FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Ontario, California 02/03/2002

On Super Bowl Sunday, officers of the Ontario PD found themselves in a true "sudden death" engagement with a local gang member.

September 12, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

The damage to Officer Lavoie's patrol car offers vivid evidence of the ferocious firefight. Photo: Officer Lavoie.
The damage to Officer Lavoie's patrol car offers vivid evidence of the ferocious firefight. Photo: Officer Lavoie.
Super Bowl Sunday has become one of America's most popular holidays. It is an all-day event filled with parties, food, betting, imbibing, and general festivities. It is the ultimate American spectacle. And more than one sports writer has called NFL players "gladiators," referencing the life-or-death competitions of ancient Rome.

For Officer Kris Lavoie of the Ontario (Calif.) Police Department, Super Bowl Sunday 2002 would prove to be a busy one. But not in the way that most Americans enjoy. For Lavoie had no idea just how busy. Or just how much he would feel like a real "gladiator" before the day was over.

The vicinity of Holt Boulevard and Mountain Avenue in Ontario often proves to be ground zero for problems. This low-income area is a perennial destination for first-generation immigrants trying to start a new life. The neighborhood also plays host to the usual suspects running the same old scams: dope dealing, prostitution, and predatory vagrancy.

Standing out among such confines can be something of a challenge, but the driver of an older brown Oldsmobile was up to it. His jailhouse tats, wife-beater T-shirt, and beefy musculature screamed out "parolee," and Officer Lavoie on patrol in the area decided to check him out. He plugged the information into his patrol car's mobile data terminal. The Olds' license plate came back expired.

Lavoie decided to make a stop. But before he could catch up to the Olds, its driver, Tony Reyes Martinez, negotiated a series of sharp turns on nearby residential streets before suddenly pulling into a driveway, parking, exiting on foot, and heading into an adjacent apartment complex. Martinez's haphazard maneuvers suggested less an attempt to evade Lavoie than a determination to get on with a particular mission. Lavoie's curiosity as to what that mission might be led him to pull around a nearby corner where he parked and kept vigil as Martinez entered the complex on foot.

Lighting Them Up

When Martinez re-emerged five minutes later, he was in the company of another male Hispanic. The man was Carlos Omar Meza, a 23-year-old Happy Town gang member who'd earlier that day committed a shooting at the Indian Hill Swap Meet in nearby Pomona.

Lavoie didn't have that information. He just relied on his good cop instincts when he pulled in behind the Olds and followed the two men as they pulled into another apartment complex on the south side of the street and lit them up.

Seeing Lavoie's lights in the rearview mirror, the men in the Olds continued to cruise slowly down the driveway, looking right and left for God knew what before making a left turn at the rear of the apartment complex-then finding themselves boxed in.

The car's sudden stop obligated Lavoie to park at a 45-degree angle to the Olds, instead of directly behind it as he would have preferred. A mere half car length separated the driver from Lavoie, but it was the passenger, Meza, who turned and stared at the officer.

Despite the broad daylight, Lavoie turned the spotlights on the men. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, telling him there was something wrong. Seeing the passenger start to get out of the car, Lavoie hastened his own exit from his patrol unit. He stood behind the driver's side door and ordered Meza back into the car.

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine