J.P. Badel has worked a number of assignments in the last 21 years with the Lodi Police Department, and another change officially happened Monday: He became one of the department's two captains and is now third in charge.
As captain of support services, he will oversee investigations - detectives and internal affairs - and technical services, which includes dispatch, jail, records, property and evidence.
Badel talked Monday about his career and plans for his new position.
What he'll do as captain of support services: "Customer service is very important to me. … We want to make sure the citizens feel safe and secure - that's customer service."
New Police Chief David Main, who was previously a captain, wants to survey citizens who have dealt with the department, and Badel supports the idea.
"I've always had the mindset, 'Don't ask the question if you don't want the answer.' We're going to ask the questions. What are we doing well? Where can we do better?"
Main has tasked Badel with developing a strategic plan for the department, looking three to five years ahead.
To help with that plan, Badel will hold a team-building session with all managers - from lieutenants to corporals - with the assistance of California's Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. The team-building will make them more comfortable and help them offer suggestions on how to improve the department, Badel said.
He is also continuing work on combining fire and police dispatch, which requires buying equipment, training current dispatchers and hiring four more dispatchers. As part of a legal settlement with San Joaquin County, the dispatch system must be operating by the end of the year.
- Born and raised in Los Angeles as the youngest of seven
children; he was the only boy.
- Wife of nearly 20 years, Karen, is a teacher. They have two
children - a 16-year-old son and a daughter who is almost
- Received a bachelor's degree in sociology, with minors in
criminology and management from University of the Pacific. Working
toward a Master's Degree in Emergency Services Management from Long
Beach State University, expected to be completed at the end of
2009. Graduated from the West Point Leadership Program at the Los
Angeles Police Department. Will attend the FBI National Academy in
- Became a reserve officer with the Stockton Police Department
and was then hired as a Lodi police officer in June
- Has worked in a number of areas in the department, ranging from
motors to detectives. Spent 14 years on the Honor Guard.
- In January, became one of 25 board members of the California
Peace Officers' Association, an organization with nearly 4,000
- Also in January, started a second term on the board of the Lodi
Boys and Girls Club. Is immediate past president of First Tee of
San Joaquin, part of a nationwide program that teaches youths to be
upstanding citizens, as well as how to golf.
- News-Sentinel staff
What started Badel's police career: "I grew up in Los Angeles and, like every little kid, I watched 'Adam-12' (a realistic show about two Los Angeles cops, which ran from 1968 to 1975)."
His sister's husband was a peace officer, and he had a lot of influence on Badel - who has since mentored his uncle's son as he also pursued a career in law enforcement.
By high school, Badel knew he wanted to pursue the career, and he even minored in criminology.
Why he came to Lodi: "I had a great childhood - it was wonderful. But I didn't want to go to college in my own backyard."
Badel applied to a number of California colleges. When he saw University of the Pacific in Stockton, he loved the campus instantly. He had planned to return to Southern California, but he met his wife in college, and her family lived in the area. He decided to stay.
The best part about being a cop: "As corny as it sounds, it's really about giving, making a difference. You're in a position to make a difference in the community. … If you're making a drunk driver arrest, you might prevent a death or a wreck. Here in the office, maybe you're offering a whole new service to the public."
What's in his office: Photos from his 14 years on the Honor Guard, old photos of officers and, when he finishes hanging them, pictures of golf legends.
He also has a paperweight that sat on his father's desk through 47 years of medical practice. In his breast pocket he carries a pen his father used.
"My father and I were very close. He died two years ago, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of him."
How the department has changed since he started in 1987: "When I got hired here, Rob Tobeck was my very first (field training officer). I remember him saying, 'They're talking about getting computers in the patrol cars.'"
Twenty years ago, officers wrote notes by hand in a book they stashed on the dashboard. Now cases are written and stored on searchable computer systems.
Badel also said officers today are dealing with a much larger variety of drugs, as well as more gang troubles.
How the public perceives the Police Department: "A lot of people watch TV shows and think that's what it's like. … But behind the scenes there's a lot of paperwork - even booking someone in the jail takes a lot of paperwork. … The TV shows, not necessarily 'COPS,' give citizens a false sense of reality. The DNA test results are not going to come back that fast."
How he wants the public to perceive the department: "We've got kids. We go to church. We're part of social organizations. We're like anybody else."
Badel believes that officers should be involved in the community to show that they truly care.
That also helps police employees form friendships outside the department, such as his Sunday golf group that includes people from various professions. His father-in-law, who retired from the Stockton Police Department, told him, "Make sure you develop friends outside of law enforcement. If you don't, you'll live it 24/7."
What he does when he's not at work: "My time is consumed mainly by work, family - my son and daughter play sports, and I try to go to as many of their games as I can - and I spend a lot of my time with the Boys and Girls Club."
And there's golf, a definite passion for Badel. His favorite course is Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach, but most weekends he can be found on a local course.
"I've been playing golf for 37 years, and I'm only 45," he said with a smile.