Antioch adds six more officers to depleted police force

Six new Antioch Police Officers received their oaths of office administered by Captain Tony Morefield during a ceremony as family and others watch on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Oath of office ceremony held Tuesday; brings staffing to 101 sworn; incentive program wasn’t a factor in recruitment

“I guarantee the people of Antioch that these six officers are what they expect law enforcement officers to be. Caring, compassionate, humble and professional.” – Academy Trainer Robert McManus

By Allen D. Payton

During an oath of office ceremony at the Antioch Police Facility on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, six new officers were sworn in. Four of the officers had their badges pinned by their wives, while one was pinned by his sister, and another had his pinned by an APD lieutenant. The ceremony was held in the department’s Community Room as family, friends, fellow APD officers and staff, and District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock looked on.

The additions bring the current force to 101 sworn officers out of 115 in the budget. However, there are 31 officers on leave mostly due to the two investigations. The new officers will soon be fully ready to help protect the city once they complete their field training.

“This is the largest group of officers we’ve ever sworn in at the same time,” said Acting Chief Joe Vigil who read their bios as each one was introduced. He later said, “Very proud of these guys. A majority of these guys started with us three or four months before the academy, building the foundation, learning report writing, legal statutes, plus, physical training to face the rigors of the academy. Some of these guys have been with us in a training capacity for nine months. We’ve been stressing how this department will look and how this group is different in training, influencing and giving them the tools during a very trying time of policing. This group has been all about us from the beginning and they are dedicated to us and the city. That’s what will make them tremendous officers.”

New APD Officer Kyle Armstrong is pinned with his badge by his wife Britney.

Officer Kyle Armstrong was pinned with his badge by his wife Britney.

“Kyle was born in Fremont and graduated from Freedom high school. At Freedom high school, he played and excelled in golf lettering all four years and played in the state qualifier in 2004 to 2006,” Vigil shared. “He enlisted in the army in 2010 and spent 10 years as a Sergeant for communications units. His postings include Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Camp Parks, California to include two deployments, one in Iraq, and one in Somalia. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Britney, and his four kids, Kayden 11, Peyton 9, Everly 2 and Tucker 2 months. He also enjoys golfing and camping with his friends and family. 

Fun fact: Kyle directly supported a Two-Star General while attached to Joint Operations in Africa.”

New APD Officer Najee Bailey with his wife Deborah after she pinned his badge to his uniform.

Officer Najee Bailey was pinned by his wife Deborah.

Vigil shared, “Najee was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Wheeler high school. At WHS, Najee excelled in basketball and was a part of the state championship team in 2010. He then began his education at Oakton community college on a partial scholarship for his academics. In his free time, Najee enjoys the sport of bodybuilding. He competed in his first competition in September 2021 and took second place. Najee was employed by the Department of State for the last five years as a diplomatic officer. Now she is looking forward to being a part of the Antioch PD family. 

Fun fact: Najee plans to earn his bodybuilding pro card while serving as a public servant.”

Bailey later shared that he worked for the State Department in San Francisco.

New APD Officer Bryan Cruz Guzman is pinned with his badge by his sister Ariana Cruz.

Officer Bryan Cruz Guzman was pinned by his sister Ariana Cruz.

“Bryan was born in Berkeley and was raised in Richmond. He later moved to Antioch, and currently still lives here. He graduated from freedom high school in Oakley, California,” Vigil said. “While in high school, he played soccer as a goalkeeper. While being a goalkeeper, he was able to play against very high-level teams and compete with colleges all around the bay area. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and working out.

Fun fact: Bryan enjoys singing Hispanic music with his father Juan.”

New APD Officer Joshua Pachan’s wife Kimberly pins his badge to his uniform.

Officer Joshua Pachan was pinned by his wife Kimberly.

Vigil shared, “Josh was born and raised in Pittsburg and graduated from Riverside High School. After high school, he enrolled in WyoTech and worked for Mike’s auto body for the last nine years. Josh has been married to his wonderful wife Kimberly for 15 years. Josh is a proud Antioch resident and looks forward to serving the community he lives in. In his free time, Josh enjoys hiking, shooting, and watching sports.

Fun fact: Josh’s great grandfather was a Constable for the city of Pittsburg.”

New APD Officer Justin Posey is pinned with his badge by his wife Kasie.

Officer Justin Posey was pinned by his wife Kasie.

“Justin was born and raised in Martinez and graduated from Briones Valley independent study,” Vigil said. “He grew up racing motorcycles and raced professionally for numerous years. For the past 16 years, Justin has worked for Drill Tech as a project manager. Justin is married to his wonderful wife, Kasie, and they have two children, Olivia, 5 and Jett 3. In his free time, he enjoys working out, shooting and working on motorcycles.

Fun fact: Justin’s nickname is J-PO.”

New APD Officer Starzyk is pinned with his badge by Sgt. Bledsoe during Tuesday’s ceremony.

Officer Vincent Starzyk was pinned by Sgt. Lauren Bledsoe who said about the new recruit, “He got the overall top performance award for his academy.”

According to Vigil, “Vincent was born and raised in Antioch and graduated from Deer Valley High School. At DVHS, Vincent excelled in wrestling and was offered the chance to wrestle internationally and in the United States world team. He declined the offer to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer. In his free time, he likes to play video games, shoot guns, work out, and ride his motorcycles. Vincent‘s mom, Shannon is the Director of the Family Justice Center in Antioch, and was a deputy sheriff for 12 years. Vincent’s dad Paul was a police officer for the city of Pleasant Hill. He eventually lateraled to the city of Martinez and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Sergeant Starzyk tragically lost his life in the line of duty on September 6, 2008. Vincent wants to pursue a career as a Police Officer to continue the legacy of his parents. 

Fun fact: Vincent was a rescue diver from middle school to high school.”

Acting City Manager Kwame Reed, who attended the ceremony, offered his thoughts on the new hires.

“This is very exciting to see six new officers join our Antioch Police Department,” he said. “Seeing the enthusiasm on their faces made me feel really good. I’m looking forward to when they hit the streets and add to our numbers. I look forward to seeing more recruits in the near future.”

“Great group of officers,” Bledsoe, Vice President of the Antioch Police Officers’ Association simply said following the ceremony.

Five of the six new officers were asked if the hiring incentive program was part of their decision to join APD.

Armstrong said, “No. I wouldn’t say so. I grew up in the area and wanted to work somewhere close. I had people tell me I should consider other agencies. But I met a lot of people here. I didn’t get the impression that something bad was going on. The people that are in-house are good. The opportunity for that to be seen will be good.”

Pachan replied, “I didn’t even know of it when I first applied. I’d been thinking of applying specifically with Antioch.”

“We’re part of the community so we want to make the community better,” his wife Kimberly added.

“No. I didn’t even know it was in effect,” said Posey. “One of my best friends works here. That was my deciding factor.”

To the same question Cruz Guzman said, “No sir. I was raised here in Antioch. So it’s my own city. The city means more to me than most people. That’s the reason I came here.”

Starzyk also said, “No. You know I’ve always had a deep love for Antioch. It was pretty much the only department I was considering. I applied to the Sheriff’s Department, but Antioch was screaming to me. I have this love for Antioch and its people.”

Asked how many were in the academy, he said, “We started out with 63 and finished with 49 in his class.”

Six new Antioch Police Officers: (L-R) Kyle Armstrong, Najee Bailey, Bryan Cruz Guzman, Joshua Pachan, Justin Posey and Vincent Starzyk following their oaths of office and badge pinning ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.

Robert McManus, a retired San Leandro Police lieutenant and currently an instructor with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Academy, who also attended the ceremony at the request of Starzyk, spoke highly of the recruits.

“I had the pleasure of being involved throughout the 28-week academy in training the next generation of Antioch’s law enforcement officers,” McManus stated. “I guarantee the people of Antioch that these six officers are what they expect law enforcement officers to be. Caring, compassionate, humble and professional. They will exceed Antioch’s expectations.”

Regarding the incentive program, Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who did not attend the ceremony, said later, “It has increased the pool of candidates. It wasn’t created to recruit officers. We weren’t attracting candidates. But interest went up. It doesn’t mean every candidate will qualify or want to participate in our department. People don’t become officers because of an incentive program.”

“We’re trying to provide the department with as many tools as possible,” he continued. “I think the changes and reforms we’ve made have attracted candidates. We get new officers. We don’t get many laterals. I believe we’re attracting new officers who are embracing the changes.”

“I’m just excited that our recruiting efforts are working, and I look forward to officially welcoming these officers at a council meeting in the near future,” Thorpe added.

the attachments to this post:

Six new APD officers 092623

New APD officers oath by Morefield 092623

APD Officer Starzyk pinned by Sgt. Bledsoe 092623

APD Officer Posey pinned by wife 092623

APD Officer Pachan pinned by his wife 092623

APD Officer Najee Bailey pinned by wife 092623

APD Officer Kyle Armstrong pinned by wife 092623

APD Officer Cruz Guzman pinned by sister 092623

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