Leadership Santa Maria Valley Learns About Public Safety and Justice

“Who knows what Diversion is?” It was the very first question of our Public Safety and Justice topic day on Friday, June 4th 2021 and none of us knew the answer.

Deputy District Attorney John Savrnoch was able to share with the 20 leadership members in the room how the district attorney's office plays a huge role in triaging and guiding those who have committed crimes into diversion programs that are meant to help guide them in a positive and healing direction. “It’s a complicated web. But I enjoy every minute of it, especially if it just helps one person...that means its working.”

Following Mr. Savrnoch, Commander Jack Dunn III, from the Santa Maria Police Department talked to the Leadership class about the history of the department and what the future looks like under the new Police Chief, Mark Schneider. Commander Dunn, a graduate of the Leadership program himself, shared the importance of building leadership skills and how their department continues to train their personnel in both job skills and personal leadership skills.

Next on the agenda SWAT team leader Nate T. provided a VIP tour and presentation. Fellow squad members assisted him in showing off the best of the best protection gear they use. Nate explained to us the ins and outs of a call out in the field. We all listened as he walked us through strategies and response protocols the team is responsible for when they're on the job. We really enjoyed it when they showed us some of their startle and distract tactics which included bright light explosives and smoke canisters. One unforgettable part of the day was the tour of their heavy-duty, bulletproof Humvee, with all the bells and whistles.

The last stop of the day was a visit to Fire Station #1. Chief Todd Tuggle gave a presentation on the variety of duties and responsibilities of a Fire Fighter. We learned about the Santa Maria Fire Department and some of the challenges they face. After answering our questions, Chief Tuggle took us outside to see their largest fire truck and they demonstrated how they would do a rescue using their extended ladder, a basket, and one of our brave class members. She had quite a ride!

Our class members were extremely grateful for the education and here is some of their feedback. “Great topic day, one of the best!” “10 out of 10!.” “The flash-bang demo and fire truck demo were the best.” Another truly hit it right on the head, “It was great being able to see each other in person and come together to learn more about our community and the leaders within.”

We want to thank Diane Alleman-Stevens for breakfast and Community Bank of Santa Maria for the great lunch! Thank you also to the men and women of the Police and Fire Departments for making Santa Maria a better and safer community.