Javier Ayala (left) has his badge pinned on his uniform by his brother, Victor, after being sworn in as the newest police officer for Watsonville Police Department Thursday as Chief Manny Solano looks on.
WATSONVILLE — After a ceremony Thursday afternoon that concluded when newly sworn-in Watsonville Police Officer Javier Ayala asked his younger brother to pin on his badge, he gave a short, yet poignant speech.
“It’s something I won’t take for granted,” he said. “I’ve worked very hard to get here.”
Ayala, 27, is a Watsonville native who attended Amesti Elementary School, Lakeview Middle School and graduated from Watsonville High School. He was heavily involved in sports, and played basketball, football and participated in track.
Before he quit to attend the six-month police academy at Evergreen College in San Jose, Ayala worked at Photoflex on Hangar Way for seven years.
He said he wanted to become a police officer in part to be a positive role model for young people, and to show them they can grow up in Watsonville without getting into trouble.
“Growing up here you see the good and the bad,” he said. “I want to make the right decisions, and help young people do the right thing.”
The ceremony packed the briefing room at Watsonville Police Department with several members of Ayala’s family and with numerous police officers, many of whom shook his hand and welcomed him to the department.
He will now spend a week doing in-house training before hitting the streets, where he will spend about four months working with seasoned field training officers.
Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano told Ayala that his new badge, and the position it symbolizes, carries a significant weight of power, responsibility and community trust.
“It’s going to be giving you the power to take away someone’s freedom, and at some point you may have to take a life,” he said. “...The public will trust you, Javier, with their property, their children and their lives.”
Ayala’s brother Victor Ayala, 23, praised the tenacity he said his brother has always possessed.
“Whenever he puts his mind to do something, he gets it done,” he said. “Anyone can be smart, and anyone can be strong, but it takes something special to do this job, and I think he’s got it.”
Javier Ayala’s oldest brother Arturo Ayala, 45, agreed.
“When he was at the police academy, he dedicated himself 24/7,” he said. “He has always been very respectful, very humble. He’s perfect for the job.”
Ayala’s position brings the number of police officers in the WPD to 68. The department is constantly doing recruitment and is currently looking at several potential recruits, Solano said.
Share on Facebook
police, new officer, Watsonville Police Department