Friendly teasing and trash talk were exchanged in rapid fire Thursday in the parking lot behind the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, as teams of five competed for fun and to build camaraderie.
As their times were called out, teammates either chided one another or cheered each other on, depending on how fast they ended up pulling the station’s 34-foot green Mobile Command Unit 30 yards.
“Collaboration with the Sheriff’s Station, we’re a team, we always work together, so it was team-building between the two agencies,” said Jerrid McKenna, director of neighborhood services for the city, which ended up with teams taking first and third place for the inaugural event.
The station, the city of Santa Clarita and loanDepot, which sponsored the private gathering, combined to put together 10 squads that competed for a plaque and, of course, bragging rights. Both agencies talked about making the event come back next year in a version that would be open to the public.
Since a plane was out of the question in the station’s parking lot, his initial idea was an inmate bus, but that took about 10 people to pull, he said. A trial run with the station’s BearCat, commonly known as the SWAT team vehicle, only took three deputies. So, the 27,000-pound moving command center was ultimately what they decided to use.
“Our department does a plane pull every year of an actual plane for a charity fundraiser,” said Sheriff’s Station Capt. Justin Diez. “A few months ago, I just thought, ‘Hey, it’d be a great morale-building event.’”
The event’s partnership came together relatively quickly after National Coffee with a Cop Day in October, Diez said.
Deputy Rudy Hernandez, zone leader in the Stevenson Ranch area for the Crime Prevention Unit, reached out to see if anyone would be interested in helping with the competition, and Jessica Taylor of loanDepot said the company was more than happy to sponsor the event, which she described in part as a thank-you to the agencies involved for their service.
This time of year, it was also a great way to raise awareness about the station’s Holiday Toy Drive, she added.
“The deputies wanted to put something together that was light-hearted fun,” she said, “and we are honored to partner up with them.”
The winning times for the two city teams on the podium were 17.65 and 18.35 seconds. The Sheriff’s Station’s Team IOD, or Injured on Duty, earned second place with the only other sub-18-second pull (17.95 seconds), with the team’s name a jocular nod to how the group of field training officers would feel after the event, according to Deputy Richard Murray.
The city and county work together through a number of different entities, and events like this are reminders of that.
“It’s always good to have friendly competition,” Murray said, “keep things going, keep things fun, keep things lively.”