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New police officers sworn in at city council meeting

The city of Claremont welcomed five new members to its law enforcement staff as four police officers and one jailer were sworn in during a badge pinning ceremony at the city council meeting held Tuesday.

With a full council chamber, Police Chief Paul Cooper stood before city council, residents and police families as he introduced the Claremont Police Department’s five newest employees.

Zachary Martin, jailer

A Rancho Cucamonga native, Mr. Martin received his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Chaffey College and is currently attending California State University San Bernardino, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He’s a former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Explorer and has worked as a public safety officer for the Montclair Plaza. For the past year, Mr. Martin has been a police aide with the Claremont Police Department. His mother Gayle pinned on his badge.

Ben Alba, police officer

Officer Alba began his career with Claremont police in 2005 when he was hired as a police aide. In September 2014, he became a reserve officer with the Claremont Police Department. While working as a jailer, Mr. Alba attended the Orange County Sheriff Reserve Academy for almost a year. He’s received the same training as a full-time officer. The program allows a person to graduate and be a reserve officer if they want to move into a full-time position and not have to go back to the academy. He’s completed almost half of the field-training program while working as a jailer, and has successfully transitioned into an officer position. Mr. Alba’s girlfriend Allison pinned on his badge.

Savannah Thompson, police officer

Officer Thompson graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with an emphasis in criminology. She also recently completed 23 weeks of intensive training at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy. Ms. Thompson’s mother Vikki pinned on her badge. 

Matt Morales, police officer

Officer Morales received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology from California State University Northridge. He completed 23 weeks of intensive training at the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Academy and recently became engaged. Mr. Morales’ father Frank pinned on his badge.

Rick Hawkins II, police officer

Officer Hawkins attended Cal State San Bernardino and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He worked as an investigator for the Department of Motor Vehicles for five years before coming to Claremont. Mr. Hawkins just completed 23 weeks of intensive training at the San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Department. His young sons, Ethan and Eric, did the honor of pinning his badge.  

Following introductions, the officers and jailer took a stance before their chief and recited their oath of office.

—Angela Bailey

news@claremont-courier.com