Department Reserve Coordinator’s Message

Commander Gisselle Espinoza

It seems like yesterday when I started with the Los Angeles Police Department as a recruit in Reserve Class 5/93R. It was there that I met Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation Co-President Michael Sellars and my lifelong friend, Cesar Terrientes. The Terrientes family and mine are proof of the bonds that form as classmates. Our families have become each other’s extended family, and I have the Reserve Corps to thank for this.

When I became a reserve officer, I was working as an intern in the legal department at Watt Industries. I was interested in law enforcement, but I did not join to become a full-time officer. Seeing the potential to make a difference in the community altered my trajectory, and I became a full-time officer with Class 9/94. The assignments I have had in my career, me being a commander today, would not have been possible had I not started as a reserve.

In October 2023, I became the commander in charge of the Office of Operations, Department Reserve Coordinator. The values and camaraderie that I experienced as a reserve officer remain. I’m always impressed by the skills reserve officers bring to the LAPD and the hours they work in addition to their full-time jobs. Sergeant Jonathan Johnson is a staunch supporter of the program and manages the dynamics of constant change that becomes the responsibility of his unit. Handling all of this seems part of the unit’s nature, not just a job. Seeing the potential that lies ahead, it is important the Reserve Corps expands with the attention it deserves. There is a lot of work that reserves can focus on from patrol to specialized units.

Congratulations to Lisa Specht and Jim McDonnell, both named community leader honorees at this year’s Gala. You both exemplify being Twice a Citizen. I hope you both understand the role reserve officers play in the LAPD and the value they bring to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation seeks to strengthen the Corps, and your presence helps make that possible. Thank you hardly seems enough.