When Lodi Police Lt. Chet Somera retired in January 2008, he didn't stay retired for long.
He consults part-time for an emergency preparedness company, continues to teach an occasional class to high school ROP students and volunteers as an unpaid reserve officer.
Now he's been named foreman of the new San Joaquin County civil grand jury.
Somera, 54, answered a few questions about his new role from News-Sentinel staff writer Layla Bohm.
Q: Why did you apply to be a grand juror?
A: I have never served on a jury because of my status as a law enforcement officer (who do not serve as jurors). I have a little bit of time now, I know about law and government agencies, so I thought I could help out if there are complaints with these agencies.
Q: How much time does the grand jury take?
A: It's a one-year commitment, and members may reapply for another one-year term. The first meeting is July 1, and grand jurors meet at least once a week, sometimes more often depending on the investigations.
2009-10 grand jurorsGene Andal, Stockton, retired county parks and recreation director
Robert L. Buckley Jr., Stockton, self-employed private investigator
Marlene Crow, Manteca, real estate agent
David Ennis, Escalon, retired federal government employee
Michael Halleck, Manteca, custodian
Terrence Harris, Tracy, division training specialist
Dale Heinze, Lodi, president of a retail marketing company
Teresa Henry, Stockton, Federal government training facilitator
Lina Longmire, Tracy, retired court administrator
Karen Migliori, Stockton, retired education and disabilities supervisor
Bernard Oeding, Morada, retired accountant
Christopher Parker, Tracy, retired firefighter
Andrew Pinasco, Stockton, controller at a plumbing and heating company
Marvin Primack, Stockton, retired anesthesiologist
Anthony Rantz, Lodi, retired engineer
Trudy Reed, Stockton, self-employed certified public accountant
Elmer Sanguinetti, Lodi, retired from a title insurance company
Chet Somera, retired Lodi police lieutenant
Paul Teldeschi III, Stockton, conservation insurer
Source: San Joaquin County Superior Court
Q: What do you hope to get out of the grand jury experience?
A: I hope to get some valuable experience, but what I'm looking at more is what I can give to the community as a whole, with good investigations and making sure that the investigations are fair. When I was conducting (investigations) as a law enforcement officer, I learned that it's important to look at the facts as a whole. … If agencies or businesses - whoever we might be investigating - are doing a good job, I think we should let people know they're doing a good job. But if they're not, we'll take them to task.
Q: How much of a learning curve is there, and do you have to write all the grand jury reports?
A: Every grand juror helps, and a judicial secretary assists with things like setting up meetings and tours at agencies. A prosecutor and a county attorney serve as advisers to help with legal questions.
Q: What other community activities are you involved in?
A: I consult for DPREP, based out of Sacramento, on emergency preparedness for schools, law enforcement and private businesses. … I'm a Kiwanian, member of the Boys and Girls Club board and attend church in Lodi. And I'm a reserve officer, helping with a little staffing because of the budget.