New PIO of Anaheim Police and Anaheim Fire & Rescue has a mind like a steel Trapp

By Greg Hardesty

A topographical map of Mount Everest hangs in Lt. Eric Trapp’s new office at the Anaheim Police Department.

Before he became a cop and worked at REI, Trapp dreamed of scaling Earth’s highest mountain.

Trapp, 45, still is toying with the idea of hiking up to the base camp of the mountain with his wife, Anaheim Police homicide Det. Julissa Trapp — maybe to mark his 50th birthday.

For now, he’s got other mountains to conquer — figuratively speaking.

On Feb. 18, Trapp was appointed Public Safety Public Information Officer for the Anaheim PD and Anaheim Fire & Rescue, replacing seasoned and highly respected PIO Lt. Bob Dunn, who was tapped to command the police department’s Gang Intervention and Suppression Bureau, which includes Safe Schools and Cops 4 Kids.

In a statement, Anaheim PD Chief Raul Quezada and Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman thanked Dunn for his years of service as PIO, and said they were excited about the appointment of Trapp and look forward to his tenure as the Public Safety PIO.

A PIO serves as the face, voice and public image of the entire department — not a job for the faint of heart, with TV cameras pointed at your face outside crime scenes and sometimes testy reporters peppering you with pointed questions at media-soaked news conferences.

The job of a police and fire PIO requires credibility, quick thinking, a thorough knowledge of the agency you represent and the respect not only of your rank-and-file colleagues, but of the print, TV and radio reporters whose cell phone numbers soon will be embedded in your brain.

“We’re at a point where the demand and need for information is huge,” Trapp says, “and how fast we get it ‘out there,’ and how accurate and factual it is, is critical.”

On Trapp’s desk is a book, “Organizational Power Politics: Tactics in Organizational Leadership.” It’s for a master’s degree in leadership and management Trapp is working on at the University of La Verne.

Trapp grew up in Newport Beach.

Raised on TV fare such as “Adam-12,” he always thought about becoming a police officer. His father was a car dealership owner who knew a lot of cops.

Trapp’s goal of entering law enforcement was solidified when he served as a police explorer in high school and then majored in criminal justice at Cal State University Long Beach.

He’s always been a high achiever — and he’s quick to recall dates and names of people from years ago, as well as stuff like the elevation of Mount Everest (“It’s 29,029,” he says).

“My biggest regret,” Trapp says, “is not finishing my service project to become an Eagle Scout.”

Trapp’s career at Anaheim PD, which began when he was hired as a recruit in 1995 (he graduated from the academy in 1996), has been comprehensive.

As a patrol officer, he was assigned to the first Downtown Disney detail, in 2000. He served as an FTO (field training officer) and as a detective on the Anaheim Resort unit.

He was a detective assigned to Family Crimes/Sexual Assault Detail and as also was a member of the SWAT team.

After being promoted to sergeant in 2006, Trapp worked patrol and then went back to Family Crimes as a detective sergeant.

After working in Internal Affairs, and then as an administrator in the Operations Division, Trapp was promoted to lieutenant, in 2012.

As a lieutenant, Trapp has worked as commander for the PD’s west and south districts, then as a watch commander, then in gang intervention and suppression.

He also served as commander of the SWAT team prior to being named the new PIO — not entirely new territory for him.

A couple of times, Trapp served as the backup for legendary Anaheim PD Sgt. Rick Martinez, who is retired.

Trapp and his wife have a daughter, 13. A painting she made of the U.S. flag when she was in preschool hangs on a wall, along with a picture of her and Julissa Trapp frolicking on the sands of Laguna Beach.

Trapp hopes that in a few years, there will be another picture hanging in his office — that of him and his wife at one of the tallest places on Earth.