July 14, 2011

Get to Know Lt. Colleen McMahon!

Lt. McMahon has distinguished herself during the course of her over 22 years at the Santa Cruz Police Department. Currently, she leads the Emergency Services Unit Dive Team, oversees our Traffic Section and has played a significant role in hiring some of the great officers at our department over the last five years. We sat down with Lt. McMahon so you could learn more about her!

What is your favorite secret spot in Santa Cruz?

Lt. McMahon: Lower Delaveaga foot paths through the Redwoods. It is beautiful, cool and peaceful.
Tell us about your favorite TV shows and movies.

Lt. McMahon: TV Show: The Biggest Loser - People who are willing to make sacrifices for positive personal change.
Movie: Pay it Forward - People who make a positive difference for others without expecting anything in return.

What is the best part about living in Santa Cruz?

Lt. McMahon: The choice of micro-climates and terrain including the ocean for outdoor activities. You can usually count on fog in the morning for comfortable long runs.

What is your most memorable case and/or arrest you’ve been involved in?

Lt. McMahon: In general, remembering people I’ve contacted before and helping them remain accountable to themselves, their families and the community through enforcement actions and contact on the street. I cited a teenager downtown years ago. Before releasing him, I talked to his parent on the cell phone. The parent said that they didn’t want their child downtown unsupervised and asked me to send the child home. I saw the same teenager several days later downtown with some friends at a fast food business. I called the parent on the cell phone. The parent said the child was supposed to be at the movies on the other end of Pacific Avenue. I walked in to the business, handed my cell phone to the teenager and let his parent tell him to come home. I didn’t see him downtown again, hopefully because he realized that someone knew him and his parents and it wasn’t worth being called on it. Sometimes people need encouragement to make the right choices.  

Tell us a little about your background in and out of SCPD:

Lt. McMahon: I grew up in the Midwest (inner city Chicago and small college town in Iowa) before moving to the West Coast in high school. I was a Chinese-Mandarin translator in the Army before working for SCPD. I’ve been able to work Patrol, Street Crimes (NET), Investigations, School Resource Officer, Internal Affairs and Community Services at the SCPD over the past 22 ½ years.   

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Lt. McMahon: Right here is my favorite vacation spot.

Most importantly, what are you most proud of?

Lt. McMahon: That my children are committed to public service in their careers. My daughter is a Detective for the city of Marina and my son is currently an emergency dispatcher for NETCOM. I know that, even though it is often a difficult job, they will continue to experience the fulfillment that accompanies it.