By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
OPD Retires Three
IMG 8345
Pictured Sgt. Julio Rosa, dispatcher Kathy Manriquez, and Cpl. Nick McKinnon with their retirement plaques. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader
Saying goodbye is always hard, but particularly so when you’re saying it to people who are less like coworkers and more like family.
That was the sentiment expressed by all three Oakdale Police Department employees who were recently feted at a retirement luncheon as they said their goodbyes to a department that was as much a part of themselves as their own flesh and blood — and in some cases — possibly more so.
The potluck luncheon was held Wednesday, July 6 at the community center where Cpl. Nick McKinnon, Sgt. Julio Rosa, and long-time dispatcher Kathy Manriquez were not only celebrated for their collective time with the department, but roasted too.
Oh, yes. All in good fun, of course, but when a person spends as much time as these people have together, there’s bound to be stories. And it was open season on the good stuff.
Actually, the truly good stuff wasn’t family-friendly, but there was plenty of laughs to offset the tears.
“This department is the one missing out with their retirements,” Sgt. Darren Semore said.
John Richards, retired long-time dispatch supervisor, offered a bit of advice to the newly retired, saying, “Find something to do. The first couple of months could get a little weird.”
First to be recognized was the perennially camera-shy Sgt. Julio Rosa. With 35 years total (with four spent with the Waterford Police Department), Rosa was the voice of experience when dealing with new officers and a tough range master.
“Julio was an outstanding sergeant with a high level of integrity and always responsible,” Police chief Marty West shared.
“Julio was always in the fight, always engaged and we appreciated that,” Det. Brian Shimmel said of working with Rosa.
Long-time friend retired sergeant Vernon Gladney choked up a bit when he presented his good friend with a special rifle Rosa had always wanted.
“You’ve always been there for me,” Gladney said. “You’re like a brother to me.”
Rosa, humbled by the stories and the show of camaraderie, said, “I’m not a man of many words. I never have been and I never will be. I won’t miss the job but I’ll miss the people.”
The Oakdale Police Officer’s Association presented Rosa with a rifle.
Nick McKinnon, an officer with 28 years under his belt, was up next and with his customary Cheshire cat grin and you almost have to wonder what he’s been up to but it was evident by the stories that McKinnon touched a lot of lives — and gave out a lot of traffic citations.
“He’s excellent when it comes to traffic,” West said. “He’s done a lot for the community and he’s done an exceptional job.”
Former Oakdale police officer and current Turlock officer Tim Redd shared a McKinnon story that is nearly a county legend. As Redd told it, McKinnon was in hot pursuit of a suspect but his squad car was running low on gas. He instructed another officer to meet him at a specific location — the other officer was thinking it must’ve been some kind of strategic move to box in the suspect – but the officer soon discovered McKinnon simply wanted to switch cars so he could continue the pursuit.
McKinnon grinned as the story was told, reveling in his infamy but when it came time to speak, McKinnon’s eyes watered.
“There have been good times and bad times and family spats but we made it through,” McKinnon said, adding that he’d been through 10 chiefs during his tenure but owed a major debt to former Oakdale Chief Dave Sundy, who actually attended the luncheon as well. “I’m going to miss working with all of you.”
McKinnon plans to return in a reserve capacity to the department that’s become his second family.
Last, but not least, Kathy Manriquez reluctantly took her place at the front of the assembled group but she needn’t have worried. Nothing but affection flowed toward this lady who, in spite of her diminutive size, could keep an entire department of burly, bull-headed, and oft-times stubborn officers easily in line. How? Well to hear Shimmel tell it, “We were all scared of her.” After the laughter died down, Shimmel continued saying, “This is our voice of reason on the radio. She was always watching our backs. It takes a lot of dedication to sit in that chair for 12 hours.”
West agreed, saying, “It’s a thankless job and Kathy is the most pleasant person in the world. She was an asset to the department.”
Sgt. Semore said of Manriquez’ most unique talent, “She can cut you down but then you’ll thank her for it! But seriously, she’s the calm voice in chaos.”
Manriquez was a young dispatcher on the Chowchilla bus incident in 1976 that horrified a nation when a busload of 26 children were buried in a quarry. The incident made national headlines and spawned a movie of the event.
“I bet you all didn’t know we had a celebrity in our midst,” Shimmel said.
Manriquez, not one for the spotlight, was short and sweet with her parting comments.
“Thank you all for the help you’ve given me. I can’t name everyone, but thank you.”