Senate District 6 Unsung Hero
Lieutenant, Sacramento Police Department
In January 2013, a very important partnership was forged in Sacramento and it has been making a huge impact on our community since. A program called Cops & Clergy was formed out of the leadership of the Sacramento Police Department (SPD) and Bishop Sherwood Carthen, who was the senior pastor at Bayside of South Sacramento and chaplain for the Sacramento Kings. Since its inception, Cops & Clergy has been led by Roman Murrietta, a Lieutenant with the SPD. Lieutenant Roman Murrietta has devoted himself to the program because he has seen first-hand what can be accomplished by building trust and always keeping our sense of humanity at the forefront of every relationship. If you think the Cops & Clergy team can help or support at-risk youth and their families, email your referral to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us a little about yourself:
My wife and I attended UC Davis. I was born and raised in Fresno and she was born and raised in Sacramento. She grew up in the Fruitridge/Stockton area where her family has owned and operated Alonzo's restaurant since 1969. Sacramento has been my home for almost 20 years. We have two children who have grown up working at the restaurant. As a Sacramento Police officer for 17 years, I have always policed like my family lives and works here. As police lieutenant, I now expect the same of my officers.
How are you making a difference in your community?
I am very thankful that our Police Chief and Bishop Sherwood Carthen came together several years ago with the foresight to make lasting change by having faith leaders and law enforcement working together to make positive differences in our community. Managing our Cops & Clergy program has been transforming. I have always enjoyed working with the community and as a result I am now friends with many community members; no titles - just friends. We see each other for who we are.
Why is the work important to you?
It is simply the right thing to do. The work I am doing every day (community organizing, connecting people, helping people, educating people) will be my legacy. I am making a difference and it feels good to know that the seeds I am planting will be here long after I'm gone. I mentored a youth years ago when he was an 8th grader because he got into some trouble. He recently reached out to me because he is graduating from college and wants to be a police officer. Now that's inspiring!
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Although I am a police officer, it is not what defines me. I am a husband, father, brother, and son. I am proud of my Latino culture, but I am most proud of my family. My children are at the age now where they are becoming their own person and I am extremely proud to see them blossom into the beautiful young adults they are.
What have you struggled most with in your life?
We are becoming a more polarized society filled with extreme views. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find people who are willing to take a step towards the middle and work together towards solving issues. I was the first in my family to attend college and move away, and I was the first in my family to go into law enforcement. Those experiences provided opportunities for me to share new and different perspectives with my family and friends. I've always had people on both sides of the issues in my life, but fewer are willing to listen to the other side now.
If you have kids, what kind of lessons do you work to instill in them?
It is a small world and you should always treat others the way you want to be treated. Have faith in yourself. Be honest, kind, giving and always chose love. A small act of kindness is often more rewarding for the giver. As soon as you say "I know," all learning stops. My children often tell my wife, "Dad knows we're just kids and not philosophers, right?"
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
That is a big question. For me it would be morals, values, and accountability. In an ideal world we wouldn't need laws. People would behave civilly because it is the right thing to do. People and communities would look out for each other. It really does take a village. Parents need to be accountable to their children and raise them.
How do you decompress?
Working out, golfing, fishing, and being with my family. A wise officer once told me, "I don't care how bad your day was. When you get home and your kid wants to play catch, get your butt out there and play catch. Twenty minutes later you'll be glad you did." - This has always held to be true!