Lt. Carlos Juarez: Power of purple rules at royal retirement celebration

August 10, 2011
Santa Paula Police Department

After almost 28 years, Santa Paula Police Lt. Carlos Juarez traded in his uniform for a purple T-shirt at a royal retirement party held July 22 at the Odd Fellows Lodge. More than 100 family members, friends, coworkers and band mates gathered for the dinner, many wearing Carlos’ favorite color. 

Purple, in fact, even became a star of the program moderated by Police Chief Steve MacKinnon. Billed as an “aggressively casual” event, “Fear the Purple” and the “Power of Purple” were among the sayings on shirts worn to honor Juarez by several in the crowd that included Mayor Fred Robinson and Councilmen Rick Cook and Bob Gonzales, the latter the former police chief.

MacKinnon noted an unsuccessful attempt had been made to “wean Carlos off purple... but he knows every shade of purple under the sun,” a list that starts somewhere around chartreuse and ends in the vicinity of vermillion. Purple is the color of good judgment and those who seek spiritual fulfillment, peace of mind and meditation, and amazingly is also the “number one favorite color of cops, very creative types and adolescent girls.”

In honor of Juarez’s purple passion he was presented with a long list of related items. An autographed photo of actor-founder of Michigan’s Purple Rose Theater Company Jeff Daniels, T-shirts, gift certificates and other fun things from Utah’s Purple Turtle Restaurant, Purple Extreme Lubricant for bicycle chains, and an employee signed card from the Kinney Purple Cow and Purple Café & Wine Bar were among the gifts. MacKinnon said Maryland’s Purple Moose Saloon designated July 22 as Lt. Carlos Juarez Day and sent personalized greetings to the retiree.

Purple trivia centered on origins, meanings and superstitions. MacKinnon noted a purple chip is worth $5,000 at casinos, while the fear of purple is porphyrophobia. And “Klingon blood is purple.” 

Purple prose was abandoned, but praise continued as Juarez’s career was lauded: Senior Reserve Officer Brad Tallent said when he joined the SPPD about 18 years ago Juarez was a trainer and later coordinator of the then small unit, which now numbers 32. Juarez was honored in 1997 as the California Reserve Coordinator of the Year.

Tallent, Sgt. Jimmy Fogata, Lt. Troyce Reynolds and Juarez were original members of the SPPD Special Response Team, founded about 1995. “We started as a ragtag group... and we became a real SWAT Team,” in spite of several humorous incidents that involved Juarez, which earned him a “Deaf Man Walking Award,” a permanently disabled flash bang.

Fogata said Juarez has been a friend since childhood, and he spoke of Juarez’s love for his late K9 partner Marlo.

MacKinnon continued purple facts and figures, including California’s state grass is purple needlegrass and that a certain male performance drug has a purple side effect.

Peggy Kelly presented Juarez with a tongue-in-cheek proclamation.

Don Loomer noted Juarez’s contributions to Citizens Patrol and the Citizens Academy including instruction and training. Loomer presented Juarez with a token of the group’s appreciation and invited him to become a lay member of Citizens Patrol.

A representative of District Attorney Greg Totten presented Juarez with a proclamation. 

MacKinnon noted there had been a Purple Gang in Michigan, and purple was the color of the imperial robes worn by Roman emperors. 

City Treasurer/Interim Finance Director Sandy Easley and Customer Service Representative Annette Talon gifted Juarez with a guitar stand, and K9 Handlers/Officers Larry Johnson and Scott Varner presented him with flags flown over the US Capitol and SPPD Station as well as an original badge on behalf of the unit.

MacKinnon listed songs that contain the word purple.

Sgts. Ishmael Cordero and Joey de los Reyes presented Juarez with gifts on behalf of the Santa Paula Police Officers Association and some joshing about being longtime friends and coworkers. Juarez carried keys that jangled “and,” noted Cordero, “we’d pretend we were busy on the phone when we heard him coming.”

They presented Juarez with a shadowbox containing a career’s worth of badges, patches and other symbols of his duty, as well as more flags flown above the nation’s Capitol and a proclamation on behalf of Rep. Elton Gallegly. 

SPPD Memorial Chairman Nils Rueckert, who MacKinnon said acted as “twins” with Juarez “and did a fantastic job pulling off” the creation of the monument, presented Juarez with an inscribed brick, noting, “You were a wonderful police officer... and a friend.” 

Cordero said the SPPOA also had a brick for Juarez and he, Senior Officer Hector Ramirez and Tallent gave him recognition from the Investigations Unit. 

MacKinnon noted bands and characters with purple in their names, including the immortal Barney the Dinosaur, before presenting Juarez with a recognition from Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. 

Mayor Robinson teased Juarez and said with the city’s budget problems, “The council thanks you for your contribution by retiring.... You’ve had a good run Carlos.”

Retired IT Director Becky Bolanos presented Juarez with a City Tile, and MacKinnon announced that by special order of Governor Jerry Brown Juarez would finally get the T-shirt proclaiming he had successfully undergone Taser training - and in return, gotten tased - in 2006. 

Turning serious, MacKinnon said with an “awful lot of pride” that he had not only worked with Juarez, but that he also “brought a lot to my life.... A reason Santa Paula is a spectacular place is because of Carlos Juarez.”

Juarez’s daughter Jennifer spoke of the impacts of his career on the family, including his wife Heidi and their son James, and how his retirement would bring welcome change to the household’s routine. 

Juarez thanked his “two families” - those loved ones that also include his SPPD coworkers - “from my heart.”

The evening ended with the traditional “last call” by SPPD Dispatch, outlining Juarez’s long and distinguished career.

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