Saturday, July 13, 2024

Police Officer Grace Del Bagno Recognized for her Dedication

Officer Grace Del Bagno was honored as Coronado’s 2023 Employee of the Year. Photo courtesy of Coronado Police Department

Wearing many hats, Coronado Police Officer Grace Del Bagno was honored as the City of Coronado’s 2023 City Employee of the Year. The city first honored her with Employee of the Quarter and then selected her as the Employee of the Year – the highest honor the city gives to a city employee. For her recognition, the city stated, “Grace personified the city’s excellent service and going above and beyond for the community and the city team.”

From the age of seven, she remembers having a desire to go into law enforcement because of her association with adults in the field. Growing up, she says she was a tomboy, loved the outdoors, and participated in sports, especially swimming, basketball, and softball. She also enjoyed music and started singing at age four. She played the piano, but focused more on vocals when she sang a variety of genres in middle school and then joined show choir in high school. She considered studying music when she went to Oklahoma University, but a voice in her head kept calling her to be a police officer.

The best advice she got to pursue law enforcement was to major in something that would teach her how to communicate with people and understand what makes them tick. She focused on sociology and psychology and says those skills have served her well on the job. When she went to the police academy, she felt things click and knew she was on the right path.

She started on the police force in Redondo Beach and transferred to Coronado almost eight years ago. She is one of 13 female police officers out of the 45 sworn officers in the department currently. Starting on the night shift, she will always remember the first crew of Coronado police officers she worked with and the ways they would wind down after adrenaline-raising patrols. “They definitely made my rookie time memorable, and I learned to trust and respect them,” she comments.

After her probation period was over, she applied for the School Resource Officer position and was thrilled to get it and do it for nearly six years. She attended special training in Arizona and was responsible for seven schools here in Coronado, where she taught and helped in a variety of ways focusing on safety and fostering positive relationships between local law enforcement and the schools.

In listening to and observing the teachers, administrators, and children, she discovered that kids in the Coronado community are unique in many ways, and she designed a program specifically tailored for their needs. She developed the Crown City Safety Ambassadors and implemented lessons for fourth grade students that covered topics like bullying, standing up, being a leader, advocating for See Something, Say Something, social media safety, bike safety, and much more. Her sixth grade curriculum encompasses additional lessons and a community service project, which deals with vital issues including drugs, mental health, empathy, sympathy, community engagement, and a long-reaching list.

Having touched countless lives, she has often been called to help mediate situations between students, where she advocated for keeping the peace and pointed out that they are all on the same team. “I was able to see positive changes as I met them at their level.”  She has since trained Brittany Palmore as the School Resource Officer and is now back on patrol.

Del Bagno has sung the national anthem for three Padres games. Photo courtesy of Officer Grace Del Bagno

She is affectionately known as the singing cop, because when her captain first read her bio and saw that she had a music background, he asked her to be part of his law enforcement band. From there, word of her talent spread, and she was asked to sing at fundraising and other events, memorials, and Coronado Concerts in the Park. She has even performed the national anthem three times at Padres games. Although she grew up a Dodgers fan, she expresses, “I can’t help but love the energy of the Padres and the stadium.”

She notes that being in law enforcement isn’t always easy, especially as it has been heavily scrutinized in the past 10 years, but she still feels it is her calling. She is even married to a fellow Coronado Police Officer. Both animal lovers, with two dogs and a chinchilla, they plan to buy a ranch and fill it with goats, donkeys, alpacas, and other furry creatures. “My husband and I both love our jobs, but it’s nice to come home and relax with our animals.”  She credits her husband with being supportive of her musical side hustle as her roadie.

Officer Del Bagno is a CA Post Certified Police Bicycle Instructor. Photo courtesy of Coronado Police Department

“I love how the Coronado community embraces the police,” she notes, saying her favorite thing about her job is that “Every day is a new start and I have no idea of what’s coming, but I look forward to it. Whether it’s dealing with mental health issues or helping rescue an injured animal, I enjoy getting to know the people here.”

She strives to make a difference in whatever role she is in and has been involved in Shop With A Cop, the Special Olympics, and many other activities. When asked what her most memorable call was, she chuckled as she recalled having to rescue a goat that was wearing a dress from a locked car.

 



Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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