Fellow officers, city staffers, district attorneys and more packed the Lodi Police Department community room Tuesday to celebrate the promotion of two officers.
Days after Capt. J.P. Badel retired, Chief Mark Helms appointed 25-year veteran officer Chris Piombo as the department’s new captain, as well as promoting Sierra Brucia to lieutenant.
Capt. Chris Piombo
Piombo, who has served a variety of assignments throughout the department, will be responsible for patrol operations, which entails keeping officers safe in an increasingly violent society, he said.
As captain, Piombo said a top priority is keeping officers prepared for potential violence with proper training.
“The big issue we have right now is making sure our officers are safe,” he said. “Society is getting more and more violent, and the idea is to teach drivers training, defensive tactics, shooting and also the verbal techniques. For me, the priority is to keep our officers safe.”
Piombo said that a revolving-door prison system means officers are routinely dealing with repeat offenders who don’t fear serving time.
“(Criminals) challenge officers much more than when I started,” Piombo said. “It’s a different ballgame. So my job is to keep the officers safe and make sure they’re trained properly.”
Piombo, a native of Stockton and graduate of University of California, Davis, joined the Lodi PD in 1988 as a police officer trainee and became an officer later that year. He was promoted to corporal in 1997, sergeant in 2000 and lieutenant in 2006.
Piombo has served in varied roles, including patrol bicycle officer, field training officer and patrol sergeant. He later served as an investigations sergeant and a watch commander. He also served as the technical services manager and as investigations lieutenant.
Piombo has also been a member of the SWAT team for nearly 20 years.
“When I started in 1988, I never envisioned reaching a position of this nature,” Piombo said. “I thought I’d work patrol for years, maybe a sergeant. I was never ambitious about becoming a lieutenant or captain. This has been a very enjoyable ride.”
Helms promoted Piombo to second-in-command based on several factors.
“There are many reasons that I chose Chris,” Helms said. “He’s bright, he’s very talented and he’s going to bring a lot of value to our team.”
Lt. Sierra Brucia
Brucia, who attended the police academy at Sacramento City College, joined Lodi PD as a reserve officer in 1995. He served as a police officer trainee in 1996 and became an officer later that year.
Brucia was promoted to corporal in 2007 and then to sergeant in 2011. As lieutenant, he’ll serve as a watch commander in patrol.
Brucia has worked patrol, investigations and as a school resource officer. He’s spent 11 years in SWAT and is currently a team leader. As a special investigations unit sergeant, he’s helped drastically reduce gang violence in Lodi.
He’s also a Silver Star recipient from 2005.
“It’s very obvious you have a passion for what you’re doing,” Helms told Brucia. “You get things done, you get things done quickly and you get them done the right way.”
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at email@example.com.