancing the experiences of the “next generation” in preparation for their future. 

Rick finds his special strengths in laying the “groundwork to resources” so that people have access to critical information and assistance. He commented on the importance of helping those involved with domestic violence find the resources they need. Rick also works with School Resource Officer Mac Baker in the GREAT (Gang Resistant and Education Training) Program and with the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Program to give “kids the chance to do the right thing and get to know police officers”. 

Chris began his ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) work in Cotati. A short time after starting here, he gathered Cloverdale’s restaurants and bars together to begin laying the foundation for a healthy relationship between the police and our local alcohol-related businesses. With that underway, Chris is working with Rudy to develop a Cadet Program for 14-21 year olds interested in going into criminal justice. For fun, he set up a Star Wars night for the city employees, officials and their families, which also drew Mike McGuire and Sheriff Steve Freitas. Looking into the future, Chris is attending the Supervisory Leadership Institute, a 10-month program.

Trained. Skilled. Talented. Dedicated. Visible. Overwhelmingly community oriented. Like their three colleagues, that describes the others in the Cloverdale Police Department, men and women who understand that “The police are the public…” 

Sir Robert would be pleased.