A Much-Appreciated Opportunity

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I have been accused by family and friends of not being serious every time I tell them I am going to retire. Since I have retired several times, perhaps they are right. I've been very fortunate in my lifetime to do a wide variety of positive and exciting things. However, I say sincerely that being asked to head the San Joaquin County Bar Association and Foundation as interim director ranks way up there on top of that list. I'm thankful and humbled for the opportunity.

I had been retired the most recent time for 39 days and was having a leisurely cup of coffee with a friend when I got a call asking if I was interested in applying for Interim Executive Director of the San Joaquin County Bar Association. "What? Who is this?" I thought. However, I didn't have to think it over very long, and replied that I was honored to even be asked and that I was indeed interested. I've been familiar with the Association's work for years. I recall taking youth to Law Day and thinking to myself what a great event it was, particularly with the opportunity to excite kids into thinking about pursuing careers in this highly respected field of law.

I was also aware of the close work that the association does with the courts to assure competent legal representation for anyone regardless of ability to pay. I was likewise aware of the Dispute Resolution Services from my previous interaction with the former Mediation Center of San Joaquin. Yes, I knew that SJCBA is an excellent organization; however, never once did I think I would be asked to be a part of this excellent group of people. I am thankful for the opportunity to help the association during this time of transition. I still have a high energy level that I will devote toward helping the SJCBA and the San Joaquin County Bar Foundation continue their work, and will assist the Board of Governors with its search for a permanent director. I will do my very best. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.

I was asked to say a few things about myself and in doing so, I reflected on the fact that I've lived in San Joaquin County my entire life (except for 4 years in the military). My father worked for 37 years at the San Joaquin County Hospital where I was born. I was raised in French Camp and Manteca. After the military, I became a police officer in Manteca and later went to Stockton P.D. I enjoyed the opportunity to work, supervise and/or manage every division of the department. Then, suddenly, 32 years passed by. In 2003 I retired as a captain and prepared for that relaxed retirement that people often refer to. My son Trevor was in the department when I left and he continued to work himself up the organization to deputy chief. Now he outranks me! That's ok, I'm a very proud dad.

I continued to go to school while working, earning my B.S. and M.S. degrees. I also had the fortune to teach criminal justice-related courses for 25 years at Delta College and management and business classes for nine years at the University of Phoenix. I also have to mention my love of running and SCUBA diving. I continue to run and will for as long as I can. I think my favorite highlight was running in the New York City Marathon in 2007. As an excuse to dive more, I also became a SCUBA instructor and coordinated worldwide diving trips. It was natural then to think that after retirement I would teach a college class here and there, teach some diving and just be…well, retired!

I was indeed retired when, in 2005, the late Sheriff Bob Heidelbach asked me to conduct pre-employment background investigations, which I did for two years. In 2007, I was called by the City of Stockton to run the Operation Peacekeeper Program, which focused on mentoring and gang prevention with youth 13-18 years old. I did this for seven years. Then, in November 2014, I retired…again. Seems friends and family didn't think it would last. What do they know?

It was also in 2005, while on the board of directors of the Emergency Food Bank, that I suggested, "maybe we should put on a 5k race as a fundraiser?" Shortly thereafter I was race director. Go figure. The Run and Walk Against Hunger continues today to be the premier and largest-running event in the county and has raised over one million dollars for the Emergency Food Bank in its first 11 years. I have turned over the race director duties, however, I still help with the run. I have met so many great people during this time, people who make a difference.

In 2015, another opportunity emerged that was simply too interesting to pass up. I was asked by District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar (a former criminal justice student of mine) to run the grant-funded Project Navigate Constructive Change Program (PNCC). This was an important opportunity in that several dedicated partners (S.J. Behavioral Health, the District Attorney, Probation, the Public Defender and the County Office of Education) had been gathered to jointly focus on diverting willing youth ages 14-24 from the criminal justice system while providing direct mentoring, resources and providing a second chance for the youth to NOT return to the system. For three years the team successfully extracted many youth who otherwise would have likely continued to be part of the system. This was very rewarding work and work I really hope can continue. I retired at the end of the three-year grant. Yep, retired again!

As we begin this new chapter, I would like to assure the association that the great work you do has not gone unnoticed, and I will work hard to help us move forward. I appreciate the opportunity to help. 

Under Oath: Jayne Lee
Homeless Court in San Joaquin County
 

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Sunday, 27 May 2018

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