Police Chief Christopher Goodwin administered the oath to the officers in a ceremony held in a packed City Council Chambers before family, friends and City staff. The Department has 89 officers with 98 sworn positions in the budget. The vacancies include a police captain position that was created when Goodwin was promoted to chief, two sergeants, and six police officers.
“We are fortunate to have had this many high quality officers sworn in all at once,” Goodwin said. “This is a result of our recruiting efforts and then the timing of the four trainees graduating from the academy at the same time.”
Goodwin noted the four Fresno academy graduates placed in the Top Five in their class. He said more officers are joining the force shortly.
“We have another officer graduating from the academy this week, and we just hired two other officers last Friday,” he said.”
The new officers are:
Tim Farmer, 36, who was raised in Merced with his two brothers. He is a Merced High graduate who completed the veterinary technician program at Modesto Junior College. He graduated from the Fresno Police Academy where he was sponsored by the Merced MPD.
Farmer is married with two daughters, ages 5 and 2, and a son due in November. When he isn’t studying his police work he enjoys playing golf, basketball, and soccer. He likes all sports including auto racing, and loves spending time with his wife and daughters.
Dominic Saelee, 26, is from Visalia. He was the youngest of four children. He graduated from Golden West High School in Visalia and attended Fresno State. He is a graduate of Tulare-Kings County Police Academy.
He’s the proud new uncle to baby Charlotte.
In his spare time he enjoys hiking, camping and the outdoors. He likes to play recreational sports like soccer and golf and spending time with Christy, his girlfriend of eight years.
Shawn Kramer, 32, of Merced. He graduated Golden Valley High School and also the Fresno Police Academy, where he was sponsored by the Merced PD.
Kramer likes to work with his hands and build things, computers and technology/electronics. He also enjoys hunting and trap shooting.
Tevon Prevostini, 25, from Denair. After graduating high school, he took criminal justice classes in college. He graduated from the Fresno Police Academy where he was sponsored by the Merced PD.
Prevostini enjoys spending time with his wife, fly fishing, upland bird and duck hunting, camping and hiking.
David Benavidez, 27, of Merced. The high school grad is a graduate of the Fresno Police Academy where he was sponsored by the Merced PD. He served five years in the U.S. Army as a cavalry scout.
Benavidez is married with two sons and is expecting his third son in August.
He is an avid soccer player.
Patrick Radke, 31, of Atwater. After graduating high school he took classes at Merced College.
Radke has three years of law enforcement experience with the Atwater Police Department and seven years experience with the Livingston Police Department.
He is married with a son, 6, and a daughter, 8.
In his spare time he enjoys bass fishing and hunting water fowl.
The City is currently recruiting for both police officers and police officer trainees. The position of police officer pays $62,169.36 to $75,566.88 a year. Trainees can earn from $40,264.08 to $48,941.04. More information on the jobs can be found at the City’s website, www.cityofmerced.org.