The Newport Beach Police Department held the first post-pandemic live swearing-in on Tuesday, Aug. 30, reestablishing a longstanding tradition of formally welcoming new hires into positions of public service in the city.
For the last two and a half years, hiring by the department continued without the benefit of a ceremony which is an important recognition event for new employees, their families, and the department as a whole.
Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis presided over Tuesday’s event with his usual good cheer and wit, quipping that the donuts at the celebration were “crime-fighting energy biscuits.”
Chief Lewis opened by stating that “The greatest strength of the department is the people who wear the uniform. Their character, their intelligence, and their sense of service – these are the things that define who we are at the NBPD. We are a team, with a shared vision for how we bring leadership, innovation, and unparalleled service to this community.”
Recognized employees included Andrew Quickle, part-time community services officer; Alyson Gibb and Jennifer Lee, community services officers; Arely Valadez, part-time dispatcher; Zoey Henry, dispatcher; Jared Edwards and Matthew Wong, police officers; and Kyle Harman, lateral police officer.
It is interesting to note that six of the eight in the promoted group are home-grown, born and raised in Southern California. The two exceptions are Andrew Quickle, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine and raised by his adopted family in Southern California, and Jared Edwards, who was born in Englewood, Colorado and came to Southern California to attend college at UCI after serving eight years in the Marines, including two combat deployments to Afghanistan.
Two of the promoted officers have deep roots in the Newport Beach Police Department. Andrew Quickle’s wife Cherise is a community services officer, and his mother-in-law, Erica Bloom, worked with the NBPD for over 30 years. His cousin, Sean Nearhoof, is also a Newport Beach police officer.
Zoey Henry’s father Rick is a retired Newport Beach police detective and has the prominent distinction of being the former partner of Chief Lewis. In addition, both of Zoey’s grandfathers worked at the Los Angeles Police Department.
Others in the promoted group have similar ties to law enforcement and public service. Alyson Gibb began her law enforcement career with the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles International Airport, where she worked for four years. Jennifer Lee’s husband Jeff is the Chaplain for the Costa Mesa Police Department. As a student, Arely Valdez worked for the California State University, Dominguez Hills police department and later worked at Orange Coast College as a public safety dispatcher. Kyle Harman’s dad Craig is a retired Sergeant from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. During college, Matt Wong worked for the U.S. Department of State as an intern.
Chief Lewis poignantly advised the group of new hires “You will find your greatest impact in the small moments. When you connect with someone who is at their most vulnerable and, out of all the world, you are the person who extends a hand to lift them up. That is our calling. When our fellow man is in need, we are there to help.”