July 29, 2009 > Reserve Officer Bruce Howcroft commended
Reserve Officer Bruce Howcroft commended
By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Bruce Howcroft
Reserve Officer Bruce Howcroft was commended for his 31 years of service as a Volunteer Reserve Police Officer for Newark Police Department (NPD).
"I started as a Reserve with NPD in 1977. At the time I was working for Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Milpitas and going to college," said Howcroft. I've worked 29 Newark Days parades and done 27 DUI check points, to name a few of the highlights."
Howcroft started working for the State of California Department of Justice in May 2008 as part of the Campaign Against Marijuana Planters (CAMP) program to help eradicate the illegal marijuana that is planted throughout the state. This program resulted in the seizure of millions of dollars worth of illegal narcotics and helped to restore California's wildlife areas. Five teams work five regions that cover the state.
"I was in Region One - Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Del Norte counties," he said. Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties are also known as the "Emerald Triangle" due to the quantity of marijuana grown there.
"We were stationed out of Ukiah, Eureka and Crescent City. Before we arrived, there was intelligence that had spotted many very large marijuana grows. Once we had their locations, we'd drive to within about ten air miles and set up a landing zone.
"When the helicopter arrived, we'd go out and verify that the garden was still there and fly teams into the site. Many gardens were five miles away from the nearest road. We were flown in via helicopter on the end of a 150 foot plasma line secured to the underside of the helicopter," he said. There were no landing areas big enough to set the helicopter down so the pilot would drop the team down through the trees. After cutting all the plants, they were flown out using cinch ropes or nets. Plants were trucked to a secure site and buried in a deep pit.
While working and raising a family, Howcroft volunteered over 11,000 hours of service in his 31 years as a Reserve.