California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 23

INDIO – Chief for a Day In January 2012, then newly appointed Chief of Police (and Indio Noon Rotarian), Richard Twiss attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the rebranding of the John F. Kennedy Math and Science Magnet Elementary School. Little did he know that his personal escort for the morning’s events would be six grade student and Peacemakers program member James Neurberger. Three months later, a March 2012 field trip to the Indio Police Station was facilitated for the Peacemakers program by members of the Citizens Helping Indio Police (CHIP) and Cadet Volunteers. This is Chief Twiss’ story of how sixth grader James Neurberger later became Indio’s first Chief for a Day on June 19, 2013. During a community event honoring public safety in 2012 a friend bid on and won a ride-along with me. Acting on his suggestion, I decided to instead select a child from the community who would benefit from spending the day with me. I broached the idea with my executive team, who quickly embraced the concept. We soon began the process of selecting our recipient. Concurrent with the selection process, I continued to spend time with James, who tragically experienced the loss of his biological mother and uncle within a close timeframe. Furthermore, James was struck by a vehicle while walking through a parking lot and called the incident into our dispatch center. During his call, he asked if I could personally respond to the call. The fact that James had suffered multiple tragedies during the latter part of 2012 was not apparent. He retained the same upbeat, positive attitude that I had witnessed during a public safety display event hosted by the Heritage Palms Country Court. James attended the event as the guest of the principal of Indio Middle School. It was at this event that I was able to spend time with James, offer my condolences for his familial losses and apologize for not being able to respond to his dispatch call. In typical James demeanor, he assured me that he was okay, understood that I was top to bottom? Chief Twiss pictured with Indio’s Chief for the Day James Neuberger. A warm thank you note from the John F. Kennedy Peacemakers. FALL 2013 | California Police Chief 23