FAIRFIELD — One of Cade Beckwith’s favorite places is a kind of time machine at 230 Atlantic Ave. in Fairfield.
There, said the Fairfield police officer, you hear students at the Public Safety Academy – part of the Fairfield-Suisun School District – say “Yes, sir” and show a deep interest in academics.
“The kids want to learn,” Beckwith said. “They’re involved.”
His volunteer work at the academy, which he describes as going back 50 or 60 years because of the students’ respectful demeanor, was among reasons Beckwith won officer of the year honors in Fairfield.
Beckwith’s roots in the Fairfield Police Department reach back to when he was 18 and a police cadet. He was a community service officer for about three years and then completed the police academy. Among the lessons from that training, he said, was that law enforcement has to be alert to dangers that most people miss.
“You’ll never see the world the same way again,” he recalled being told.
Beckwith has since been on the SWAT team and worked undercover in narcotics. He’s now a traffic officer on a motorcycle.
“It’s the best job,” he said of his work.
The Fairfield officer of the year said law enforcement is a great career.
“Every police officer in the world wants to help people,” he said.
Misunderstandings that sometimes arise with the public over interactions with police often end when, after an incident, it’s possible to explain why officers had to take the actions they did, Beckwith said.
“When we show up we have to be in control of a situation,” he said.
Beckwith is a fan of writer Michael Connelly’s books that are usually set in Southern California and include the work of the Detective Harry Bosch. The detective in the novels notes his philosophy that “every case counts.”
“Everybody counts or nobody counts,” Bosch often states in the books.
Beckwith counts his officer of the year status as an honor – but not one he sought or expected.
When Police Chief Walt Tibbet announced Beckwith’s name, the officer said he was surprised to be so recognized.
A dinner followed Oct. 11, 2013, at the Hilton Garden Inn when the Rotary Clubs of Solano County’s 22nd annual Law Enforcement Recognition Night honored Beckwith and other officers for their work. A record turnout of more than 280 attended the event.