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Anaheim Police Department History: 2000

2000's

Expecting the unexpected

Throughout 1999 as the world prepared for the new millennium, the country prepared for the transition to the year 2000. Nobody really knew what to expect, and predictions of impending doom hung overhead. It was believed that computers would not be able to recognize the transition of a new century and systems would fail, causing mass power outages, financial disaster, criminal opportunity and general chaos. Nationally, as experts worked to remedy any potential problems, law enforcement prepared to handle any situation that could possibly arise. The APD also conducted extensive preparation, having numerous contingency plans in place to deal with whatever could possibly occur. On New Years Eve, the majority of the department was prepared and on active duty. On a normal evening at another similar time, our department would staff approximately 25 Officers for the entire city. On New Years 1999, 5 Lieutenants, 12 Sergeants and 107 officers were assigned to patrol the city of Anaheim with an additional 100 others performing support functions. One briefing session alone that evening was moved to the training auditorium in order to accommodate the standing- room-only crowd of nearly 150 dispatchers, officers and supervisors. As the clock struck midnight and a we entered a new century, we quickly learned that all conceivable unfortunate situation had been averted and problems did not occur as believed.

The Creation of District Policing

The Anaheim Police Department had made progress in successfully implementing some community policing strategies over the past 20 years. In 1999, it became obvious that we needed to expedite the development of community policing strategies in order to accomplish the goals of our strategic plan. We could no longer depend upon our traditional "central command and control policing model".

The next step in our continuing development of community policing strategies would be the major shift to a District Policing Model. The District Policing Model established 4 policing districts within Anaheim. Each district was assigned a District Commander and each district had it's own police station. District Commanders were given the personnel and empowerment to resolve policing issues within their district utilizing whatever resources that were necessary to solve problems. The District Commanders work together to implement our Neighborhood Improvement Plan by assembling representatives from other city departments to work together with us to accomplish our goals. We believe that this model has resulted in the reduction of crime and has improved the quality of life for our citizens.


Deputy Chief position created

Chief Roger Baker recognized the impact of our two recent and similar tragedies. He questioned the loss of two Police Chiefs who both died of heart failure, both at the age of 54 and both in their fifth year in office.

It became obvious to Chief Baker that a change was needed to how the Office of the Police Chief operated. Over the many years, the workload and responsibilities of the Chief have become tremendous and time consuming. Anaheim has grown to be California's 10th largest city and help was needed to assist him in leading this large organization. While both Chief Molloy and Chief Gaston recognized this need , a decision was made in 2000 to spread the workload and provide for better service by creating the position of Deputy Chief. Chief Baker appointed Captain Frank Fleming postponed his retirement plans and accepted this new position, developing and organizing the new Office of Deputy Chief.

Near tragedy

July 10, 2000 marked the date of another near-tragedy. Officer Thomas "Kasey" Geary was on patrol in the southeast section of Anaheim during a quiet Monday morning. At about 1:50 AM, Officer Geary notified dispatchers that he was making a car stop in the area of Ball Road and the 57 Freeway. About 5 minutes later, the police radio came alive with the chilling broadcast by a citizen reporting an "officer down". An off-duty Long Beach Park Ranger was driving his car in the area when he saw a single police car stopped on the shoulder of the darkened freeway on-ramp. As he drove up, he saw Officer Geary lying on the ground with obvious injuries. The citizen stopped his car, rushed to help and called for assistance. Within moments, countless other Officers arrived on-scene and found Kasey suffering from a gunshot wound to his face. As Officer Geary was taken to the UCI Medical Center where doctors worked tirelessly to save his life, officers from throughout the southland searched for his assailant.

A suspect was eventually located, arrested and convicted and Kasey eventually recovered from his injuries and
returned to duty.

Disney Resort Contract

By the late '90s, the area surrounding Disneyland was showing its age. Plans were developed to improve the appearance of the area and after 5 years of planning and redevelopment, there was a rebirth of the Anaheim Resort. With many area businesses impacted in this renovated area, some local businesses in the resort district were obligated to pay for additional City services as a condition for participation in the resort development. In order to provide better service to the Disneyland Resort and to reduce the impact to the general city population, the Anaheim Police Department began to work with the Walt Disney Company to arrange for a contract for police services and facilities at the Disneyland Resort. Negotiations continued for many years, and in the year 2000, a contact was finally agreed upon which provided for the equivalence of 15 full-time officers at the Disneyland Resort and included a police facility on the Disney Resort property. Presently, the Anaheim Police South Station is housed one level below Downtown Disney in a building shared with the Anaheim Fire Department and Disneyland Health Services.

For many previous years, the Anaheim Police Department has worked hard to maintain a low-profile in and around Disneyland. So as not to distract from a guests' Disney experience, uniformed Officers were discreet in their presence and performance of their duties. The events of September 11th changed America and brought reality to the site of fantasy and escape. Since then, the Anaheim Police Department has provided a strong visible presence throughout the Disneyland Resort and the South Station has become the hub of our counter terrorism activities. Our visibility and activities continue to make this one of the safest places to visit.

In the summer of 2000, a West Anaheim Police sub-station was opened to better serve area residents and businesses. Located in a strip-mall at Lincoln Avenue and Western Street, this Police Station staffs a service counter for the people of West Anaheim and is the home of the West Community Policing Team. It also houses a large community room which is used by many local groups. To open this long awaited service center, a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony was held in August of 2000, attended by citizens of the community and many local elected officials. At the time of this publication, a new permanent West Police Station and Youth Center is currently being built on Beach Boulevard, and is expected to be opened in mid-2006.

On October 7, 2000, a close personal tragedy occurred to the members of the department. In the late evening hours, it was discovered that Traffic Control Assistant Angela King was murdered when she returned home for work. Angela had completed her shift after an evening of directing traffic at a special event in Anaheim. She drove home, parked her car and entered her East Street apartment in downtown Anaheim. Entering her apartment while still wearing her department uniform, she interrupted a burglary in-progress and was killed by the intruder. In an effort to destroy evidence, the apartment was set on fire. As firefighters were working to extinguish the flames, they discovered an elderly neighbor had also been attacked. The neighbor was taken to a nearby hospital, but died from her injuries two months later. To compound to our grief, the media had recorded the firefighters attempted rescue Angela, which was shown on statewide television in the following days. The media converged on our city to follow this incomprehensible story as detectives worked feverishly to find the attacker. Within days, Edgar Omar Osorio was arrested and charged with the murder of these two women. On May 23, 2005, Edgar Osorio was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murders. Angela King served this community for nine years and was eulogized at a memorial service attended by hundreds of friends and associates.

Detention Facility moves forward

Since the inception of our department in 1870, Anaheim Police have always had their own city jail. For 131 years, the personnel staffing the jail were either sworn officers or civilians referred to as "Jailers". While this was not always the best maintained facility, time has brought us to an era where professionalism is the key. In the initial years of Anaheim, the jail was a schoolroom rented to house a few prisoners. Up until the early 1960s, the jail was comprised of two cells located behind city hall which became unacceptable, unhealthy and unsafe. Chief Mark A. Stephenson, in attempting to convince city officials to build a new police and jail facility during the early 1960s, called the Anaheim City Jail "the worst jail this side of Tijuana". The comment brought unexpected attention to the quiet city of Anaheim and his statement was carried throughout the nation. Prior to his death, Chief Stephenson said that he never expected the media attention that resulted, and perhaps his choice of words were rather unfortunately, but it did bring the results desired as his new jail was dedicated in 1963.

In 1999, the police department completed the Police 2000 building renovation, with a major renovation and expansion to the Anaheim Detention Facility.

In 2000, the City of Anaheim hired it's first civilian Detention Manager. Michael Richardson, an experienced professional in the field of corrections, was brought on-board to bring our Detention Facility forward. Through his efforts, the jail is now a stand-alone bureau and provides armed jail personnel to handle the vast custodial and corrections functions including prisoner transportation.

On May 7, 2001, a milestone occurred when our Detention Officers were sworn-in at a ceremony conducted by Chief Baker. This major change eliminated the need for Police Officers to be taken out of service to transport prisoners to court and hospital facilities. Our correctional staff have become members of the Anaheim Police Association, have received training as first responders and continue to improve their skills by receiving up-to-date Corrections training. Most Detention Officers were issued handguns and began transporting prisoners to court and to local hospitals. In 2005, their titles were changed to " Correctional Officers". Their training and change in classification have aided in our goals of Problem Oriented Policing, freeing officers of many duties in order to remain on the streets and devote more time to the goals of the organization.

California Adventure

As we publish this history book, Disneyland is celebrating its the 50th Anniversary. Over fifty years ago, Walt Disney began working on a plan to bring a national treasure to our city by opening his first theme park…Disneyland. Since its' inception, there has always been a close relationship between the APD and the Walt Disney Company, as chronicled in our previous history book which disclosed the close bond we have maintained between Disney and Anaheim PD.

The February 8, 2001 opening of Disney's California Adventure provided the Anaheim Police Department an opportunity to relive the history of 1955 when Disneyland was opened. As plans were made to expand the theme park Resort area and create the new Disney's California Adventure, a few retired members of the Anaheim Police Department staff were called upon to supply critical details and lessons learned at the first opening. Department staff coordinated security and traffic planning with other Federal, State, County and local law enforcement agencies. The success of our planning, preparation and staffing activities provided a seamless opening environment for Disney's newest development. The Anaheim Police Department utilized almost 50 years of institutional knowledge of Disney Operations to ensure that the lessons of the past would guide us to a highly successful second grand opening event.

War on America

9-11-01….numbers that say so much and a day that will be remembered forever. Early that morning, we awoke to learn that the United States was under attack as planes were flown into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a rural area of Pennsylvania. As the crisis unfolded and the potential rose for further attacks, the APD rushed into action to protect our city from unknown terrorist. Over time, we have come to learn who were behind the war on America. The events of September 11th changed our perceptions of threats to our local community and changed the way we would do police work in America. Prior to the attacks, the Anaheim Police Department and law enforcement around the country focused on general criminal activity, organized crime groups, gangs and domestic terrorist. We now have to include foreign terrorist groups to our already full plate of law enforcement concerns.

Within a few weeks of the attacks, we discovered just how great the threat was for the City of Anaheim. A military threat assessment concluded that there were several probable targets for terrorist attacks in Anaheim. Anaheim was now considered the 5th most probably target for terrorist attack in the State of California. This ranking has elevated and decreased, depending on the major events held in our city, but the ranking has never been lower than 5.

The Anaheim Police Department responded to this situation by developing response plans and acquiring equipment and training that was "cutting edge" in the war on terrorism. The City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Police Department have taken the lead in the development of surveillance and detection technology and techniques that have been recognized by the Federal Office of Homeland Security. In 2004, the City began receiving grant funds to develop and implement the technology and systems that will help us better protect our community and become a model for other communities. As a result of the events of September 11th, the Anaheim Police Department now has a 7-member Homeland Security Bureau.

2002 Angels World Series

Our local California Angels baseball team changed their name to the Anaheim Angels for the 2002 season and the Anaheim magic seemed to guide the team through the regular season and through the playoff games. Suddenly for the first time in 42 years, the Angels played in the World Series. This was also a "first" for the Anaheim Police Department.

The events of 9/11/01 have greatly changed all of our security procedures for events in Anaheim. The World Series provided us with our greatest challenge to date. With very little time for preparation and only a few days between the last playoff game and the opening of the World Series, the Anaheim Police Department began the planning of the most sophisticated World Series security operation in Major League Baseball history in the new era of terrorism.

Once again the City of Anaheim became the center stage for the major event of the season, and once again the Anaheim Police Department proved its worth. We pulled together Federal, State, County, and local law enforcement resources to insure a safe environment for this major event. As we sprung into action, Major League Baseball officials marveled at the sophistication of our security operation and the apparent ease with which we integrated the many resources and staff into one massive operational unit.

As the Series progressed and our local Anaheim Angels battled for their title, the APD stood up front to insure that every team member, official, and spectator could concentrate on the sport as we insured their safety and security. We are proud to boast that since that time, Major League Baseball has utilized videos of our command and control operation as a training aid for other Major League Baseball events.

A loss in a national battle

Since September 11th, many of our officers serving in the armed forces have been called away from their APD duties and sent to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom. One of those members was Reserve Officer Edward Smith. Edward Smith served as an APD Reserve Officer for 4 years and was an active member of the United States Marine Corps for 20 years. Edward joined the Anaheim Police Department in 1999 and had been presented numerous awards in his short law enforcement career. Edward worked not only Patrol, but was also a member of our SWAT team.

In late 2002, Edward made the difficult decision to retire from the Marine Corps and become a full-time Anaheim Police Officer. He successfully completed the battery of tests and in 2003 was selected as a new full-time Anaheim Officer. After being offered full-time employment with the APD, a war erupted and the United States Marine Corps asked him to postpone his retirement in order to return to active duty to lead his young troops into battle. Upon learning of his reactivation, Chief Roger Baker promised Edward that he would hold his position until his safe and prompt return from military duty.

Dutifully, United States Marine Corps 1st Sergeant Edward Smith was reactivated and led his troops into combat for his final time. In early April of 2003, 1st Sgt. Smith was leading a company of over 200 Marines in the fight against the Iraqi Regime and was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The entire department was devastated and shocked by the news. All eyes in the country focused on Anaheim and Camp Pendelton as we struggled to comprehend that Edward would not be returning. We consoled his wife, children, parents and siblings, along with each other as we tried to come to terms with his untimely death.

We held a memorial service at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim, attended by many family, friends, military and law enforcement personnel. Immediately following the department memorial service, Edward's remains were taken to Camp Pendelton for a large military funeral, followed by an impressive military ceremonial internment in San Diego.
Officer Edward Smith was a respected member of the Anaheim Police Department and will be remembered as a brave and heroic leader.

Roger Baker retires

After serving for 29 years in the Anaheim Police Department, Chief Roger A. Baker retired from the Anaheim Police Department on December 26, 2003. Chief Baker was honored with a service retirement from the City of Anaheim at a gala dinner at the Grove of Anaheim. Attended by hundreds of business and community members, Roger was honored and bid farewell at this evening ceremony held on December 4, 2004. At the time of his departure, Chief Baker was proud that the department could boast the lowest Park 1 crime rate of the 10 largest resort communities in the United States and that the tourism industry rated Anaheim as the safest resort community. Also, Anaheim had the second lowest Part 1 crime rate of the 10 largest cities in California, the highest violent crime clearance rate of California's 10 largest cities, all considering that Anaheim had the lowest officer per thousand population ratio of these same cities.

In early 2005, Roger and Shirley Baker relocated to the State of Washington and Roger continues to serve in the law enforcement field as the Police Chief of the Des Moines Police Department.

CHIEF JOHN WELTER

When Chief Baker announced his pending retirement, City Manager Dave Morgan and the City Council began their nation-wide search for his replacement. Many well qualified candidates applied for this highly sought after position. On February 19, 2004, City Manager Dave Morgan announced that San Diego's Executive Assistant Chief of Police John A. Welter had been selected to serve as the 31st leader of the Anaheim Police Department

John Welter was sworn in as Anaheim's Chief of Police on March 22, 2004. For the first time in the history of this department, the Oath of Office was administered to a Police Chief in the Police Department Training Auditorium rather than at City Hall. City Clerk Sheryl Schroeder administered the oath to Chief Welter in front of an overflow crowd of family, friends, associates and well-wishers. Chief Welter came to Anaheim with 32 years of law enforcement experience, having served the San Diego Police Department since 1971.

Chief Welter immediately began meeting everyone in the organization and throughout the city. It is not unusual to see him drop in on daily briefing sessions or individual work stations. In order to better understand the organization, he would visit the Communications Center and begin dispatching units and join patrol officers as they responded to calls for service. He also immediately implemented an open door meeting policy in order to meet the Anaheim residents and business members, listening to their concerns and learning about issue they consider important.

After a full assessment of the organization, Chief Welter began implementing many of his ideas and philosophies, including the implementation of Problem Oriented Policing. Chief Welter's plans also include an increased participation of community members and volunteers, the development of a complete crime analysis unit, the implementation of a Family Justice Center, increasing membership in our Chaplain Corps, and adding additional officers in order to provide the best level of service and response times to the Anaheim Community. As we enter this new era of law enforcement, the Anaheim Police Department is working to become the model for Problem Oriented Policing, working to become a leader in homeland security defense and striving to ensure that Anaheim becomes the safest place to live and work. Chief Welter retired from the profession of policing on May 16, 2013.