Officers, In Their Own Words

Sergeant Shawn Angulo

Graduated from the Academy in 1985


Originally from Redding, Sergeant Angulo talks about the different jobs she had growing up, and what ultimately led her to apply with the CHP.


Sgt. Shawn Angulo1. When did you first think about becoming a CHP officer? Include family, friends, school presentations, local or world events, etc. that may have influenced you.

I traveled the world with an international group called Up with People in 1981. While in South America, I had an occasion to job shadow a police officer for a few hours. That sparked my interest. Once I came home and began college, I was leaning towards becoming a corporate lawyer and already involved in staying physically fit. My mother saw an advertisement for CHP officer and suggested I apply. I had competed in running competitions, different sports, and cheerleading my whole life. I also lifted weights and competed in triathlons. I thought a mix of both worlds could be accomplished by becoming a CHP officer.


2. What obstacles did you encounter during your efforts to become an officer?

No obstacles during the Academy. The first obstacle I encountered was when I arrived to the field office. The wives of the officers who worked there were not happy about a female doubling up with their husbands. Although I was hired almost 10 years after the WTOP class (In 1974 the Women Traffic Officer Project was undertaken to study women becoming officers in the CHP. Read about it on the Women in the CHP link.), not many females had come through the Area office I first reported to. There were three female officers who reported to the Area office together in 1985. I found out we were only the second or third (group/single) female(s) that had come through that office.
My greatest obstacle was that I felt I had to prove myself daily and the older male officers were leery and not accepting of us/female officers. I found a male counterpart could commit the same offense, i.e. patrol car crash and although the male officer would be teased, it was all in fun. However, if a female crashed or messed up, it stuck with her for years and some incidents seemed to followed her for her entire career. For me, the feeling of having to prove myself daily did not stop until I had 10 plus years on.

I don't believe the feeling subsided because of time on, but because it became more common to have females go through the Academy and report to Area offices; thus, the change came because of the mind-set of the male officer(s) towards the female officers changed and became more accepting.

 

3. Describe what you were like in high school. Activities, sports, interests, etc. If you went on to college, describe your college life.

I came from a financially well off family, and we resided in Redding, CA. My parents were well known and social. My dad ran a very successful car dealership and believed in being generous with his money. My parents were family oriented, demanded and demonstrated high morals, integrity, and we had a strict upbringing. Two of us are CHP officers (I am a sergeant and my brother is a Captain.) Our middle brother just retired from the US Air Force as a Lt. Colonel, and our youngest brother was a sergeant in the US Marines. Both brothers put in over 20 years of military service before retiring. In grade school, middle school, high school and college, I participated in competitive athletics (school and city leagues), held positions in student government, participated in choir and musicals, and was chosen to represent my schools in a leadership positions. All members of my family are high achievers, patriotic, conservative, and active in their community and participate in physical activities. We are a close family. We were raised to believe our contribution to society should be positive and productive.


4. What jobs did you have before becoming an officer? You don't have to list them all, but we would especially like to know the one, or ones, you had immediately before going into the Academy.

My first job was cleaning toilets on rented houseboats at Shasta Lake near Redding, CA. I drove 30-45 minutes each way to get to work. My father taught us that no job is beneath you, to leave things cleaner then you found them, and always have pride in your work. My dad used to tell people, "My daughter is the head cleaning lady. She cleans the toilets, ha, ha!" I learned to appreciate the value of a dollar, to respect my employer, and appreciate having a job. Other part-time jobs I held: Social Security office, a deli, and worked as a receptionist at my father's dealership.


5. How did your family, friends, or different groups of friends, react when you were in the selection process and then became an officer? If it was a less than positive reaction, how did you handle it?

My family and friends were always very supportive.


6. What words of wisdom, if any, did you receive about becoming an officer?

My background/recruitment officer in Northern Division was very encouraging and helpful. However, the greatest impact on me came after I reported to my first area office by observing on and off duty, the officers who came before me. Their example and words of wisdom impacted me the greatest.


7. What are some of the interesting things you've done on the job (or off) while on the patrol?

I have worked in Northern Division (Ukiah) and several different field offices in Border Division. I appreciate the different job opportunities the CHP offers. I've worked road patrol, court, school bus and farm labor, public affairs, and commercial. As a supervisor, I've worked field offices, and in the commercial program which included supervising Farm labor Vehicle officers, and one of the dog handlers in the Border Division Explosives Detection Canine Program.


8. What words of wisdom (or encouragement) would you like to pass on to possible applicants?

The CHP has been a very rewarding career. I am service oriented, and my career has met my strong desire to serve the public and citizens of the State of California. Our organization is para- military; we work long hours, shift work, holidays and weekends, and it's not conducive to marriage and family life. However, if you are committed to making both work, it can be done! I am a 51 year old female. Married 25 years, we have three grown boys. I came on the Department at age 24 and have 27 years in law enforcement.

Stay focused, don't take short cuts, be a person of integrity, and never allow compromise in your life on or off.

Captain Ernie Sanchez

Graduated from the Academy in 1991


Growing up in Calexico, California, Captain Sanchez talks about how his dad's impression of the California Highway Patrol influenced his future.


Captain Ernie Sanchez1. When did you first think about becoming a CHP officer? Include family, friends, school presentations, local or world events, etc. that may have influenced you.

When I was a teenager, living in Calexico, CA, my father was employed by the School District as a school bus driver. My dad would come home and talk about the CHP Officer's professionalism, specifically, their uniform appearance and in particular their shiny boots! He was always impressed with their work ethic and would comment about seeing them testify at court, and dealing with them during his written test/driver tests certifications. When an agency can impress an adult, in this case my father, a person who I look up to, I was strongly influenced to become a CHP.

2. What obstacles did you encounter during your efforts to become an officer?

Being from a small town, Calexico, CA, it was always daunting to see the significant amount of candidates that would show up to each part of the testing process for CHP Cadet. Nevertheless, my recruiter kept me motivated and encouraged me to do my best in the process and that I would succeed, this is advice I continue to use now in my 23 year CHP profession.

3. Describe what you were like in high school. Activities, sports, interests, etc. If you went on to college, describe your college life.

I was always active in high school. I wrestled, played football and when I got injured playing football, I took up the sport of cycling. I was able to continue cycling through college at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, where I participated in intramural events and was ultimately selected to participate in a USA Cycling Federation Cycling Team Camp held in Colorado Springs, CO. My active lifestyle has continued with the CHP, being a peace officer requires staying fit and healthy and through related competitions such as the Western Region Police and Fire Games and the World Police and Fire Games, I have been able to maintain my competitive edge and have made great friends from all over the world.

4. What jobs did you have before becoming an officer? You don't have to list them all, but we would especially like to know the one, or ones, you had immediately before going into the Academy.

Before coming to the Academy, I was a full time student at BYU.

5. How did your family, friends, or different groups of friends, react when you were in the selection process and then became an officer? If it was a less than positive reaction, how did you handle it?

While at BYU, I was recruited and selected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to work as an agent. Luck would have it that weeks before I was to enter the Academy, a hiring freeze occurred. I was soon recruited and entered the CHP Academy which was a blessing in disguise as they too had a hiring freeze starting with the next class after mine! The FBI recommended that I gained some life experience working for a premier law enforcement agency like the CHP and 23 years later, here I am!

6. What words of wisdom, if any, did you receive about becoming an officer?

Dedication! I was counseled to remain diligent in my quest to become a CHP officer. Not only during the hiring process but also during the 24-week Academy (today the Academy is 27 weeks long). Setting a goal, being open minded and learning from my peers at the Academy was the best advice I received about becoming a CHP officer.

7. What are some of the interesting things you've done on the job (or off) while on the patrol?

Off the job, my CHP expertise has extended to community organizations I belong to. I am regularly called up to work with the Boy Scouts as a merit badge counselor on topics related to law enforcement and or community policing subjects, and for the past 8 years I have served as the president of a local cycling club that promotes cycling awareness and riding a bike as an alternative, healthy method of transportation.

8. What words of wisdom (or encouragement) would you like to pass on to possible applicants?

Pursue your goals! If law enforcement is something you are interested in, then go for it. Stay the course, gain an education, stay physically fit and exercise your analytical and writing skills. These suggestions will make you strong candidates and will ensure your success in the CHP profession.

Officer Elizabeth Arbogast

Graduated from the Academy in 1985


Read how this strong-willed woman believed in her instincts and conquered the wall.


Officer Elizabeth Arbogast1. When did you first think about becoming a CHP officer? Include family, friends, school presentations, local or world events, etc. that may have influenced you.

As a young girl I was interested in law enforcement. At the age of 15, I became a police explorer for the city of Anaheim. I became a police cadet for Anaheim at the age of 18. I started as a cadet at the front counter taking burglary and theft reports. I later transferred to the traffic department. I wrote parking citations and helped with traffic control at intersections.

My neighbor, now a retired police lieutenant, was a fantastic wealth of knowledge for me growing up. My police explorer advisor whom recently retired after 39 years was a huge influence on my life. Sgt. Martinez who has been the face of the Anaheim Police Department, helped me with mock interviews prior to testing with the CHP and asked me numerous situational questions, like, "What would you do if?" Sgt. Martinez was a positive role model in my life. I never wanted to get into trouble because I knew at a young age what I wanted to be and didn't want to ruin my future.


2. What obstacles did you encounter during your efforts to become an officer?

I didn't really have any obstacles to overcome. The hardest part of the testing process for me was the obstacle course. I contacted Westminster CHP office and found out they ran a practice obstacle course on the weekends to help candidates scale the 6 foot wall, drag a dummy weighing 180 lbs from a patrol car and handcuffing maneuver. For me, this was the hardest. (There is no longer an obstacle course in the testing process. To graduate from the Academy you will have to successfully negotiate an obstacle course.)


3. Describe what you were like in high school. Activities, sports, interests, etc. If you went on to college, describe your college life.

In high school I played softball and basketball. I was a police explorer so I had call outs and an academy to go to every year for a week. The police department utilized the explorers when kids were missing. In high school we had a police science class and police report writing class which I took.


4. What jobs did you have before becoming an officer? You don't have to list them all, but we would especially like to know the one, or ones, you had immediately before going into the Academy.

I was an Anaheim Police Cadet and I worked in a department store as a plain clothes security officer.


5. How did your family, friends, or different groups of friends, react when you were in the selection process and then became an officer? If it was a less than positive reaction, how did you handle it?

I was, and have always been, a strong individual. I was a police explorer at 15 and in high school kids called me "narc"and would go silent around me. I figured if they were worried about me then they weren't the type of people I cared to hang around with.

I was very strong, and I credit this to my mother being strong. My father had a hard life and drank a lot. This was my reality.

 

6. What words of wisdom, if any, did you receive about becoming an officer?

I was always taught to be respectful, courteous and kind. Treat people in all situations the way you would like to be treated in a similar situation.


7. What are some of the interesting things you've done on the job (or off) while on the patrol?

I worked as a resident post officer. I was called out of my home at all hours of the night for everything from collisions to loose cows. (Resident posts are generally in less populated areas staffed by one or more officers and affiliated with the nearest area office.)


8. What words of wisdom (or encouragement) would you like to pass on to possible applicants?

Always be honest and truthful; nothing will hurt you more than a lie. Be kind to people you meet on the road while giving a ticket or taking a collision or making an arrest; this might be the most traumatic thing in their life.

Always believe your instincts they'll carry you through and get you home at the end of the night.

Officer Carlo Marzocca

Graduated from the Academy in 1989


From carpet cleaner to electrician to attending the CHP Academy, Officer Carlo Marzocca talks of how his friends and family viewed his becoming a CHP.


Officer Carlo Marzocca1. When did you first think about becoming a CHP officer? Include family, friends, school presentations, local or world events, etc. that may have influenced you.

After taking courses in college; and one was taught by a CHP lieutenant which gave me some insight into the job. Also, my father was a Deputy Sheriff in Wyoming.

2. What obstacles did you encounter during your efforts to become an officer?

None, the process went well, but took over a year to complete.

3. Describe what you were like in high school. Activities, sports, interests, etc. If you went on to college, describe your college life.

I was active in high school baseball and church activities. I attended college while working full time as an electrician.

4. What jobs did you have before becoming an officer? You don't have to list them all, but we would especially like to know the one, or ones, you had immediately before going into the Academy.

I worked as an electrician for five years prior to academy. Before that I worked as a carpet cleaner.

5. How did your family, friends, or different groups of friends, react when you were in the selection process and then became an officer? If it was a less than positive reaction, how did you handle it?

It was mostly positive. My father was proud and my mother was scared, but supportive. My friends were all supportive but concerned about my safety and then asked lots of vehicle code questions!

6. What words of wisdom, if any, did you receive about becoming an officer?

I was told to be fair and have compassion for citizens even when they didn't like me because of the uniform I wore. Always go home after each shift no matter what.

7. What are some of the interesting things you've done on the job (or off) while on the patrol?

I have worked as a vehicle theft investigator, a motorcycle office for 11 years, and I'm currently in our K9 unit with dual purpose dog. I've worked with agencies from the FBI, Homeland Security, Presidential details, gang details with allied agencies, captured career criminals on routine patrol, seized currency and narcotics in large quantities, and served search/arrest warrants.

8. What words of wisdom (or encouragement) would you like to pass on to possible applicants?

It's a great job, stressful at times, but fun. You'll make friends for life. But you have to be mentally prepared to handle all aspects of the job. Be strong willed with good character, and be honest and fair. Go home each day and be proud of what you do.

 

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