Eric Haynes/Courier PCC officers Michael DeSpain and Jose Arechiga are standing outside the campus police building on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. DeSpain and Arechiga won first place in the annual Baker to Vegas Run recently, representing PCC as the only college police department participating in the race since 2009.
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The PCC Police Department (PCCPD) recently placed in the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay race last month, earning a first place plaque for the very first time. 

The win is first ever for the department and the officers, who are the only community college police department to have ever participated in the annual relay event that spans two states.

Officers Jose Arechiga and Michael DeSpain ran the portion of their race along with participating officers from the San Marino, Vernon and San Gabriel police departments, making record time for the team as a whole.

To be part of the division, participating police departments must be smaller than 99 police officers.

“We participated Vernon, San Marino, and San Gabriel this year,” said Arechiga. “They allowed us to participate with them this year. We were team 90.”

For the first five teams who place, each person gets a commemorative mug, and the teams receive the plaque. The team is still awaiting their ordered plaques, a duplicate of one issued for the winning team that is comprised of the three departments, said Arechiga.

“Usually, with our Peace Officers Association, they pitch in and pay for our plaques, or we pay for them on our own and we do it that way.”

Arechiga and DeSpain train by running the campus circumference, on the campus stadium track for “speed work,” and off-campus locations where there are inclines. DeSpain runs as many as three additional half-marathons or 5Ks throughout the year as well, such as the L.A. and Long Beach marathons.

“The top 20 runners compete against all the other teams that out there, and there are 280 plus teams,” DeSpain said. “So there are various stages from Baker to Vegas that can vary from seven to ten miles, all depending on what the leg is.”

Arechiga said his run was about six-and-a-half miles on an uphill leg, and DeSpain’s was about a nine mile run in the third leg, where the baton pass was on the Baker side.

“They were the two anchors that pulled the team together,” said Interim Police Chief Steven Matchan.

The relay race was over a 24-hour period, but took 16 hours with the 23 participants who began early on a Saturday morning and ended early the next morning.

The time for each individual team member is calculated based on the time achieved by the entire relay team, with Arechiga and DeSpain achieving their best times ever in the their first place win in the history of their participation in the annual race.

The awards ceremony took place in Las Vegas at the Westgate Hotel, with another ceremony held later locally in San Gabriel.

Over the years, the PCCPD has been able to participate consistently with other police departments such as San Fernando, South Pasadena, San Marino, Arcadia, as well as San Gabriel and Vernon.

“Since we are a community college, we wanted to get more involved with other police agencies to become part of the police community,” Matchan said. “So that people can understand that we’re here as police officers, just as they are working in their municipalities and areas.”

Officer James “Bobby” Karch, who was part of campus police in 2009, brought the event to the attention of the department and the school, contacted officers from another agency who were already participating in the event, and became PPCPD’s team captain. He brought it up to some officers at another agency and told them that we had some runners on the team.

Nearly the entire department went to this year’s event, as they do annually, to volunteer, drive the pace cars, keep the runners hydrated, and provide overall support to cheer on Officers Arechiga and DeSpain.

The Los Angeles Police Department puts on the invitation-only event from Baker to Las Vegas each year, where police departments come from as far as Canada.

Comments

  1. Just came upon this thread of comments. One minor correction to the article…..LAPD SWAT placed first in Baket to Vegas; running in full tactical gear….. NOT the two unarmed college kids. FYI.

  2. Here are the facts surrounding Steve Manchon: Prior to being hired by PCC, Manchon was employed by the L.A. Housing Authority Police. This entity was eliminated by the City of Los Angeles after rampant instances of police corruption, unauthorized accessing of police computers, and abuse of individuals living in the housing projects. Steve Manchon was one of the most corrupt and abusive officers on the Housing Authority Police. When this department was disbanded, some of the officers who were able to pass a background with the Los Angeles Police Department were accepted into the L.A.P.D. Manchon was not able to pass the background for the L.A.P.D. thus he was disbanded/terminated along with the Housing Authority Police.
    Congratulations PCC you’ve hired a dishonest cop!

    1. Wow, and now this Adminstration and Board has him running this police department? WTF? Maybe the Trustees should do a better job in their hiring and decision-making. Rocha, Miller, Cooper, Matchan…how long can this list go. Wake up PCC, get rid of this department and hire some real security guards.

      1. The problem is this simple – the admin had NO idea what to look for in a chief of police. This is evidence by losers chosen from Glendale PD, CHP and San Bernardino Sheriffs.
        Exhausted by their own failures; the admin hands the keys over to a bottom-feeder like Munchon. Why not? After all….like Chan…..he has simply survived this substandard environment for a long time and……of course has learned the system. An institution chanting “academic excellence ” views F-average performance as acceptable. Perfect.

      1. Excellent points Dr. Gaspasser! Unfortunately a loser like Manchon can and will do damage to innocent people; he’s a crook and will ruin peoples lives by his stupidity and incompetence. This is a man who regularly sells information he obtains by illegally running PCC employees and their license plates through the police computer system. Our campus should demand the Administration remove him immediately from his position.

      2. Dr. Gaspasser you are 100% correct. Manchon is a derelict and a loser. In any other environment he’d be fired, and or prosecuted. The fact he can not pass a background check with any responsible police department indicates he should not be given police power. To make him an interim Chief of our “two bit” police department only indicates we’ve truly reached for and found the bottom of the barrel.

  3. Why all the hate? It is clearly Heather Meier writing this. Just own up and put your name instead of hiding behind a false identity. If you hate everything, just leave. Everyone would be very happy. Maybe except Mike or another cadet that your sleeping with..

    1. Brandon you are an ignorant person. Manchon is a sexual harasser and person who should be terminated for gross misconduct and incompetence. When PCC is sued, and it will be, for leaving the likes of Steve Manchon in his current position, the cost to the college will be significant. He is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
      I hope litigators will use these quotes in their lawsuit(s) against the college that involve Manchon.

      1. James Brandonson, aka Steve Manchon is a disgusting person. If he is responsible for harassing or molesting impressionable young cadets he should be prosecuted, and terminated. The college should also be held responsible for knowingly allowing this Cretan to remain a police officer. I know he uses his college supplied vehicle for personal usage; I’ve seen him with his kids in the car at a Sizzler by the 60 freeway. Will the college ever learn?

  4. Manchon would have been fired if he were on any other “real” police department. He’s a world class butt kisser with a very low IQ and should be parking cars or cleaning out toilets for a living.

  5. Well it’s nice to see others on this campus recognize that Steve Matchan is as dirty as they come. Bobby, Robins and Matchan have all been accused of sexual harassment and hitting on cadets with nothing being done. Well, Bobby got canned, but he didn’t rat on his brothers. Intimidation, color of authority, rank, fear will all get a young, naive cadet to sleep with you…sadly, even with Matchan. Too bad for those “good” officers here, that just want to do their job. Wake up PCC, we deserve better than these guys protecting us. Officer DeSpain should be running that place.

    1. Please try to remain positive. The good news is a.) Donald Duck could run that place. b.) Jose seems to have control over his drinking problem. c.) Matchan has finally perfected his “nose condum” (patend pending). It was field tested by Peter Benson.

    2. Officer Robins was being considered for termination while on probation for having a relationship with a cadet who was 18 years of age and possessing a tepid IQ. The police union (Manchon was the union leader at the time) fought tooth and nail to allow this sexual harasser to remain on the job arguing that since he did not carry a weapon, what harm could he do. Manchon is another story all together. He is a serial sexual harasser and a person who plays fast and loose with parking money. He should be prosecuted, and hopefully will soon.

  6. Matchan may only have a GED, be a master brown-noser, accomplished back stabber and seat-warmer for a real chief…..but he is not a slob. His wife dresses him.

  7. I too am proud of our police runners!! Let’s not focus on a chief too fat to run downstairs or “Bobby” who has been reduced to a roving guard in an Indian casino out Iin the desert somewhere.

    1. I’m proud of our runners too. Although their running reminds me of Forrest Gump; and in all likelihood they are as bright as Forrest Gump, at least they are doing something productive with their time. God help us if they had to have a conversation with anyone. I think the bovine qualities of Manchon leave a lot to be desired! Keep on grazing Manchon,

  8. Congratulations to our two officers. These two are what a PCCPD officer should look like. Great job! My concern is, why would the Courier or our Police Department even bring up the name James “Bobby” Karch? Wasn’t he fired from PCCPD? Word around campus was over a sex crime. Maybe the Courier staff should do a better job in researching information before giving credit to a dishonored officer. Or maybe our officers should remember that before giving credit to predator.

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