The Lodi Police Department has been marked by frequent change and turnover in recent weeks. Decades more experience is leaving the department as its second-in-command, Capt. J.P. Badel, retires after 29 years in law enforcement.
“He has seen every piece of this police department,” Police Chief Mark Helms said during a retirement ceremony Thursday at the Lodi Police Department.
During his 26 years with Lodi PD, Badel has worked every assignment as either a line officer, supervisor or manager.
Badel began his career as a reserve officer with Stockton Police Department in 1984, and then became a full-time officer with the University of Pacific in 1986.
In 1987, Badel moved to Lodi’s department, where he trained 26 officers as a field-training officer. He then spent four years as a detective, working child abuse, sexual assault, burglary and narcotics cases.
Badel worked as a patrol and traffic sergeant, and was later promoted to lieutenant, where he served as a watch commander, district commander and technical services commander.
In 2008, Badel was promoted to captain, where he is currently the operations division commander.
While with Lodi PD, he also served on the Major Accident Investigation Team and Hostage Negotiation Team. He was in charge of bicycle patrol, the K9 Unit, traffic and recruitment.
Badel was also heavily involved in the community.
“One of the things about J.P. and his career that sets him apart from many people ... is his affiliations with other organizations — both professional organizations and in the community,” Helms said.
He was a board member and past president of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, as well as the 1st Tee of San Joaquin. He served as department liaison for Special Olympics of California.
Badel is a member of the California Police Chiefs Association, California Peace Officers Association, the Gov. Schwarzenegger Public Safety Medal of Valor Review Board and other organizations.
Badel recently answered a series of questions for News-Sentinel reporter Kristopher Anderson.
What are your plans for retirement?
I’m going to teach classes at (San Joaquin Delta College) and Humphreys College. And if law enforcement agencies need someone to do workplace misconduct investigation, then I’ll do that.
Why did you want to become a police officer?
When I was young, I had some influence from my sister’s husband, who was a deputy sheriff in Sonoma County. I went on some ride-alongs and got hooked on it.
I love the excitement of law enforcement. I like the sense of being out in the community. You’re in a career where every day is different.
What were your favorite assignments?
The two that I think of the most were the time when I was a training officer because I trained 26 people. That’s your opportunity to really help mold the department. You’re helping mold the future of the department by training and socializing young, new, impressionable officers. You’re really teaching them how to be a police officers here in Lodi.
The other time in my career that I take a great deal of pride in is my time with the Honor Guard. I spent 14 years with the Honor Guard as an officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. We really put ourselves on the map in California as one of the premier honor guard units. We were recognized all the time as far as our appearance and command presence. And it was important for me to pay honor and respect to police officers and deputy sheriffs who were killed in the line of duty — and not just them, but their families as well.
How would you describe the Lodi Police Department?
It’s changed drastically. When I started here, we didn’t have computers in the cars. We used shotguns, and now we have AR-15s.
The society has changed. We’re dealing with a different type of criminal out there now. Some of the criminals don’t have any fear of going to prison. That can be more dangerous for police officers.
In my opinion, the realignment has had a huge impact, not just on Lodi, but communities across the state of California. There are criminals who are walking around on the streets who should be locked up. It’s more dangerous for police officers now.
Some of these people don’t have any fear of going back to jail because they know their time is going to be limited. It seems like we’re dealing with parolees on a daily basis.
How would you describe the Lodi Police Department?
This organization has always prided itself on service. If a citizen picks up a phone and wants a police officer, they’re going to get one. That’s something you don’t find in many organizations. We’ve always prided ourselves in service. That has never changed. Even with reduction in staffing, we’ve still provided that same level of service.
Our organization has always been looked at as a family. When times get tough here, people band together. With my involvement in CPOA over the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of law enforcement agencies across the state of California. I’ve listened to some of the trials and tribulations those agencies have to deal with, and this is an outstanding organization.
What are your favorite memories of your career?
One of the funniest things I remember is when President Bush was the governor of Texas and came through Lodi on a campaign. Lt. Steve Carrilo and I did his motorcade. We took him out Lodi Avenue and Highway 12 and Interstate 5. I remember going down Turner Road, and he was with Sen. John McCain. And I remember (Bush) waving at us. It was a lot of fun.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at email@example.com.