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Orange County's Men of the Moment

By Tina Borgatta and Kristen Schott

Photography by Robert Benson


From a Grammy Award-winning high school music teacher to a James Beard Award-nominated chef, the men of Orange County are having a moment. Here, five trailblazers sound off—in their own words.

A lieutenant overseeing Irvine’s CSI and SWAT teams, he was named on the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s list of 40 outstanding law enforcement officers under the age of 40.

“When I was 11, my parents moved my brother and me to the United States from Egypt. And all while I was growing up, I had a fascination with police officers. I still recall the first time I was stopped by an officer, who happened to be with the Irvine Police Department. I was 14 and was stopped for wearing headphones while riding my bicycle. The motorcycle officer spoke to me more as a concerned father. A few weeks later, I enrolled in the Explorers program at the Irvine Police Department and began volunteering on weekends. Some years down the road, Sept. 11 happened, and several of my friends pursued careers in the military, federal agencies and law enforcement. I saw this as my calling, and within a few months, I was hired by the Irvine Police Department. For many members of our community, coming in contact with a police officer might happen once or twice in their lifetime—and sometimes it’s during a traumatic experience. That’s why it’s imperative for every officer to be compassionate and professional—because our contact will leave a lasting impression.”