New police chief Ralph Ornelas is sworn in

RALPH ORNELAS is sworn in as Westminster’s new police chief by Judge Lori Ann Fournier.
(Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC)

By Jessica Peralta

Members of the law enforcement community and their families gathered together Wednesday, March 29 at the Westminster Rose Center for the swearing-in ceremony of new police Chief Ralph Ornelas.

In addition to the Westminster Police Department, other agencies represented were La Habra, Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where Ornelas spent his law enforcement career prior to coming to WPD.

Ornelas, smiling and shaking hands with old friends and new before the ceremony, commented on seeing all the “tan and green,” referring to the LASD uniforms.

Chaplain Robert Benoun began the ceremony with an invocation, followed by a bagpipe-accompanied presentation of colors by the Westminster Police Honor Guard and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Commander Cameron Knauerhaze acknowledged some dignitaries in attendance, including Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep, councilmembers Sergio Contreras, Kimberly Ho and Margie Rice, and City Manager Eddie Manfro. Sitting alongside Ornelas was his family – his wife, Susan, daughter, Kristin, son, Gabriel and aunt, Robin.

“Tonight’s ceremony means much more than just gaining a new police chief … after working with Chief Ornelas for a few weeks now, I know in my heart that we are gaining a leader, a coach, a mentor and a passionate individual that cares about our employees and our community,” said Knauerhaze.

The new chief spoke of the importance of strength, ethics, honor and courage in the work they do in law enforcement, and of his goal of growing community policing efforts at WPD.

“Thank you for your warm welcome and I look forward to serving you every day,” Ornelas said.

For more on news, issues and activities of local law enforcement, go to http://www.behindthebadgeoc.com .


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