Longtime Claremont police officers are promoted for outstanding service

The good news keeps coming for the Claremont Police Department. In recent months Claremont’s budget success and grant funding has allowed the local police department the ability to add to its ranks.

First, with the addition of a four-legged staff member named Dodger, a one-year-old British Labrador trained to identify narcotics. He is now the trusty partner of Officer Sean Evans, following him around to local schools and assisting in drug searches around the city.

Last month, officers began the search for a part-time, $32,500-a-year police detective with the approval of the Claremont City Council. 

On the heels of these successes, Claremont police have another reason to celebrate. Last week as 7 longtime Claremont policemen were honored with promotions totaling a pay increase of $23,364 a year, according to Finance Director Adam Pirrie.

Officers Sean Evans and David Hardin were promoted to corporals, Detective David De Metz to sergeant and Sergeants Jason Walters and Aaron Fate to lieutenants. The promotions will fill existing department vacancies, according to Claremont Chief of Police Paul Cooper.

In 2010 the police department was forced to cut 6 officer positions with an additional post cut in 2011 as the city struggled with budget cuts. Though the number of police officers in the Claremont force is still below the 2009 total, Chief Cooper is encouraged by the city’s continued commitment to public safety as the budget returns to good health.

“I am pleased whenever we can add tools to the police department to enhance our effectiveness and the services we provide the community,” Chief Cooper said. “While these have and continue to be challenging economic times, the impacts of Realignment are being felt throughout the region and my hope is these tools and the partnership we share with the community will be an equalizer.”

The Police Commission meeting was crammed with friends, family and community members in attendance in support of the local police force (though some may also chalk up the high attendance to Dodger the drug dog’s special appearance in support of his partner).

The promoted servicemen have given a total of over 50 years of service to the city of Claremont. Lt. Walters leads the pack of promotees with 15 years at the Claremont Police Department with hardly an area of enforcement he hasn’t had a part in.  He was selected as the department’s Police Officer of the Year in 2004 and the Supervisor of the Year in 2012. He is also the recipient of the Police Department’s Medal of Excellence.  

Lt. Fate came to the Claremont Police Department 14 years ago as the highest-ranked recruit in his class from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Academy. He continues to rank at CPD, the recipient of the Police Commission’s Distinguished Service Medal, the City Manager’s Award of Excellence, and the Police Department Medal of Excellence. Lt. Fate was also selected as the department’s Police Officer of the Year in 2006.

Sgt. De Metz, an 8-year veteran of the Claremont police force, currently serves the city in the CPD’s Investigations Bureau, in addition to working patrol and as a field training officer. He was honored as Police Officer of the Year in 2009.

Corporal Hardin, who currently works as a traffic officer, followed suit as Police Officer of the Year in 2010. The 10-year Claremont police veteran notably authored 2 competitive Alcohol Beverage Control grants focused on education and enforcement of alcohol regulations and preventing the illegal purchase and use of alcohol by minors.

Now with Dodger by his side, Corporal Evans, an 8-year police department veteran, continues to serve the city as the local DARE officer. Before his time with the Claremont police, he served 2 years with the San Bernardino School Police Department and with the United States Marines for 7 years. He was recognized as Claremont’s Police Officer of the Year in 2008.

In addition to recognizing its promoted officers, the department took time to honor a few more of its own for exemplary service. Corporals Russell Haynes and Brian Thompson were awarded the department’s Lifesaving Award for coming to the aid of a Claremont man found unresponsive last Christmas. The officers performed CPR and shocked the victim 3 times with an external defibrillator prior to the arrival of fire department paramedics, according to Chief Cooper. The man made a full recovery and was in attendance at the meeting to add his cheers to the resounding applause.

—Beth Hartnett


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