Our Laguna: A day of honor and remembrance

September 16, 2010|By Barbara Diamond
  • A rider leads the way wearing a helmet that reads "343" the number of firefighters killed in attack on 9/11, as he participates in "The Ride," a memorial ride for victims of 9/11 that thundered through Laguna on Saturday.
A rider leads the way wearing a helmet that reads "343"… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Twenty-five years of memories were shared at Police Cpl. Ted Falencki's retirement party, held Sept. 9 at the Veteran's Memorial Building.

Falencki's family and friends; co-workers, past and present; and former Explorers, whom he had trained during his 25 years with the department, jammed into Legion Hall to swap stories and honor Falencki's service to the community and the department.

Police Chief Paul Workman commended Falencki on his work with the Laguna's Explorer Post program for youngsters interested in careers in as police officers.

"He brought a lot of young men and women into law enforcement through the program," Workman said.

"He took many of them to Loughlin for competitions [in police techniques] and came back home with trophies.

"And Ted coordinated the Patriots Day traffic control and set up the cones to smooth outgoing traffic on the Fourth of July."

Falencki also partnered Gero, the city's first canine officer, obtained through the efforts of Det. Debbie Kelso.


Workman presented Falencki with a plaque on which the Lifeguard Tower at Main Beach is pictured, the traditional retirement presentation from the city, and his retirement badge.

City Manager Ken Frank also spoke.

"There are some jobs that no one wants to do," Frank said. "The one I really hated was upgrading emergency planning. There was course work involved and I resisted it as long as I could. Ted stayed after me until I took it and it helped.

"I appreciate his perseverance in getting ours [plan] certified."

Sande St. John, who organized the party — big surprise! — presented Falencki with a plaque from the Exchange Club, which sponsors the annual Police Awards.

"Ted was twice voted Officer of the Year by his peers," St. John said.

Falencki thanked everyone who attended the party.

"You really mean a lot to me," he said

In response to questions about how he plans to occupy his time in retirement, Falencki said, "Well, the explorers who rode with me and became police officers, now I will go on ride-alongs with them."

Laguna Beach Police Officer Spring Sendale, Police Assn. President Larry Bammer, Stephanie Seapin Picah, former Explorers, were among the guests at the party.

Guests also included Captain Mike Hall, who was an Explorer while attending Laguna Beach High School; retired Sgts. Ray Lardie, Doris Weaver Higgins and Lance Ishmael; sort of retired former Motorcycle Officer Robert Van Gorder; who is periodically called in for patrol duty.

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