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Vandagriff, Tatum Honored For Police Department Service
Between them, they have served Escalon for six decades.

Escalon Police Services Manager Dorothy Vandagriff hit her 30-year anniversary with the department on Dec. 1 and the occasion was highlighted by a special dinner in her honor.

Earlier this year, reserve officer Rich Tatum hit the same milestone, logging 30 years with the department in September.

Both started in 1977; each has seen many changes in the department.

Tatum, as a reserve officer, works a variety of shifts and events.

Vandagriff has been the constant, day-to-day presence at the department for three decades.

"In that 30 years she has seen over 107 officers come through here," said Police Chief Doug Dunford. "She's gone through five chiefs, one lieutenant and five sergeants."

Not only that, Vandagriff has logged 62,400 hours at the department, processed 36,000 reports and seen some 10,500 arrests.

"It's very rare for somebody nowadays to stay with any organization for that length of time," Dunford noted. "Dorothy is an unbelievable wealth of information for this department and the city."

Those attending a special dinner in mid December were treated to a special video presentation featuring photos of Dorothy, her family and the department through the years.

"Look at the statistics she has racked up," Dunford said. "It's a small department but a lot happens."

Among those on hand at the anniversary dinner was former chief Jack Storne and former officers of the department.

"Jack and 10 other previous employees came back to celebrate with her," Dunford said, noting that she remains held in high regard by those who she worked with in the past.

"I didn't expect to be here that long," Vandagriff admitted. "It's gone too fast."

Dunford said Vandagriff has been the eyes and ears of the department, often providing counsel for younger officers and offering background on a number of issues within t the city.

"Everything gets funneled through her," Dunford said.

Vandagriff's mother and brothers helped with the video presentation, providing early photos. Cara Johnson, wife of officer Shane Johnson, put the production together for the Dec. 14 celebration.

Tatum was recognized earlier this month at a city council meting, when the honors were handed out for volunteers within the city, including the Reserve officers, Explorers, Seniors, Animal Control and the Recreation Department.

"Rich has been a workhorse," Dunford said. "He comes out and helps the department continuously."

His involvement with the department began because some of his friends - namely Jack Storne, Walt Murken Gilbert Mendez and Roger Berhorst - were all officers at the time and suggested he sign on as a reserve.

"I was working at DVI as a sergeant then and I started doing some training for them," Tatum explained. "They talked me into it. It's a hobby for me."

Tatum is now retired from the state corrections system but stays busy as president of the state's California Correctional Supervisors Organization.

He still enjoys his reserve duty, even after all this time.

"It's a way to give back to the community," he said. "I like the people, getting out and meeting the people."

Often on hand for events like Park Fete and various holiday parades, Tatum also does some patrol work for the department.

"I had my own career but I just did it because I liked it," Tatum said of being a reserve officer. "They make it easy for me."