THE EYES OF some children glittered as they entered the Civic Auditorium in Stockton on Thursday afternoon. The entrance to the auditorium on either side was decorated with pictures of their fathers and mothers who were being promoted to new ranks in the Stockton Police Department. Some of them excitedly pointed to the photos of their loved ones, while some others took photos with the pictures. 

The department hosted the Feb. 23 ceremony for 12 of its employees — officers who have been promoted to the ranks of assistant chief of police, deputy chief of police, captain, lieutenant, sergeant, police services administrator and telecommunications supervisor.    

The event began with the presentation of colors by the Stockton PD Honor Guard, followed by the National Anthem sung by Alexis June Vilar, a Cesar Chavez High School student. The speakers for the ceremony included City Manager Harry Black, Mayor Kevin Lincoln and Police Chief Stanley McFadden. Lt. Anabel Morris delivered the welcome address.  

Looking at the promoted officers during his address, Chief McFadden said he was very proud of them. “What you see here today, it resembles loyalty and commitment to devote oneself for leadership role,” McFadden said.  

During his address, McFadden recollected the difficulty of the promotion process and noted that its took months of preparation and dedication and would often take time away from the families of the officers.  

Tiffany Steinbaugh takes a picture of her son Wesley Steinbaugh next to a portrait of her brother Scott Graviette during the Stockton Police Department Promotion Ceremony at Civic Auditorium on Feb. 23, 2023. Gravitate attained the rank of Deputy Chief of Police. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

“So, to the family and friends here today, I want to personally thank each of you,” McFadden added. 

As the chief presented a badge to each of the promoted officers, their families were invited onto the stage, where they proudly pinned those badges to their uniforms. 

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.