Policewomen of Walnut Creek Talk Crime

Devin Mottier, Staff Writer

In 2009, TLC premiered a show unlike any other. Police Women of Broward County and its various spin-offs follow the lovely ladies that patrol and protect Broward County, Maricopa County, Memphis, Dallas and, most recently, Cincinnati.

However, like most shows with more than two spin-offs, the Police Women series jumped the shark and is now in desperate need of a revamping. So, now, please welcome the saving grace of TLC: Police Women of Walnut Creek.

Walnut Creek, one of the largest towns in Contra Costa County and typically known as the only remotely interesting hang out spot for East Bay teens, is home to officers Amber Griffith and Holley Connors, both fourth year veterans of the city’s police department.

When officers join the force, they are assigned a certain area to patrol called a sector.

Griffith has worked every one of the three Walnut Creek sectors, her favorite being the area between Main Street and downtown.

“The Main Street and downtown area provides officers with diverse types of calls to respond to,” said Griffith.

Connors, on the other hand, particularly likes the region between Oak Rd. and Pleasant Hill Rd. because of the large mix of businesses, residences, shopping, and freeway access.

Although Walnut Creek doesn’t offer quite as much action as the other Police Women hot spots, the occasional crazy misconduct does come about from time to time.

“There are definitely different categories of excitement that come with the job, but I would say chasing people on foot or in a vehicle really gets the heart rate up,” Connors said. “I have been involved in many different cases including vehicle crashes, fires, stabbings, people with weapons, stolen vehicle pursuits, mental health evaluations, missing children/adults, burglaries in progress, domestic violence, and the occasional DUI.”

“Though these are not the norms for the area, it is very exciting to investigate these types of crime,” Griffith said.

In TLC’s series, the policewomen of various counties are portrayed as unfriendly and bitter but dedicated to their field of work. They are faced with ridiculous issues such as middle-aged sibling fighting and loose cats harassing neighbor’s plants.

The Police Women of Maricopa County has faced numerous lawsuits since its February 2010 premiere, the most recent of them being a contract breach by Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Andrea Penoyer.

According to the Miami Herald, Penoyer, who was working as an undercover officer in a drug bust, “was paid an unknown amount to appear on the show and arrested defendant Kevin E. Wallace on-camera last January for selling a small amount of cocaine in a buy-bust in Pompano Beach.”

When the police report for Wallace was filed, Officer Penoyer’s contract wasn’t turned in. Controversy has arisen and the Police Women series is since under fire.

Although Walnut Creek lacks the civic controversy Broward County has, the obligations of the police are vital to the success of the community.

“Personally I don’t like any police shows,” said Griffith.  “I don’t think they depict what an officer does.”

Even though working as an on-duty officer poses many issues and risks, the reward that the men and women of Walnut Creek’s police force gain is unique.

“The true excitement of the job comes when you realize all that training you have done does actually kick in automatically when you are faced with a volatile situation,” Connors said.

The public seems to believe that America’s officers take the job for the glory and not for the true love and passion for the occupation, but Griffith and Connors think otherwise.

“I became an officer because I enjoy working with people,” Griffith said. “Working as an officer gives a good sense of worth since you are giving back to your community.”

“There are many things that I enjoy but I love when I truly can help someone get past a hard time in their life. If it is helping them out of a bad living situation, getting them help for their mental health issues or referrals for drug treatment, it makes me feel good to affect a stranger’s life in a positive way,” said Connors. “Of course I enjoy the excitement at times, but helping is why I truly do this job.”