The number of laterals being hired on at Garden Grove PD continues to grow

By Lou Ponsi

Add two more names to the ever-growing list of experienced police officers who’ve become part of the Garden Grove Police Department family.

With family, friends and their new GGPD brothers and sisters looking on, two more laterals – officers who transfer from other police agencies – were sworn in by Chief Todd Elgin at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center on Monday. Feb. 27.

Since 2016, GGPD has hired more than 22 lateral officers.

“That’s a big deal for us,” Elgin said. “Lateral police officers are a big benefit to our agency. The big reason…they already know how to do police work.”

The newest laterals are Officer Joshua Brannon, who comes to GGPD from the Los Angeles Police Department, and Kris Kelley, who transitions from the Montclair PD.

For Brannon, 26, hiring on at GGPD represents a homecoming.

Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin welcomes the families and friends of the two new laterals being sworn in to the GGPD during a ceremony at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin welcomes families and friends of the two new laterals being sworn in to the GGPD during a Feb. 27 ceremony at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The husband and father has spent his life in Garden Grove, graduated from Pacific High School and has family in the city.

“I grew up here,” Brannon said. “I played football here. My entire life has been based in Garden Grove. I think it’s going to be great to kind of give back to the community that I grew up in.”

Also, coming from an agency with close to 10,000 sworn officers to a department with 166 sworn officers was a huge draw for Brannon.

“I like the fact that it is very family oriented.” Brannon said of GGPD. “I like the more tight-knit kind of groups.”

Joshua Brannon, a lateral from Los Angeles PD, gets his new Garden Grove PD badge pined to him by his wife Sara Brannon during a swearing in ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Joshua Brannon, a lateral from the Los Angeles PD, gets his new Garden Grove PD badge pinned on him by his wife, Sara.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kelley, 34, who also grew up in Orange County, served in the U.S. Army from 2002 to 2007 and stayed on as an Army reservist until 2016.

While on active duty, Kelley was a member of the Military Police Corps and deployed to Africa, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

On another assignment, Kelley guarded five 9/11 terrorists while stationed in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

“It’s a great move, because I wanted to get back to Orange County,” Kelley said of joining GGPD. “And the tradition that this department has and the reputation that it has of being the best police department … I wanted to be part of that.”

GGPD has expedited the hiring process for laterals, making the move an attractive option for officers wanting to make a change.

Behind the Badge reported in January that GGPD laterals aren’t required to go through the six-month police academy for new recruits and their field training also may be reduced since they’ve already been out in the field.

“We are looking forward to tapping into what they bring to the table to strengthen our organization as we move forward,” Elgin said. “These two gentlemen come with significant time on the job, lots of experience and they are hungry to get out there and work.”

Joshua Brannon, a lateral from Los Angeles PD, gets his new Garden Grove PD badge pined to him by his wife Sara Brannon during a swearing in ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kris Kelley, a lateral from the Montclair PD, gets his new Garden Grove PD badge pinned on him by his wife, Kelly. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove PD officers attend the swearing in of two new lateral officers to their department. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove PD officers attend the swearing-in of two new lateral officers to their department on Monday, Feb. 27.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove’s new PD Officer Joshua Brannon with his family during his swearing in ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove’s new PD Officer Joshua Brannon with his family during his swearing-in ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove’s new PD Officer Kris Kelley stands with his family and friends during his swearing in ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove’s new PD Officer Kris Kelley (on Chief Todd Elgin’s left) stands with his family and friends during his swearing-in ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove police officers gather with Police Chief Todd Elgin, center as he stands next to the two new lateral officers Kris Kelley, left, and Joshua Brannon right of the chief at the conclusion of the swearing in ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Garden Grove police officers gather with Police Chief Todd Elgin, center, as he stands next to the two new lateral officers Kris Kelley (to Elgin’s right) and Joshua Brannon.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC