Sergeant Alex Gabaldon lauded for extra policing during pandemic hiring freeze
Like a lot of us, the City of Signal Hill had to tighten its belt after the pandemic began last spring, including imposing a hiring freeze on its police department.
But Alex Gabaldon, administrative sergeant in the Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD), decided to take it upon himself to return to patrol duties as a volunteer.
“I felt by taking on more responsibilities, I would be helping with the workload,” Gabaldon told the Signal Tribune. “It’s truly been and still is challenging. Trying to balance the additional responsibilities, and adjusting to changes made because of the pandemic, has been difficult.”
To manage, Gabaldon has had to prioritize and become more organized, he said. His dedication has not gone unnoticed—the City chose Gabaldon as Signal Hill’s 2020 Employee of the Year.
Mayor Edward Wilson commended Gabaldon for his invaluable service during the Jan. 12 Signal Hill City Council meeting.
“Due to his hard work, support, adaptability and positive attitude, Alex is an asset to the city,” Wilson said.
Wilson also noted that since Gabaldon began serving as an SHPD police officer in 2003, he was awarded Officer of the Year in 2007 and given a Meritorious Conduct-Gold award in 2016 for disarming a man wielding a machete.
“Alex’s professional approach to the incident resulted in a safe resolution without anyone sustaining injury,” Wilson recounted. “The armed man was able to receive the mental-health treatment he needed.”
During Gabaldon’s nearly 18-year tenure with SHPD, he has served as a police officer, field-training officer, detective and senior police-officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2018 and appointed administrative sergeant in 2019, overseeing recruitment, hiring, field training and storage of evidence.
“I’ve always felt support, not only from people that work for the City, but also from the citizens that I work for,” Gabaldon said on receiving the award.
Born and raised in Los Angeles County, Gabaldon became interested in law enforcement while in college. He enjoys fitness and outdoor activities, including camping with his three children, who he said understand what this award means.
“I try to teach them to work hard and do your best every day,” Gabaldon said, adding that he hoped he was a role model to them.
Though the City proclaims his actions “embody service over self, professionalism, positivity and hard work,” Gabaldon said he was surprised and honored when chosen for the award.
“Every City employee of Signal Hill, from all departments, works very hard to serve the community,” Gabaldon said. “To be picked from amongst these hard-working employees is truly an honor.”