February 27, 2017
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RP adds seven to public safety

  • The new and promoted staff for the Rohnert Park Dept. of Public Safety is, from left, Christine Palm, Dana Benavides, Joel Auerbach, Matthew Huot, Sean Huot, Jennifer McAllister, Chief Brian Masterson, Jim Thompson, Kelly Koffler, Commander Aaron Johnson and Commander Mike Bates. Photo courtesy of Don Schwartz

February 3, 2017
Longtime officer also promoted to rank of sergeant

The City of Rohnert Park swore in seven new staff members to the Rohnert Park Dept. of Public Safety and celebrated the promotion of a longtime officer to sergeant in a ceremony held Jan. 23. The new hires include four graduates from Rancho Cotate High School. 

Sergeant Kelly Koffler was promoted from a public safety officer position, where he has been serving since 2001. His roles have included serving as a detective, fire engineer, training officer, and acting supervisor. 

Officer Sean Huot, a Rancho Cotate graduate and former football player, was recruited by other officers from his prior job at 24 Hour Fitness. He is nearing completion of his BA in Criminal Justice from Sonoma State University. 

Sean’s brother, Officer Matthew Huot, also attended Rancho Cotate. A graduate of the Santa Rosa JC Police Academy, he worked for 1½ years for the Clearlake Police Department before recently joining the RPDPS. His mother Kathy said, “I never expected both of them to be sworn in on the same day with the same department. I’m one big goosebump!” 

Officer Jennifer McAllister graduated from the Napa College Police Academy and was immediately hired by the RPDPS. She is a fitness buff and former personal trainer. 

Fire Marshall Jim Thompson formerly worked for the Vacaville and Berkeley fire departments. He is a graduate of the SRJC Fire Technology program, and is already known for working collaboratively with businesses to ensure that they are fire safe. 

Records Clerk Christine Palm worked for the Stockton Police Department before joining Rohnert Park. She was a competitive softball player in high school. 

Dispatcher Dana Benavides is a Rancho Cotate graduate and former dental assistant. Dispatchers in Rohnert Park are experts at keeping calm under pressure and multi-tasking as they dispatch for both police and fire calls. 

Community Services Officer Joel Auerbach is a Rancho Cotate graduate and former lieutenant in the RPDPS Explorer program. He is pursuing a degree in the Administration of Justice from SRJC. 

“We’re fortunate to hire individuals such as these with a great sense of professionalism and service to our community,” Vice Mayor Pam Stafford said. “I’m confident that they will help to keep Rohnert Park a safe city.”

The recent hiring reflects the RPDPS’ continuing success in recruiting new staff. In 2016, the department hired 14 staff, including six officers, and in 2015 hired 22 staff, including 16 officers.