Popular communications officer leaves Northwestern Division
For three years, Officer Gaylon Sells was Carmel Valley’s friendly neighborhood community relations officer. Through community meetings, forums and an e-mail list with hundreds of residents signed on, Sells was always available to dispense safety tips or dispel one of those fast-spreading Carmel Valley rumors.
Thursday, June 10 was Sells’ last day at the Northwestern Division — on Saturday night he will serve his first shift on his new beat, as a patrol officer in the Mid City division.
Mid City includes the communities of College Area, Oak Park, Rolando, Talmadge, Chollas Creek and Azalea/Hollywood Park — quite a contrast from the mostly quiet Carmel Valley.
“I expect a very, very busy time,” said Sells, who has 23-years of experience in law enforcement.
This is not to say that Sells wasn’t kept busy in Carmel Valley — more than 60 e-mails from residents awaited his replacement Officer Adrian Lee on Monday afternoon.
When Sells started at Northwestern in March 2007 he was as new to the community as the station was.
“I was able to make the CRO (community relations officer) position what I wanted it to be because everything was brand new,” Sells said.
He essentially started from scratch in a community that had always had very little police presence; so people were always glad just to know he was there, he said. He helped organize community crime forums, watched his e-mail list get bloated with contacts, and encouraged the formation of Neighborhood Watch groups.
“He was so involved in the security of our community,” said Dave McIntyre, a Carmel Valley community planning board member.
Sells said Carmel Valley is very unique — the people here are very involved and connected if there is any kind of incident.
“There is a quick movement to get things done up here that you don’t see much in other commands.” Sells said.
Pacific Highlands Ranch resident Aaron Johnson, who worked with Officer Sells on his Neighborhood Watch program, said Sells was a very dedicated CRO — offering countless crime tips, e-mail updates and in-person meetings.
“We are sad to see you leave,” wrote Johnson in a farewell letter to Sells. “However, we can’t be selfish, as we know other communities will definitely benefit from your presence as we did.”
Johnson said Officer Lee will have big shoes to fill but Sells said his replacement is more than capable.
Lee has 15 years of experience as a police officer and has been at Northwestern since September 2007. For the last year and a half Lee has worked on the juvenile service team at schools within the district. The father of four said he’s used to dealing with juveniles and said it will take time to get used to handling all the different interest groups in the district.
“I wish Gaylon was sticking around a little bit to show me how he stays so calm,” said Lee with a smile.
For any community crime concerns or to simply welcome Lee to his new post, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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