Lodi Chief of Police Mark Helms told stories of officers making a record number of DUI arrests, rescuing an 11-year-old from a lake and even wrestling cows to the ground and hog-tying them to “take them into custody” at the Lodi Police Department promotions ceremony.
Family members and friends of the four veteran officers and one new dispatcher and jailer filled Carnegie Forum on Monday afternoon.
Bill Alexander was promoted to lieutenant, and Shad Canestrino, Steve Maynard and Eric Versteeg were promoted to sergeants. Dispatcher and jailer Stefani Faught was also recognized for joining the department in June.
Below is a brief synopsis of the officers’ and dispatcher’s careers:
As a 25-year veteran, Bill Alexander has a long resume of positions in the department.
He served as a patrol supervisor for 10 years and a special investigations unit supervisor for two years.
Alexander founded the cadet program and is currently the supervisor. In 2011, Alexander completed the International Leadership Program at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Before he was hired in Lodi, he worked as a reserve officer for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
Alexander graduated from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Academy and later earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency services personnel from California State University, Long Beach.
With this long list of accomplishments, Helms said there was one particular letter he found from 1993. A cow escaped from a local family, and they wrote that Alexander was one of the officers to corral, wrestle and hog-tie the cow. The family referred to him as the “cowboy cop.”
Alexander is married to Michelle and has a son and a daughter. He likes to hunt, fish and spend time at church activities in his off hours.
“I want to thank the command staff for believing in me, and I want to thank all my past friends and co-workers. A lot of them are here today and have done so much for me,” Alexander said.
After serving in the Navy and being honorably discharged in 1997, Steve Maynard joined the Lodi police force in 2001.
He has served as a firearms instructor and is an FBI-certified Hazardous Devices Technician.
In 2005, he was named Officer of the Year and was recognized for saving the life of an 11-year-old boy.
Helms said he was surprised to learn Maynard graduated from high school as the valedictorian at 16 years old, moved away from home that same day and worked two jobs to support himself.
Maynard graduated as the honor graduate from the Military Law Enforcement Academy at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
He was a military police officer at Miramar Naval Air Station and then worked as a deputy sheriff for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
He plans to return to college in 2013 to complete his bachelor’s degree.
The self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie is married to Sara, and they have one son and two step-sons. He enjoys camping in the Tahoe area, cooking and gardening.
“Every single cop, our families make tons of sacrifices. Mine is no different. I wouldn’t be where I am at right now without my wife and our extended family,” Maynard said.
Before he joined the Lodi Police Department, Shad Canestrino worked as an auto mechanic and an auto repair teacher.
He began his police career by enrolling in Lodi’s reserve program, where he was hired full-time 15 years ago. The Tokay High School graduate has worked as a school resource officer, a bicycle officer and on patrol.
Canestrino has been a lead instructor for the Lodi Unified School District Administration of Justice program and mentored dozens of students on law enforcement-related Senior Projects. In one, he helped a student restore a California Highway Patrol Camaro.
Canestrino was named an Officer of the Year in 2011 and earned the Cromwell Award in 2010.
He is married to his wife, Sundey, and they have two children. He enjoys attending his kids’ swim meets, baseball games and gymnastics competitions.
Helms said he wonders how Canestrino finds time to spend at home with all of his volunteer projects.
“He is so involved with the community and the department,” Helms said. “He is definitely a high-speed, low-drag kind of guy.”
Canestrino thanked the command staff for the promotion. He also thanked his family.
“As everyone who is in a law enforcement career knows, those are the people who have to put up with our jobs and the long hours and the difficult work shifts sometimes,” Canestrino said.
Nine years ago, Eric Versteeg started working for Lodi Police as a dispatcher and jailer.
After three years, he became an officer and has since worked as a field evidence technician, an auxiliary bicycle officer and on the SWAT team.
Before joining Lodi PD he was a volunteer firefighter for the Linden-Peters Fire Department and a public safety officer at Mills College in Oakland.
Versteeg majored in political science at UC Davis. He also attended the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Academy, and completed the San Joaquin County Core Correctional Officer course, where he graduated with honors in leadership.
In 2010, he was honored with the Cromwell Award. For the last six years, he has also received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving award for his DUI arrests.
Versteeg was recently part of a gang suppression operation, and a citizen wrote a letter thanking him for going out of his way to return her stolen property, Helms said.
Versteeg is married to his wife, Marie, and they have two children. He enjoys reading, hiking, and camping. The volunteer Boy Scout Troop leader also describes himself as his daughter’s biggest fan in her ballet class.
He thanked his family and recounted meeting with Helms before the promotion ceremony.
Helms said, “You don’t show very much emotion, do you?”
In front of the crowd, Versteeg said, “I’m excited, chief.”
As a Lodi High School graduate, Faught was excited to get a job in Lodi after previously working for the city of Stockton and the University of the Pacific as a dispatcher.
Her father, retired Lodi firefighter Mike Faught, pinned her badge.
Her hobbies include spending time with friends and family, going to the gym and scrapbooking.
“I just want to say I’m really excited to be here in Lodi. I was born and raised here,” she said.