Fri08012014

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From ride-along to 30-year ride: Sgt. Paul Arguelles retires after nearly three decades in law enforcement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos Police Sgt. Paul Arguelles is retiring after patrolling local streets for nearly 25 years.

One of the Los Altos Police Department’s longest-tenured officers will call it a career later this summer.

Police Sgt. Paul Arguelles, one of just a handful of motorcycle patrol officers in the department, is scheduled to retire in July after nearly 30 years in law enforcement. Arguelles joined Los Altos Police in 1990 and will retire just shy of his 25-year anniversary with the department.

A self-professed foodie who is quick to offer restaurant recommendations to colleagues, Arguelles said the time was right to call it quits. He noted that he’s looking forward to spending more time in the relatively newer role of grandfather. Arguelles and his wife, Suzi, have three grandchildren ranging in age from 19 months to four years.

“I really want to spend more time with them and I have the ability to do it,” said Arguelles, who also plans to travel.

Even though he’s retiring from police work, Argüelles isn’t giving up motorcycle riding anytime soon. He became a motorcycle patrol officer after the department received a 1998 California Office of Traffic and Safety grant to fund training and the purchase of equipment. His new job later turned motorcycle riding into a hobby for him and his wife. Arguelles spent nearly one-third of his career on a motorcycle.

“It’s the coolest job in police work,” Arguelles said. “I love motorcycle riding because No. 1, to be able to do it and have fun doing it is a great benefit. To be able to do something you love and enjoy like that at your job is a really good thing.”

Taking the plunge

A Washington native, Arguelles moved to California after graduating from the University of Washington and credited his career in part to a ride-along he took with his uncle Darrell, a one-time Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy. Soon after, Arguelles said he “took the plunge,” joining the police academy in 1986, graduating one year later and serving as a Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy for two years.

“There’s a lot of appeal to being in a highly visible role like this and it can also lead to many special assignments,” Arguelles said of his career decision. “You get to meet a lot of different people in law enforcement and the general public, too.”

Arguelles later served as a police officer at Mineta-San Jose International Airport before joining the Los Altos Police Department.

“Paul was a can-do person with great communication and people skills,” former Los Altos Police Chief Lucy Carlton recalled. “His easygoing style and genuine concern for the community he served was evident in every assignment he took.”

Current Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis added that Arguelles’ personality continues to serve the department and city well. He credited Arguelles for his work as the department’s operations supervisor for special events, such as the annual Festival of Lights and Kiwanis Pet parades. Arguelles recently agreed to serve as the grand marshal of the 67th annual Kiwanis Pet Parade in May.

“For the last seven years, he’s been one of my go-to people in the organization,” Younis said. “If you wanted something done, Paul is the person to go to. He does it with a lot of class, a lot of style and in a way that people’s opinions feel valued.”

He added that Arguelles’ approach also served him well in traffic enforcement.

“His personality is critical to his position,” Younis said. “That’s a true testament to his character and personality. Let’s face it, no one wants to get stopped by police and get a ticket – but that’s his job.”

Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea agreed, calling Arguelles’ motorcycle patrol work “some of the most difficult” in law enforcement.

“You never hear a complaint about him. … He’s incredibly patient and has a wonderful personality,” he added.

Arguelles said he’d miss the familiar faces he’s encountered policing a smaller town like Los Altos, calling it “one of the few places where you have the luxury of forming those relationships with residents.”

Arguelles noted that he’s ready for all his post-retirement future holds in store.

“Everything happens for a reason and it’s been a good career,” Arguelles concluded. “I’m just really fortunate to be able to walk away healthy, and I’m looking forward to those other things in life.”

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