Lieutenant, Palo Alto (CA) Police Department
Hello, my name is Scott T. Wong and I was a sworn Police Officer for over 29 years at the Palo Alto Police Department in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born in the Bay Area and the son of a Chinese immigrant (father) who came to the United States when he was 6 years old. My mother was a second generation Japanese American citizen.
The photo of me above was taken shortly after completing Motor Officer re-qualification training…Best four years of my career!
I became interested in a career in law enforcement when I was in my late teens. My father served in the U.S. Army in the late 1950s. My mother’s oldest brother also served in the U.S. Army, after he had been interned in a concentration camp during World War II. He was also a Korean War Veteran and was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. He then joined the U.S. Department of Justice and worked for the Federal Government. When I was a high school student a friend’s family owned a police leather shop in San Lorenzo. I would spend time there with him and his father (a retired Sergeant from Oakland P.D.) and listen to his stories about being a police officer in Oakland. I learned from my father and uncle the value and importance of duty/service to our country. I learned from my friend’s father about the fun and excitement of the law enforcement profession. I looked for a police department that would hire me as soon as possible and since I hadn’t reached the age of 21 yet, I saw that Palo Alto had a minimum hiring age of 18 and decided to apply.
During the beginning of my career I believed it was important to gain as much knowledge and experience before applying for promotion so I worked patrol, SWAT and Field Training Officer for the first ten years of my career. When I felt confident in my policing skills and believed I was ready for promotion I applied for the rank of Agent (Corporal). I served as an Agent for a few years and then promoted to the rank of Sergeant. I was a Sergeant for fifteen years and worked many rewarding assignments as an FTO, Robbery/Homicide Supervisor, Traffic Motor Supervisor (best four years of my career as you can see from the ear to ear grin in my pic), Internal Affairs Supervisor and POA President. I promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and worked in that assignment for two years. During my time as a Lieutenant I served as the K-9 Manager and Watch Commander of patrol. After retiring from full-time policing in 2011, I served part-time as the 911 Dispatch Center Manager and then as a Reserve Officer, before fully retiring in 2015.
During my career I was very fortunate to have many great mentors and role models. Agent Ken Kondo and Agent Ralph (Rick) Lindmark taught me that being patient, calm and empathetic was the key to being an effective cop. My good friend, Motor Officer Bill Baldwin, instilled in me the importance of consistent officer safety skills and the value of maintaining your ethics and personal integrity at all times. They collectively helped me safely retire with my sanity and health, for which my daughter and I will always be greatful!
There is not enough room here to talk about all of the fun, exciting, scary, sad, happy and memorable experiences that I was blessed to have in my career. As a Police Officer you will see and experience the worst in mankind and the best. However, it is the most noble, fun and rewarding career you can possibly have. Best recommendation to any new officers entering the police profession, make your family your priority, your personal health and well-being next and finally your career. Do not let the job consume you or make you cynical, remember we were normal humans before we became cops!