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Porterville's newest officers pinned at City Hall ceremony
City Council members were officially introduced to Porterville’s newest police officers, Jennifer Rutledge, Edgar Calderon and Darin Cardoza, during a pinning ceremony held before the City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday. Along with other members of the Porterville Police Department, the three officers were joined by members of their families, who were given the honor of pinning the officer’s badges onto their uniforms.
Police Capt. Chris Dempsie, who sat in at the meeting as acting chief, introduced the three officers and read short bios.
Rutledge is a Porterville native and currently still resides here. She attended Granite Hills High School, where she graduated in 2003, and worked in her family’s restaurant, RJ’s Cafe and Bakery, before entering the police academy at College of the Sequoias in Visalia. She graduated in February of this year and was sworn in Sept. 17.
Rutledge’s husband, Chris brought their 4-year-old son, Jessie to stand before the audience, to give him a chance to help pin his mother’s badge on.
Following, Rutledge, Edgar Calderon was pinned by his girlfriend, Desiree Garza, while one of their two children, 4-year-old Kayleen Calderon, captured the moment using her mother’s iPhone. His second child, a 1-month-old son, Edgar, was not present.
Calderon is also a recent graduate of the Kern County Regional Police Academy, where he graduated a little over one year ago in September 2011. A native of Bakersfield, Calderon attended Bakersfield High School, where he graduated in 2005. He and his family currently reside in Bakersfield.
The last pinning was to Cardoza, who is new to law enforcement, but familiar with protecting the citizens of the USA, as he served in the United States Army from 2001 to 2006, during which time he served both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cardoza is a native of Tulare, and attended the police academy at COS, where he graduated in 2010. He began to work as a maintenance mechanic, but was eventually hired by the Porterville Police Department.
Cardoza has two daughters, 1-year-old Makayla, and 5–year-old Sophia, who was on hand with his wife, Sarah, to pin his badge.
According to a press release from the Porterville Police Department, the officers will still have to receive several weeks of training with experienced field training officers before being assigned to the patrol division of the department.
Along with the swearing in, one of PPD’s more seasoned officers, Robert Meier, was recognized as employee of the month after his efforts to cheer up a young girl whose family has been displaced by from their home because of a fire. Council member Cam Hamilton read the announcement that Meier had been chosen as employee of the month, because of his actions.
Meier became aware of the situation when he was sent to investigate a call of a disturbance at a hotel in Porterville. There he found the young girl, who was with her family, but who was scared and hard to console because of the fact that they had to stay in the unfamiliar setting. Meier took the time to try to calm the girl and relieve her fears. The next day he returned with a care package that included regular clothing, and a princess costume.
Hamilton continued that the family contacted the police department to commend Meier and to say that his actions have made dealing with the situation better, as the gift gave them and their daughter hope.