I had the honor to interview Corporal Sherri Mannello, who has been in law enforcement for over 24 years. In 2009 she did a lateral transfer to the Coronado Police Department from Orange County after meeting her husband, a Navy SEAL (now retired). And what a lucky transfer for the City of Coronado. Not only did we gain a dedicated officer and mentor who inspires and uplifts her comrades, but also someone passionate about empowering students, women, and all individuals in the intricate facets of our community. In addition to a very lucky transfer for our community, her experience in the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, as Deputy Sheriff, made her a “unique and important asset” to Coronado.
A list of some of Corporal Sherri Mannello’s awards and accomplishments:
- City of Coronado (Officer of the Year) – 2015
- School Resource Officer – 2014 to 2018
- Blue Knights Recipient – November 2012
- Coronado Police Explorer Advisor
- Coronado’s Peer Support Group
- Coronado’s Citizen’s Academy
- Coronado’s Police Department – Chaplain Program
- San Diego Law Enforcement Explorer Advisors Association (SDLEEAA)
Her Blue Knights Award was based on many cases “assigned to the Investigations Division. Cases including, CPS, APS, fraud, petty thefts, vehicle burglaries, stolen vehicles, domestic violence reports, bicycle thefts, and search and arrest warrants leading to several arrest and cases being solved.”
In September 2020, she was promoted to Corporal and a Field Training Officer for all new officers to Coronado. Learning about her journey in law enforcement, this placement seems almost full circle for her professional and personal passion of ‘inspiring, mentoring and supporting!’ The role’s biggest responsibility is training all the new and lateral hires.
Currently, what many may not know is that the Coronado Police Department has five new hires, which is a lot. The process and time to vet I learned, is tenacious, including background and criminal history check, medical screening test, psychological evaluations, financial responsibility, and drug use, to name a few.
In Coronado, Corporal Mannello makes sure to reiterate that the Coronado Police Department takes new hires seriously. And to have five in training is amazing for a small agency like Coronado. New hire training involves four months – with four weeks/four different officers in a phased training, which is included in the 24 weeks – intensive onboarding. Internally with the station and externally with the community. It involves also learning the specifics and dynamics of the community needs. There are standardized guidelines, but no two communities are alike, so the department is diligent on meeting the needs of the citizens and the community they serve. The police department works hand in hand with the fire department, hospitals, schools and more!
Coronado is its own agency. They have to constantly go above and beyond the needs of the community. As demands grow and change, and officers retire, vetting and hiring is vital. Corporal Mannello works on women recruits as well, and is an important aspect for community hires. In addition, she was an Explorer Advisor for 12 years in Orange County, and developed the Explorer Program here in Coronado, which has been a humble highlight in her career. In addition, she helped spearhead the wonderful ‘Chaplain Program’ in Coronado!
I also had the opportunity to interview Chaplain Chuck Price, who has been a chaplain for over 16 years and is with WIXIM Ministries, which focuses on law enforcement. Corporal Mannello went to a peer support training course at San Diego State University with The Counseling Team International and it is where she met Chuck. She was so impressed by his training course and wealth of experience and knowledge, she asked him to join the Coronado Police Department. He was fully committed with the San Diego and El Cajon Police Departments, and did work with FBI as well. But with some polite convincing, we were able to have Chaplain Chuck Price join our Coronado Police Department. This included also helping recruit additional chaplains (we now have a total of three) and two from our local ministries. Chaplain Chuck Price reiterated, “Corporal Mannello really supported the peer support program and doing all she could to help the mind, body, and spirit, for first responders’ mental health.” Trauma is a daily narrative for law enforcement, and with maladaptive behavior, we have to make sure we are on top of peer support internally and externally.
Mental health is everything to Corporal Mannello, and she instills its necessity in all aspects of our lives; professionally, personally, in our homes, and schools. Mental health is mandatory, as is peer support! The Coronado Police department is part of a peer support group, and they are very active, and prioritize making sure the officers have everything they need to best support the community. Additional services are available such as, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), private counseling and The Counseling Team International (TCTI).
Corporal Mannello has been “on” for over 24 years, and was not hesitant to let me know she has her therapist on speed dial.
In addition to being passionate about mental health, Corporal Mannello was also a School Resource Officer at CUSD. She took that role seriously, and still supports the SRO position. In addition, she is passionate about mentoring. She has been going to Southwestern College volunteering as an evaluator for academy scenarios. A future goal of hers is to teach recruits at the academy level.
During our interview, she explains that mentoring is vital, stating, “Mentors need each other.”
Corporal Mannello gives an example of her son’s traveling hockey team, his tournaments and mentoring; which is where and how she likes to spend most of her free time, with her son and family — supporting her son and seeing how his playing has matured, as he now helps lead his team out on the ice and mentors them. Also, scoring goals (three in his last game and nine in his last tournament), while helping others score. Corporal Mannello instills in her son the importance of working hard, while shinning and boosting extra confidence in others. This is just one of the rewarding moments (she mentions they are daily as a mom), but watching him be a mentor for a travel hockey team at 10 years old truly inspires her!
Her biggest advice, to all adults, and kids: “Don’t stop – finish anything you start!”
24 years as an officer, and now almost 50 years old, she still has so much she wants to accomplish, while giving back to the community she serves, and mentoring other individuals, whether in their personal life, their community, or becoming an officer in their community.
Law enforcement is tough, but as a police officer she knows she has to “keep lacing up my boots!” She reiterated that the Coronado Police Department is 100% committed to the safety of the community and the children. That is why she is so honored to be a part of the training team for the police department. As a police officer, you have to be “All In!”
You never know what the next 911 call will entail.
Lastly, we close out the interview with her cookies, “Sugar Cookies by Sherri,” as she was arriving to her son’s traveling hockey tournament in Orange County.
She let me know that baking cookies became her therapy. Her and her husband had just finished having their kitchen remodeled right before the pandemic hit. So as her son was home with online school (she was still in the field working), most of their days and nights with family were at home. She ended up taking an online course, Lolly’s Cooking Camp, and the rest was history!
If you have ever tried one of Sherri’s cookies, you know they are melt-in your-mouth, absolutely certifiably delicious, and you cannot just eat one. She uses them as a way to give back for organizations like Safe Harbor Coronado, a vital organization for our community’s mental health (Georgia Chakos Ferrell, the Executive Director of Safe Harbor Coronado, was just featured as a Queen of Crown City, Our Meatal Health Warrior). I knew Corporal Mannello did special cookies for friends and family, and I quickly reminded her how her cookies sold out in two hours at the all day Coronado Artisan’s Alley (the Band & Choir Boosters main fundraiser). She had been baking for weeks. I made sure to mention trying not to worry her, but she is going to have to start baking months ahead for the 2022 Artisan’s Alley, very special 50th Anniversary, on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022.
Corporal Mannello closed out the interview mentioning that she knows how hard it is for our schools right now, especially coming out of a pandemic. And as a previous SRO and being with a police department fully vested in our community and children, she understands the growing demands on our youth, academically and mentally. She made sure to let me know, as a mother of a daughter going into middle school, the Coronado Police Department is committed to the safety of the schools with constant communication, and helping to provide the tools needed so the students can thrive academically and emotionally.
The Coronado Times welcomes ‘Queens of Crown City’ suggestions from our readers of local women to profile. Email your nomination here.