Police and fire open house highlights safety, careers

Connor Woken
Staff Writer

About 150 community members showed up for the La Verne fire and police departments’ biannual open house on Saturday at the Public Safety Building on Third Street.

The open house included a bike rodeo for kids. It also included vendors and branches of government, including representatives from the Los Angeles FBI office, who shared with participants what it is like to be an FBI agent, and how to get an FBI internship.

“These programs are intended to strengthen the bond between the community and the police department by promoting a union (which) can assist us in fighting crime,” said La Verne Police Chief Nick Paz.

The department held demonstrations to show the community what it is like to be a police officer or a firefighter, including a shooting simulator and impaired vision goggles to give  participants the sense of various emergency scenarios.

“I came to this event to see if this is what I really want to do as a job and talk to more people to get my foot in the door,” said Evan Gauthier, a Cal Poly Pomona student.

The bike rodeo was popular among the youngest participants, who were automatically entered into a raffle to win one of five brand new bicycles donated by the Majestic Cycling and La Verne Police Officers Association, the event co-sponsors.

The event also displayed about 15 vehicles, from a K-9 van to a helicopter.

“We come to these events to … try to recruit more people to apply to the FBI because it’s honestly a cool job,” said Kristi Koons Johnson, FBI assistant director in charge.

The event also highlighted the dangers of drinking and driving, including a vehicle that was destroyed in a DUI accident.

Community safety, and safety improvements were another theme of the event.

“I used to be a police officer, and I come to this event every year they have it because I like to see the new technology that the department gets.” Sebastian Barajas, a retired police officer from San Dimas, said.

The next open house will be in 2023.

Connor Woken can be reached connor.woken@laverne.edu.

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