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Acknowledging Mentors Zen considers Dave Leonard one of her favorite mentors and role models. Now retired from a long career with MHPD and a U.S. military veteran, Leonard was one of her Field Training Offi cers. “Dave taught me to be safe, thorough, a team player. I remember having a rough day during my early field training. We were out on patrol when a call came in for service. I wasn’t used to the radio dispatches and was still learning my way around Morgan Hill. I was headed in the wrong direction. Dave set me straight. Later I asked if he thought I would make it through field training. He said, ‘Yes, you’re gonna make it!’ Working with him, I learned that every day might not be a perfect day, but I was going to make it. And I did. And it’s been great ever since.” Her husband Dan is also a long-time mentor. They met in 2000 and mar- ried in 2003. Now retired, he served as an officer with the Gilroy Police Department including work as a robbery and homicide detective. “Along with being an awesome husband and my best friend, Dan’s my greatest champion. I can talk to him about my career because he under- stands the work and there’s a depth of experience behind his responses. It’s made my law enforcement path so much easier having him in my life.” court as a subject matter expert. She recalled working with a team on a gang-related homicide that led to the conviction of a gang member. “It was guns, drugs, violence, and ideology. It was pretty intense staying abreast of the gang culture and trends, which changed every day.” Zen also served as a sexual assault detective, working cases that involved adults as well as children. “In one case I was able to obtain a thorough statement from the victim, who was a minor, and a confession from the suspect. The resulting conviction was for three life sentences for a heinous crime.” As a MHPD SWAT Team hostage negotiator, Zen led negotiation in the case of a barricaded subject at a local mobile home park. “After four hours of negotiation I was able to get him to surrender peacefully. Afterward, our search of his premises revealed that he was well armed. He could have been a detriment to our officers and our community. That experience drove home the lesson that a negotiator must take the time and make a connection through active listening… to understand where the person’s coming from, how things can be resolved peacefully, and give the person hope… a light at the end of the tunnel.” In her work as an Explorer Program Advisor, Zen mentors and trains youth in police operations, somewhat like a junior police academy. “We run scenarios and competitions, take youths on ride-alongs, and enlist their help with community events. It’s great for kids who want to go into law enforcement or just want to learn about their local police department.” She also trains new officers in the MHPD Field Training Program. “Their energy is contagious. Seeing them have those ‘aha’ moments, I’m reminded of why I got into this profession—to have a positive impact and sometimes to save the day!” Back in 2009, someone cut under- ground fiber optic cables in San Jose, eliminating land-line and cellular com- munications and internet connectivity in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Officer Zen was the Watch Commander for the subsequent day, working with staff on a response plan to keep residents safe and protected. We had our offi cers highly visible in the community and volunteers helped at the schools. People felt connected instead of cut off. Along with our offi cers and staff from the City, we had our Offi ce of Emergency Services, CERT and other groups activated and had help from Cisco Systems. It worked.” The Family Justice Centers In 2012, Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing talked with Zen about the idea of setting up a Family Justice Center. She played a central role in making it happen through a network of trusted and effective partnerships including MHPD, Community Solutions, Santa Clara County Adult Probation, several Family Law and Immigration Law attorneys, and the County District Attorney’s offi ce.“Community Solutions hosted us. I had the opportunity to work with people like Perla Flores (Community Solutions co-founder) to understand the need, the process, and the local and regional partnerships and coor- dination required. Every agency came together to share ideas, problem solve, and follow through for the success of the Family Justice Center in serving the community’s needs.” When MHPD responds to reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, or human trafficking, Community Solutions is brought in. While police investigate, staff from Community Solutions stay with the victim from the original call throughout the case and afterwards, helping to provide wrap- around advocacy and support services. Garlic City Mercantile Roles Fulfilled, Lessons Learned One of Zen’s fi rst roles with MHPD was a four-year assignment as the School Re- source Offi cer for Live Oak High School. “I enjoyed working with youth in a positive way. During my last year, the senior class invited me to speak at an informal campus celebration and I received a commendation from the Superintendent. It was a gratifying experience.” In the MHPD detective bureau, Zen focused on street crimes, gangs, and narcotics, and sometimes testified in Come Downtown… and be tempted by our many wonderful garlicky condiments, sauces, seasonings, gifts, gadgets and décor items. gmhtoday.com 408.767.2434 • 7550 Monterey Street • Gilroy GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUL dUUMP(