Alhambra PD promotes Jennifer Wiese to Assistant Chief

By Cindy Arora

During her 30-year career at the Alhambra Police Department, Jennifer Wiese has had the chance to work a multitude of assignments. She spent time in the records department, traffic and found herself leading the city’s bicycle patrol, which earned her recognition from the city and is now one of her proudest achievements.

Earlier this week, Wiese was just given her latest assignment and promoted to the rank of Assistant Police Chief, the first woman to fill that role in APD’s 114-year history.

Friends and family wait for the start of Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

A standing-room-only crowd at Alhambra Library overflowed with friends, family and community members to celebrate her promotion, the promotion of four other police officers and the swearing in of several other new police officers and employees, including Stephen Qui, who was born in Alhambra but grew up in China.

“I know the excitement and pride that comes with being sworn in,” Chief of Police Timothy Vu said. “We feel fortunate to have a group of talented and dedicated people invested in the community. There’s a lot of home grown locals who are part of our team. They grew up here, they work here, they live here – and that’s great for community policing.”

Assistant Chief Jennifer Wiese is presented with a certificate for 30 years of service by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Each honoree was singled out by Vu and given a chance to shine as their accomplishments and recognitions were shared before they were pinned with their badge.  He noted Cadet Brandi Diaz grew up just a few miles away in El Monte and Cadet Kathy Huynh, from the neighboring city of Monterey Park both examples of “homegrown” locals connected to the community.

Clerical Assistant III Valinda Rodriguez, left, Cadet Kathy Huynh and Cadet Brandie Diaz are introduced during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

As each person was called upon, their family members were asked to join them as they were recognized as part of the APD family.

The most emotional moment came as Wiese’s dedication to her career in law enforcement was highlighted by Vu along with her family members who all shared memories about her journey from being a high school police explorer to her new role. Her career with APD began when she was hired as a cadet.

Assistant Chief Jennifer Wiese poses for a photo with her partner during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

“She’s always been very dedicated to her career,” said high school best friend, Wendy Mccart. “She was an explorer in high school. I watched her graduate from the (police) academy and I’ve seen her throughout her career.  She’s always been the one to watch us and keep us on track.”

Those promoted were Sgt. Dany Fuentes, Sgt. Rodney Castillo, Sgt. Carlos Donato and Lt. Eddie Elizalde.

Assistant Chief Jennifer Wiese, left, Lieutenant Eddie Elizalde, Sergeant Carlos Donato, Sergeant Rodney Castillo and Sergeant Dany Fuentes are sworn in by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Fuentes grew up in El Monte and attended Arroyo High School. He joined the APD as a police officer in 2005 and was promoted to corporal February 2013.

Sergeant Dany Fuentes has his badge pinned by his father during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Donato joined the APD as a Police Officer in August 2006 and has worked patrol, bicycle patrol and Detectives.

Sergeant Carlos Donato has his badge pinned by his mother during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Elizalde joined APD in 1995 as a police dispatcher and has worked a number of assignments in the Field Services and Support Services Divisions including Patrol, Detectives and Dispatch.

Lieutenant Eddie Elizalde has his badge pinned by his son during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Castillo joined APD as a police officer in July 2002.  He was promoted to Police Corporal on November 10, 2011, Police Sergeant on July 27, 2017 and was also recognized by the City of Alhambra for his 15 years of dedicated service.

Sergeant Rodney Castillo has his badge pinned by his mother, Emy, during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

“After two years of college, he told me he wanted to become a police officer,” said Emy Castillo, mother of Sgt. Rodney Castillo, who joined her son during the ceremony. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

The sworn new hires included, Police Officer Douglas Lee, Police Officer Kevin Salvatierra and Police Officer Stephen Qiu.

Officers Kevin Salvatierra, left, Stephen Qiu and Douglas Lee pose for a photo with Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Lee attended the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy, Class 224 and graduated from the Academy on April 20, 2017.  He joined APD as a Police Officer on May 4, 2017.

Officer Douglas Lee is sworn in by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Salvatierra attended Golden West Police Academy, Class 155 and graduated on September 15, 2017.  He joined APD as a Police Officer the same day.

Officer Kevin Salvatierra has his badge pinned by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Qiu was born in China, grew up in Alhambra and attended Guang Zhou #6 High School. He attended the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy, Class 226 and graduated from the Academy in June 2016.  He joined APD as a Police Officer on November 20, 2017.

Officer Stephen Qiu has his badge pinned by his wife during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

There were four new hires/nonsworn employees welcomed into the Alhambra Police Department family, including Cadet Brandie Diaz, Cadet Kathy Huynh, Clerical Assistant Valinda Rodriguez and Police Service Officer Kevin Kua.

Police Service Officer Kevin Kua, left, clerical Assistant III Valinda Rodriguez, Cadet Kathy Hyunh and Cadet Brandie Diaz are sworn in by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Police Service Officer Kevin Kua has his badge pinned by his mother during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Clerical Assistant III Valinda Rodriguez gets her badge pinned by her mother during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Cadet Kathy Hyunh gets her badge pinned during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Cadet Brandie Diaz gets her badge pinned by her father during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Detective Andrea Fuentes is presented with a certificate for 10 years of service by Chief Timothy Vu during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC

Assistant Chief Jennifer Wiese poses for a photo with her children during Wednesday’s Alhambra Police Department new hire and promotions ceremony. Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/ Behind the Badge OC