***October Officer of the Month***
On September 6, Officer Hense was conducting traffic enforcement near Main and Williams Streets He saw a black sedan driving eastbound on Main with tinted windows and a broken taillight. Officer Hense stopped the car for the equipment violation and contacted the two occupants. The Communications Unit ran a records check on both of them. The driver, a convicted felon, was on formal probation with search and seizure. The passenger, a juvenile, was on informal probation. Officer Hense requested back up, and asked the subjects if there was anything illegal in the car. The juvenile subject replied that there wasn’t, while the driver did not respond.
When the follow officer arrived, Officer Hense had the occupants, one at a time, step out of the vehicle so he could search both of them. Neither of them had illegal contraband or weapons on them. Officer Hense sensed both subjects were uneasy, and asked them if there were any weapons in the car. The pair became even more nervous at Officer Hense’s line of questioning. The juvenile answered no, and the driver did not respond. The officers had them sit on the curb while they conducted a probation search of the car.
Officer Hense located a rifle case in the truck. Inside the case, he located an unloaded 12-gauge pump action shotgun as well as ammunition. The shotgun had been reported stolen out of Riverside County. The driver admitted he had recently purchased it “for less than $300.00”. He was arrested and taken to the station to be interviewed. The juvenile was released at the scene. The suspect was interviewed by a TPD gang detective. Ultimately, Officer Hense booked him into the Orange County Jail for a felon in possession of a shotgun and ammunition with a gang enhancement.
Both subjects admitted to being members of a local gang. A week prior to this traffic stop, both of them had been with a fellow gang member who had been arrested for possession of a handgun by Tustin PD. Their gang has been very active in Tustin and Santa Ana, and are believed to be involved in several shootings in both cities.
The arrest of the adult gang member clearly prevented a gang shooting from happening in Tustin and Santa Ana, and removed a violent repeat offender from the streets of our City. For Officer Hense’s work ethic, tenacity, and intuitive police work, he has been selected as the recipient of the October Officer of the Month award. Congratulations Officer Hense!