Napa residents who find themselves in a tough spot might soon meet one of three fresh faces joining the Napa Police Department.
Martha Enriquez, Manny Martinez and Omar Delgadillo are the department’s newest community service officers, or CSOs. They do much of the same work that officers do, said Sgt. Heath Morrison, head of the training program. They wear body cameras just like police officers, though their work usually doesn’t involve cases with suspects, and they don’t carry guns.
CSOs can work with traffic collisions, vandalism, missing persons, runaways, vehicle thefts and more. They can take fingerprints, serve subpoenas, testify in court and photograph and collect evidence from a scene, he said. Arsons, rapes, robberies or domestic violence incidents, for example, would be handled by police officers.
The position is a stepping stone to becoming an officer, Morrison said. A handful of Napa police officers were introduced to the department through work as a CSO.
“They are a huge resource for our police officers,” he said. “They take all different kinds of cases and caseloads off of police officers.”
CSOs receive on-the-job training and work throughout Napa. The next step for a CSO who enjoys police work, Morrison said, would be the police academy. They learn defense tactics such as punching or striking, and how to diffuse situations by communicating, he said.
The department recently posted videos to its Facebook page that showed the new officers getting hit in the face with pepper spray. It’s an optional training step that helps officers understand how their body responds to the substance, Morrison said.
“Stay safe and hope you never get sprayed again,” one commenter wrote.
Another commenter spoke of a need for more bilingual officers in Napa police. All three new recruits speak Spanish, officials said.
That’s a huge asset, Morrison said, because there aren’t many Spanish-speaking officers, and CSOs can help translate. Otherwise, the officer would need to dial a number to speak with a live translator.
Martinez was raised in Napa, graduated from Napa High and has previously worked in retail and construction, and volunteered for the department.
He received associate degrees in criminal justice, math and natural science from Napa Valley College. He wasn’t initially interested in law enforcement, but it piqued his interest after he realized that he no longer wanted to pursue a career in civil engineering. He has a year left to receive his criminal justice degree from Sonoma State and hopes to finish soon.Martinez hopes to become a police officer to help people, he said.
Being a CSO has “been amazing,” Martinez said. “It’s a whole different perspective.”
Omar Delgadillo, 26, was born and raised in Napa and graduated from Napa High. He was pursuing nursing at Napa Valley College, but realized it wasn’t for him after enrolling in science classes. He was, however, fascinated by a criminal justice course. Delgadillo’s instructor spoke of his days in law enforcement and SWAT.“That really just got me hooked into law enforcement,” he said.
He graduated from San Francisco State in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Last Tuesday — his first day on the streets — he excitedly began learning to take traffic collision and stolen vehicle reports, and said he looks forward to serving his hometown.
Sgt. Morrison said he thinks being a CSO in Napa is a pretty good gig. The workload isn’t overwhelming, equipment is of good quality, the department offers training opportunities and officers are well-liked in the community.
It’s a good place to both work and live, he said.
Delgadillo, a lifelong Napa resident, seems to agree.
“I’m happy to have joined a great team like the Napa Police Department,” Delgadillo said.