CREATED Dec. 13, 2013
One of the most senior officers in the state, Officer Donovan Rice, is hanging up his hat and retiring after 33 and a half years of service here in the valley.
His retirement celebration with California Highway Patrol was Friday.
You may have met Officer Donovan Rice volunteering at a local school, as part of the California Highway Patrol pilot program that saves lives or he may have given you a ticket.
"The satisfaction you get from catching the bad guy, I don't think you get anywhere else in life, and that I will miss," said Officer Rice.
He also has plenty of funny stories to share, including a call for an ostrich on the loose.
"Sure enough, we got out there and it wasn't an ostrich, but it was emu, and so you never know what you're going to get on a day to day basis, it's always a surprise," said Officer Rice.
"He was never short of jokes, he would always get us going in the morning, right before we hit the beat," said Officer John Quintero with California Highway Patrol.
Officer Rice is known for a great sense of humor, and a long history of service: 32 years here in the valley.
Supervisor John Benoit was Donovan's Captain.
"He was part of the team that I selected the experiment of whether we could justify a helicopter here in the valley, it's been here ever since, he was with me when we went to the riots in 92 in LA, he was part of the company of men that I took to LA, and of course with Saul Martinez, he was there, his partner, good friend, Saul saved Donovan's life," said Supervisor Benoit.
At Rice's retirement there was also a tribute for Officer Saul Martinez who died in the line of duty in 1997, and saved Donovan's life.
"I've buried four officers in the 32 years I've been here," said Officer Rice.
Donovan has also served at our local schools.
"During the time that he was mentoring while he was officiating wrestling, he took time out in each of those young boys lives going through high school to talk to them, to mentor them even before we had a mentor program," said Officer Quintero.
Officer Rice's brother, John Rice, is proud of his years of service.
"I just wish him the best retirement, he's had an exciting career, sometimes very dangerous of course, and just appreciate all of our highway patrolmen," said John Rice.
Donovan Rice is proud of his fellow officers in the California Highway Patrol.
"I just can't believe the quality individuals that our department hires and the people we just have working here for us is just unbelievable."