On Sunday, June 16, some police officers in National City and Chula Vista are putting away their badges and batons to celebrate the work they do at their other full-time job—being a father.
Wade Walters, a detective with the National City Police Department, said just because he is a cop doesn’t mean he can’t celebrate being a father.
“We (police officers) celebrate Father’s Day like anybody else,” Walters said.
Walters said on Father’s Day he and his family usually celebrate by barbecuing and spending quality time with each other.
Walters is a father to two daughters ages 7 and 11.
This Father’s Day, Walters said he is going to be managing his daughters’ softball team in the weekend softball tournaments, something he said he enjoys and usually does on his days off.
Walters is also planning to continue a childhood tradition with his own father.
“Since I was a kid we (Walters and his father) would always hang out in the backyard to barbecue and watch the Padres game,” he said.
Being a police officer, Walters said, has given him a different perspective on society, causing him to be more aware of how he is raising his kids.
“As a police officer, I’ve seen stuff that normal folks probably wouldn’t hear or see or know about,” he said. “I’ve seen things that most parents wouldn’t think twice about letting their kid do.”
Balancing work and family life is a struggle, Walters said.
Walters said he doesn’t get much sleep, he works on birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. Any days off he gets, he said, is spent with family.
David Ditomaso, a K-9 officer with the Chula Vista Police Department and a nine-year veteran, said being a dad is one of the greatest joys in the world.
Because Ditomaso works a swing shift, he doesn’t get to see his 2-year-old daughter as much as he would like to.
Ditomaso and his wife of six years are expecting another child.
Ditomaso said since he became a dad, he’s grown more sensitive to cases involving children.
“Now that I have a kid, going to child calls is a little tougher,” he said. “It makes it a lot harder to go to calls where kids are hurt. I like to go to schools a lot more often now and have contact with the kids.”
Just like Walters, Ditomaso said being a police officer is making him a protective father because of all the bad things he sees on a daily basis.
For Father’s Day Ditomaso said his large Italian family gets together for a feast.
National City detective Derek Aydelotte, who has a son, said his father set the example on parenting.
“I’ve learned from my father, he taught me what to do,” Aydelotte said.
Leo Banales, an officer with the Chula Vista Police Department, said one of his favorite Father’s Day memories is when his two daughters and his wife took him out golfing.
He said his wife and daughters don’t like golfing, so playing golf with them made the occasion even more special.
Banales said being a father is much more difficult than being a police officer.
“Being a dad is 24/7,” he said. “Being a police officer, you hopefully leave it at work and you only do it for about 40 hours a week. There is a lot more strings attached to being a dad. It’s a much bigger commitment, but then the rewards are greater too.”