LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers played host to the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night Wednesday (7:10 p.m. vs. San Francisco). LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck held a press conference in the Dodgers’ PR interview room at approximately 5:30 p.m. prior to pregame activities.
McDonnell and Beck discussed the partnership between the LAPD, the Sheriff’s Department and the Dodgers . This partnership includes the Dodger baseball card program. For many years, LAPD officers carried Dodgers baseball cards with them and distributed the cards to children and families while on patrol. In 2015, the program returned with the addition of LA County sheriffs. The cards feature a Dodger baseball player on one side – Joc Pederson, Justin Turner or Adrián González – and a deputy or officer on the other side.
McDonnell and Beck
Nearly 10,000 LAPD officers and 10,000 Sheriff’s deputies carried Dodger baseball cards with them while on patrol this season. The card program’s mission is to help law enforcement officials foster relationships with the community. LAPD officers on duty at Dodger Stadium will carry baseball cards to pass out to fans during Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. The LA County Sheriff baseball card is also in partnership with the LA County Department of Public Works, Environmental Programs Division, which provides fans with information on the proper dumping of household bulky items. González is the voice of the campaign and appears in an informational video, which can be accessed via the quick response code on the back of the LASD cards.
Pregame ceremonies Wednesday includes several Law Enforcement Appreciation Night elements. Officers from LAPD’s Motor Unit ride along the warning track. Officers from the California Highway Patrol serve as Wednesday’s color guard. LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacy bestowed the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award medals upon Sergeant Yvette Ahumada and Senior Investigator Jose Medrano of the District Attorney’s office. Ahumada and Medrano have worked tirelessly to rescue and safeguard juveniles who are being recruited and exploited in the commercial sex trade. They have been involved in more than 60 adult arrests and have been responsible for assisting in the apprehension of more than 17 pimps in the past year. They have contacted and provided assistance to more than 50 child victims. Sheriff McDonnell will bestow the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award upon LA Sheriff’s deputies Chad Vandenberg and Christopher Allende of the Lakewood Station, who were both shot during a DUI checkpoint in Bellflower in June.
Sheriff McDonnell, LAPD Chief Beck and CHP Chief Bill Siegl throw a simultaneous first pitch. Dan Lafferty, assistant deputy director of LA County Department of Public Works, catch the Sheriff’s pitch and Dodger players catch Beck’s and McDonnell’s pitches.
California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Manzano, a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant, is Military Hero of the Game Wednesday. After serving 20 years on active duty, Manzano is now a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer. In the Army, Manzano held various positions, including infantryman, military police investigator and recruiter. He served two tours in Germany, and deployed to Russia in 1994 and the Ukraine in 1995 as part of the Partnership for Peace. He was stationed in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. His military awards and decorations include five Army Achievement Medals, six Army Commendation Medals and two National Defense Service Medals. Manzano is a recruiter for the CHP Southern Division (Los Angeles County) Recruitment Unit in Glendale.
The Dodgers also shared LAPD Chief Beck’s #StopTheViolence campaign by running the chief’s PSA in-game. In July, Chief Beck teamed up with celebrities to create a series of PSAs to encourage the community to help eradicate violence. González is featured in one of the PSAs, which the Dodgers will show during the game. LAPD is asking local, national and global media outlets to support the movement by using #StopTheViolence and #BeTheChange.