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Jeff WerblunJeffery Werblun, Rancho Murieta’s new Security sergeant, knew early on what he wanted to do with his life. A career in law enforcement has taken him up and down California and up and down in helicopters and airplanes.

“Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be in law enforcement,” said Werblun, who grew up in Sacramento. “I started out as an Explorer, when I was 16 years old, with the Sacramento Police Department. ... Six months after I graduated high school, I was in the police academy.”

After that, he went to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department academy and then to work as a reserve deputy at the Sacramento County Jail. Then he spent 12 years as a police officer in Sonoma County.

“I always knew I had a fascination with helicopters, more so than airplanes,” he said, so he got a copter pilot’s license and began to pursue a career in law enforcement aviation. Because a lot of those opportunities are in Southern California, he got hired by the Riverside Police Department. He worked patrol for two years, then got transferred into the helicopter unit in 1997.

“I tell people that’s a career within a career,” he said. “Because you’ve got your police stuff, then you’ve got all the aviation things.” And they’re interrelated. To be a police pilot, you have to have patrol experience, and a lot of it, Werblun said, because that’s how you can best work with officers on the ground.

That led to a chief pilot’s position with San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, starting an aviation unit from scratch. He also was trained as an airplane pilot, and he flew both in the course of his job.

Unfortunately, Werblun says, the program lost its state funding, and there were political issues with the sheriff, “and the next thing I know, they tell me the helicopter is going to be put up for sale.”

Next stop: Rancho Cordova P.D., where he worked patrol for several months and then transferred to the helicopter unit. Then he served as an instructor and pilot with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, where he worked until retirement in 2010.

He went to work as an instructor pilot for a helicopter manufacturer in Texas for a year, and then worked five years in private security.

In his spare time, he's a motorcycle rider, as are his wife and son.

Last November he started as a gate officer in Rancho Murieta. In March, he became a patrol officer. Prior to that, as a deputy, he had worked one weekend as a fill-in officer here in Rancho Murieta.

“When I was growing up in Sacramento," he said, "I’d heard of Rancho Murieta, but I never really knew where it was. It seemed like it was so far away. ... When I came to work here, I didn’t realize how big the community really is, or how big it’s gotten over the years. It’s like a small city out here.”

Looking back on his prior work life, he said, “I had a career, and you can just do your time or make the best of it. There’s so much to do in the career. ... I’m not one to wait for stuff to come to me. I like to go out and try to make it happen.” 

As for his new chapter, he said, “When I walked through the doors and applied as a gate officer, I told then-Chief Wagner and (Sgt.) Mike Scarzella that ‘I’m doing this to get my foot in the door, but I’m going to be a patrol officer here,’ and then when I got picked up for patrol, I told Scarzella, ‘When you retire, I’m taking your job.’”

Scarzella announced his retirement this month, and Werblun, as promised, will step into the job Sept. 2.

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