Westminster PD officers connect with community over Corvettes and coffee

By Jessica Peralta

Westminster community members mingled with officers, had some coffee, and appreciated some snazzy corvettes at “Cops, Corvettes & Coffee” at Uncle Pete’s Cafe on Dec. 15.

Commander Darin Upstill, who helped coordinate the event, said the idea behind it was to offer the community a casual, fun environment to interact with local law enforcement.

“We gotta do more of these things,” he said, adding that they intended this first get-together to be somewhat of a trial run. “In spring time, we’ll make it even bigger.”

Tammy Porter of Westminster talks to Westminster Police Chief Ralph Ornelas as he checks out her Bernese Mountain Dog, Buzz, during the WPD community outreach “Cops, Corvettes & Coffee” event.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Corvette enthusiasts, who typically gather at the cafe’s parking area on Friday mornings, as well as other members of the community who heard about the event via social media, stopped by to talk cars or anything else with several Westminster PD officers and members of the command staff, as well as Chief Ralph Ornelas.

“I really like the chief — we have a lot in common,” said Rick Sottile, a resident of Westminster for 30 years and an avid Corvette enthusiast who was there with his adult daughter, Laura Rose. Sottile brought his fully restored, black 1965 Corvette to the event.

Westminster Police Chief Ralph Ornelas talks to participants at the inaugural “Cops, Corvettes & Coffee” community gathering.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“Anytime they put anything together, I’m there,” Sottile said about showing his support to local law enforcement.

Longtime resident Jill Dominguez dropped by with a couple of friends (and their dogs) — all car enthusiasts.

“We think it’s genius,” she said about the idea of adding cars to a meet-up with officers.

She’s very much in favor of the agency’s community policing efforts and likes to come to events like these to show her support.

Members of the Westminster PD, including Commander Cameron Knauerhaze, left, and Chief Ralph Ornelas, center, gather with people who showed up for the WPD’s inaugural “Cops, Corvettes & Coffee” event at Uncle Pete’s Cafe. Other members of the Westminster PD came and went during the Dec. 15 gathering.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“They’re doing a really good job with that,” she said. “The least we can do is try to support all those efforts.”

Uncle Pete’s Cafe, which is walking distance of the WPD station, donated coffee and pastries for the event.

Westminster PD officers gather with Corvette owners and other members of the community during the WPD’s “Cops, Corvettes & Coffee” gathering at Uncle Pete’s Cafe.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Chris Porter, with his Siberian Husky, Brut, left, Tammy Porter and her Bernese Mountain Dog, Buzz, and Jill Dominguez with her poodle, Nemo, talk to Westminster PD officers, including Chief Ralph Ornelas.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC