I didn't know where best to put this, so I opted for the Non-Baseball board.
By Julie Littman, jlittman@VenturaCountyStar.com
January 27, 2007
When Richard Langford pitched in baseball's minor leagues, he didn't realize he would end up in law enforcement.
The Conejo Valley resident began pitching in the Cincinnati Reds' minor league system in 1990, but less than four years later he sustained a career-ending injury. After rehabilitation, he needed to find a new direction and turned toward law enforcement.
"It seemed pretty exciting and something that sounded like a fun thing to do that wasn't a 9-to-5 desk job," said Langford.
In 1995, he became a California Highway Patrol officer and rose to sergeant in 10 years. Now he is based at the CHP station in Moorpark, where, officials say, Langford helps lead a team effort that has reduced drunken-driving incidents throughout eastern Ventura County.
Langford, 35, was one of the six honorees at the Thousand Oaks Elks Lodge's 30th Annual Law Enforcement and Firefighter Awards on Wednesday night. The awards honor outstanding officers and firefighters in the region.
Other individuals who received awards are with the Ventura County and Los Angeles County fire departments, the Ventura County and Los Angeles County sheriff's departments and the CHP.
Langford's superior, Chief Cliff Williams, said he nominated Langford for the award because his leadership has had an effect on the CHP.
"Because of his efforts, there's been a decrease in DUI incidents, which has probably saved lives," Williams said.
From August 2005 to August 2006, the Moorpark-area CHP has seen a 20.5 percent decrease in the number of DUI-involved collisions and a 61.2 percent increase in DUI arrests, Williams said.
Langford said he appreciates any recognition but said that he wouldn't have received the award if it weren't for his officers.
"I'm in the fortunate situation to have a good group of guys," Langford said. "I'm simply one piece of the puzzle."
His office focuses on "lowering the mileage death rate," which means preventing people from dying on the highways and "making the roadway safer," he said.
Langford works the graveyard shift — 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.
He said he begins his shift by doing paperwork. When his officers come in, he briefs them, and they all go out and "find what we can find."
The Moorpark-area CHP typically patrols the highways and roadways in eastern Ventura County— Highway 101 from the bottom of the Conejo Grade to the Los Angeles County line, Highway 23, Highway 118 in Simi Valley and Somis, Highway 126 in Fillmore and all county roads, Williams said.
The CHP unit cites drivers for traffic violations, reckless driving and driving under the influence. Langford's unit also deals with other crimes as they occur, such as people stealing cars and drug-related incidents.
"I'm proud of the community I live in and take pride in helping keep it safe," Langford said. He said since he grew up in the area he always knew he would want to raise a family here.
Having late hours has allowed him to have more time to be at home to raise his children. He coaches two Little League teams and said he tries to be involved in whatever activities his children are in.
"He's a very dedicated individual who loves his family," Williams said.
Langford has three children: a 3-year-old daughter, a 5-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.
His wife, Concetta, 35, said she is "tremendously proud of him" for receiving this award. "To get this kind of recognition is a fantastic honor."
She said that his late hours work out well for their family.
"He sleeps while the kids are in school and is awake when they come home. It allows him to attend all their functions," she said. "I think he's the greatest example of a father. He coaches all their sports teams. He basically structures his day around playtime with the kids."
Besides coaching Little League, Langford said he enjoys taking mini-vacations with his family, and they like to go to Arizona once a year. He said they also enjoy doing outdoor activities together.