(Santa Ana, CA)—At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees meeting on April 24, three veterans of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) were sworn in as sergeants in the RSCCD Safety and Security Department. RSCCD Board of Trustees President John Hanna did the swearing in. The three new sergeants include Sergeant Monte Huotari, Sergeant Frank Prado, and Sergeant Ray Wert.
The new sergeants will be responsible for maintaining the safety and security of students, staff, and visitors at all RSCCD locations. They will investigate criminal and non-criminal incidents on campus and at the district’s educational centers. Using community oriented policing standards, they will work to deter and prevent any unlawful behavior as appropriate within a community college environment.
These newly sworn officers join the ranks of the armed and non-armed safety and security officers serving RSCCD and its students, faculty, and staff as well as campus visitors.
A 27-year veteran of the OCSD, Prado, has a wide range of experience in law enforcement. He has worked in corrections, patrol operations, South and North County narcotics investigations, as well as gang enforcement and VICE. While with VICE, he investigated and curbed prostitution, gambling, narcotics, and illegal sales of alcohol. Each particular section of work has provided Prado the opportunity to lead large and small teams, as well as train officers and teach at the regional academy. His investigative skills have led him to receiving numerous awards and recognition, most notably in various narcotics cases.
Along with Prado, Wert is a 27-year veteran of the OCSD. He has completed work in corrections and patrol, as well as a narcotics and homicide investigator. Wert has received significant recognition from the California and United States Congress for his ability to solve cold cases. Two of the cold cases he has solved were featured on two different documentaries. Most recently, Wert has completed assignments as the Sergeant of the Regional Traffic Bureau within the Major Accident Reconstruction Team and Auto Theft Detail. He has also aided in keeping the roads of Orange County, most notably Santa Ana, safe from drunk and illegal drivers.
The final officer to be sworn in is 26-year veteran of the OCSD, Huotari, has completed work in corrections, on patrol as a deputy as well as a sergeant, and as part of the gang enforcement team within the North Orange County Region. He is a gang and drug recognition expert, having testified in court on high profile cases for the OCSD and other Orange County agencies. Before his time with the OCSD, Huotari served as a military police officer within the United States Air Force. His most recent assignment was as sergeant of the Special Investigations Bureau/Gang Enforcement Team for the OCSD.
Following extensive research to assess the state of preparation by RSCCD for public safety threats conducted by the RSCCD Public Safety Task Force in 2014, it was recommended that the district transition to a hybrid force, including armed and non-armed officers. With these new sworn officers, there are seven armed officers who provide public safety services district-wide. There are plans to bring on additional armed officers over the next twelve months.
For more information on RSCCD District Safety and Security Department, visit: https://rsccd.edu/Departments/Security-and-Public-Safety
About the Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
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