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New Hires Help Bolster Police Department
1203 New Hires
Oakdale City Clerk Kathy Teixeira swears in police new hires (from left) Dispatcher Valerie Borras, Police Officer Samuel Gallego, and Dispatcher Janeen Yates at Mondays city council meeting. RICHARD PALOMA/The Leader

The addition of one new police officer and two dispatchers joined the ranks of the Oakdale Police Department in November, as the depleted agency strives to add personnel lost to injuries, departures and other vacancies.

On Monday, Dec 1, Police Chief Lester Jenkins introduced the new crew to the Oakdale City Council, swearing in the new employees and presenting their badges.

The new appointees include Officer Samuel Gallego and Dispatchers Janeen Yates and Valerie Borras.

Gallego, 25, was hired Nov. 5 and has already started his 13-week long field training. He completed the South Bay Regional Police Academy in San Jose last August.

Gallego, who graduated from Escalon High School in 2007, spent five years in the Army’s Military Police Corps where he had assignments including executive protection for generals and liaison with the U.S. Secret Service for Presidential protection.

Gallego said he chose Oakdale for its sense of being a tight-knit community.

“I like the feel here,” Gallego said on Monday before his badge pinning in front of the city council. “The officers are connected like a brotherhood. I missed that from the Army.”

Gallego’s father, Manteca Police Officer Sam Gallego, was also on hand to view the swearing in of his son.

“I’m very proud of him,” the senior Gallego stated. “He’s a good kid. He’ll do very well here.”

“Sam always wanted to be a policeman,” Gallego’s mother, Shirlee, chimed in.

In addition to the officer position, the department hired two new dispatchers to help with the needed responsibilities from taking on police dispatch services for the City of Newman starting next year.

Yates, 28, began her telecommunication training period on Oct. 14 and Borras started on Nov. 12.

Jenkins said both dispatchers will undergo a three month in-house training period before completing a state mandated one-month dispatcher academy within their first year of service.

“Hiring these two new dispatchers came entirely from picking up the Newman contract,” Jenkins said. “We are still pending the hiring of an additional records clerk and dispatch supervisor as a result of that agreement.”

Yates previously worked for the Pleasanton Police Department as a records clerk.

“I wanted to be closer to home,” said Yates, who is from Riverbank, on why she joined Oakdale PD. “My drive now is only 10 minutes. Shift work isn’t going to make a difference.”

Yates’ family was also on hand including her stepfather California Highway Patrol Officer Rick Horrocks.

Borras said coming to Oakdale was a series of choices. Her husband is a deputy sheriff for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office and she previously worked at Foster Farms as a security dispatcher.

The department still has a police sergeant out on injury and according to Jenkins, is still working on bringing additional personnel aboard.