Fall 2011 Scholarship Award

Out To Protect is pleased to announce the award of a scholarship to Sam Garanzini of the San Rafael, California Police Department.  He graduated from the Santa Rosa Junior College Public Safety Training Center’s Basic Police Academy on December 1, 2011 in the top of his class.  We invite you to read his biography below.

I come from a large police family, and always expected to become a police officer someday. I started riding along with my uncle, a lieutenant with the St. Louis County Police, when I was ten years old. From the first day I was hooked on the excitement of the job – but I was only ten, and would have to wait until age 21 to apply.  When I became 13, I joined the police explorer unit for the St. Louis City Police. As one of the most dangerous cities in the country, I saw a lot of excitement from the first day. In St. Louis, police explorers are apprentices who learn about the profession, and often work in the station or on patrol with officers. At age 17, I started the first police explorer bicycle unit in the Midwest.

At age 21, just finishing my bachelors degree in psychology from St. Louis University, I decided to go onto graduate school, rather than applying immediately to become an officer. I got into the University of San Francisco, and picked San Rafael off a map as the place to call home. Still unable to pronounce it correctly, I drove straight there from Missouri, and immediately fell in love with the town.

By 2007, at age 30, I had finished my graduate degree, received my psychotherapy license, and started a private practice in San Francisco. I was also teaching psychopharmacology part-time at USF, and knew a lot about how medications help people feel better. I had a great career, but I missed the excitement of riding around in a police car.

I decided to complete the academy in night/weekend classes, so that I could hold down my business during the day. In 2010 the San Rafael Police Department’s mental health liaison, the renowned Dr. Joel Fay, retired. At this time I was eligible to become a reserve officer in California, and I was fortunate that San Rafael wanted to hire someone to continue Dr. Fay’s programs. I had a significant portion of my police training to finish, though, and with the help of the Out to Protect Scholarship, I was able to finish the police academy on December 1, 2011.

Now I return to San Rafael with the hopes of taking my mental health background to the community. Having a sizeable homeless population, there are times where it has come in handy. I’m also pursuing a research grant to bring alcohol abuse medication to some of our most seriously addicted citizens. I sincerely thank Out to Protect for helping me complete my training.