Fillmore Police Brotherhood dedicates plaque to those who served 1925-1987

July 26, 2019

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times Published July 26, 2019

About 140 police officers, administrators and their supporters from throughout the Santa Clara River Valley and beyond gathered in Fillmore Saturday to honor their own.

Retired Santa Paula Police Chief Walt Adair was a featured speaker at the July 20 Fillmore Police Brotherhood Plaque Dedication Ceremony.

The plaque unveiled at Fillmore City Hall “is honoring over 62 years of service to the citizens of Fillmore by Fillmore Police Department officers and dispatchers,” who served from 1925 to 1987, said Duke Bradbury, vice president and a founding member of the brotherhood,

Bradbury said that, up until the late 1970s, “The majority of police employees were citizens of Fillmore and the surrounding area, city of Santa Paula and the Piru community. We hope this plaque will keep the spirit of community law enforcement alive. Now, the families of these brave and dedicated individuals can visit Fillmore City Hall and see their loved ones honored for decades to come.”

It was 1987 when the city of Fillmore decided to contract law enforcement services through the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office due to stated staffing issues and budget concerns.

Since then, Bradbury said the Sheriff’s Office has “provided outstanding service that continues to make Fillmore a very safe city.”

Current Fillmore Police Chief Eric Tennessen helped plan the event and acted as its master of ceremonies.

The Fillmore Police Brotherhood started in 2014 when three retired Fillmore police officers who had been meeting once a month for lunch soon realized “we were running out of stories,” and, said Bradbury, decided to ask other local officers to join them. 

That included those from other local agencies, including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Paula Police Department. 

“In many instances, they had worked alongside us and we now have members representing almost every agency in Ventura County,” and now several helped organize the plaque ceremony, Bradbury said.

He noted that many who served the Fillmore Police Department “are from our own community,” including dispatchers, “our lifeline that sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. They are a big part of our group today.”

He credited “one trouble-maker, Senior Deputy Elmo Sheeran,” for not only naming the organization, but also introducing the idea of a plaque to other members of the brotherhood.

Along with Adair, other featured speakers were former Fillmore Chief of Police VCSO Capt. (Ret.) Dick Diaz and Fillmore Mayor Pro Tem Tim Holmgran. 

There was also a special presentation honoring two former Fillmore police officers who left to continue their law enforcement careers with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Both continued to live in Fillmore. Hank Carrillo retired at the rank of lieutenant and Larry Carpenter served as the Ventura County sheriff for several years.

Bradbury said the Fillmore Police Department has a proud legacy with five former officers receiving the “The Medal Of Valor,” the highest honor awarded to officers for heroism in saving a human life.

Guests at the plaque dedication included Fillmore City Councilman Manuel Minjares who was also representing Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long; Santa Paula Councilman Carlos Juarez, a retired Santa Paula police lieutenant; Santa Paula Police Department Chief Steve McLean; retired SPPD Chief Bob Gonzales and retired SPPD Sgt. Jimmy Fogata.

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