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Two Lodi police officers promoted in special ceremony

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Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:05 am, Sat Apr 14, 2012.

From answering phone calls late at night, to breaking down a door to bust a narcotics ring, to helping to escort dignitaries throughout town, Tod Patterson and Chris Jacobson have done it all.

Friday marked a "special day" for the two officers and for the Lodi Police Department, as Chief Mark Helms put it.

Patterson and Jacobson, two of Lodi's finest, were promoted in front of dozens of family members and friends. Patterson was promoted from lieutenant to captain, and Jacobson was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant.

"These men have worked long and hard, and they deserve (these promotions)," Helms said.

And while each man had something to say, both focused on thanking first and foremost their families, who they said had stood by them throughout their careers and weathered the long work days with them.

"Seriously, you are my everything," Patterson said. "Thank you."

Jacobson thanked nearly each and every person who attended the ceremony for him that day, and even joked a bit when his daughter, Charlie, took some time to pin on his badge.

"Is there a time limit with this?" he asked. "We didn't practice this at home."

Capt. Tod Patterson

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. As a police officer, that is what Tod Patterson is all about.

It is how he works, and it is how he lives his life. It is what has made him a well-regarded officer in the community.

"Not everyone is a punk," he said. "If you treat them with respect, they remember that. I have had people come to me years after I arrested them, and sometimes even put them in prison, thanking me for treating them like a human being."

But Patterson did not want to be a police officer his whole life.

In fact, he was a sports star in Rio Vista, where he grew up prior to joining the police force.

He played all manner of sports — baseball, football, etc. After graduating from Rio Vista High School, Patterson continued to play football when he attended junior college in Rocklin.

His athleticism did not stop there. He eventually won a football scholarship to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

But he soon realized that while he loved football, he just did not want to play it much anymore.

"And let's face it: New Mexico is not California," he said.

Patterson headed back home, where he said his father, who was a police officer in Rio Vista, said his son had only one real option — work.

So Patterson took on the family tradition and joined the police academy.

After graduation, he got a job with the Solano County Sheriff's Office, working in the jails before once again heading back to Rio Vista to work as a patrol officer with the police department in his hometown.

His father, Lee Patterson, migrated over to Lodi to work for the police department, and soon a position opened up in the department.

Patterson applied and was hired in 1990.

During his time with the Lodi Police Department, Patterson has done everything, literally.

He has gained notoriety for working in every sector in the department, from bicycle patrol to watch commander.

"I'm a pretty big guy, so it was interesting to see me on a bike," he said.

Patterson is known among his colleagues as being able to get things done, including at one point training 14 officers in just 22 months.

He has also written a couple city ordinances to make sure that things such as public urination are no longer allowed.

"A few years ago, a guy could have just gone right in a bush and we couldn't have done anything about it," he said. "It was that kind of thing that just killed me."

As a captain, Patterson's duties fall under Chief Helms' direction. As Helms put it, Patterson's position puts him as second-in-command.

Patterson's promotion fills a position that had been vacant for two years, and Helms said Patterson is very welcome on the executive team of the police department.

"I am honored to be standing up here," Patterson said at the promotion ceremony Friday.

Lt. Chris Jacobson

"Miami Vice." "Magnum P.I." "Hawaii 5-0."

It was these shows that had Chris Jacobson hooked on wanting to be a police officer from an early age.

But Jacobson initially chose a different path — architecture.

"I used to start drawing the lines, and make a few measurements and then after a couple of minutes I would get distracted and before you knew it, I was up walking around," he said.

Growing up in Galt, Jacobson graduated from Galt High School, and like Patterson was also a sports star.

He headed to San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, where he played football for a season, and worked towards trying to become an architect.

But then one day, a friend asked of him a strange request.

His friend's uncle worked for the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, and they were hiring. To get into the police academy, however, his friend needed to take a written exam.

And Jacobson's friend did not want to take the test alone.

So, Jacobson thought, why not?

Jacobson's friend did not pass the exam Jacobson did.

He enrolled in the academy and after graduation and started working with the Galt Police Department as a dispatcher.

Less than a year later, Jacobson was offered a job with the sheriff's office, but he really wanted to work with the Lodi Police Department.

And just three weeks before he was set to start at the sheriff's office, he got a call. There was an opening with the Lodi department, and if he could complete his background check in the next few weeks, the job was his.

"They asked me if I would take the job if we got everything done in time, and I really wanted it," he said. "And we made it happen."

In January 1989, and still in his early 20s, Jacobson became a Lodi police officer.

In his 23 years with the department, Jacobson has also participated in numerous areas within the department.

He is close friends with Patterson, who joined a year after him, and they both worked on the narcotics unit together.

Jacobson also joined the SWAT team, becoming one of its snipers. He also worked as a K-9 officer and still helps with training.

Four years ago, Jacobson joined the traffic unit after no one applied for a vacant spot.

Being a part of the traffic unit meant learning to ride a motorcycle. And while Jacobson had ridden a street motorcycle for years, he was not prepared for the department's motorcycles, saying he "ate humble pie" almost every day while training.

In his role as lieutenant, Jacobson will stay on the traffic unit. He will continue to apply for grants used for events like DUI checkpoints as well as work on patrol.

"I am nervous about this (promotion)," Jacobson said at the ceremony Friday. "But I honestly must thank everyone here, especially my wife and daughter. We (at the police department) do a lot, work a lot of hours, and you have always been there. Thank you so much."

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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