Five new officers received their badges and were officially sworn in as members of the Pasadena Police Department by City Clerk Mark Jomsky in a ceremony at Police headquarters Tuesday.
Pasadena Police Chief Gene Harris congratulated the new officers and addressed their parents and friends in attendance at the ceremony.
“We thank you for loaning us these men,” he said.
Harris smiled, explaining, “We’re just borrowing them, we know that, but we also know that we will give them back to you in much better shape than when you loaned them to us. That’s a promise. How often does that happen?”
Officer Chrystian Banuelos was born in Monterey Park, California to Hector and Lilly Banuelos. He began competing in judo and wrestling at the age of six.
Banuelos earned a degree in Biology and Chemistry when he graduated from college in Nebraska. He worked as a nurse for three years before becoming a correctional corporal for the Nebraska Department of Corrections. After working there for one year, he joined the Grand Island Police Department, where he worked for five years and rose to the position of gang officer, as well as serving as a member of the Tactical Response Team.
He met his wife Ashleigh while living in Nebraska and they started a family, with a son, Grayson, 5. They are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their second child. In June of this year, they were married. With the support of his family, they moved back to California to further his career with the Pasadena Police Department. His wife Ashleigh pinned on his badge.
Officer Jacob James was born in Acton, California, the youngest of six siblings. His older brother Chris is currently a detective for Oceanside PD and encouraged James’s pursuit of law enforcement.
James began his first responder career as an EMT and later as a Special Response Officer for Caltech. While at Caltech, he observed and interacted with officers from the Pasadena Police Department and decided to work alongside them. He pursued the path and graduated from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in June.
James’s wife, Sophia, pinned on his badge.
Officer Kenneth Katim was born in Fountain Valley, California. As a child, he was extremely active and enjoyed various physical activities, including wrestling. In his bio, Kenneth noted that he considers his father to be his hero, as his dad came to this country “with nothing but the clothes on his back.”
Despite working two jobs and taking care of his mother and three sisters, he was able to help raise Katim and support his career in law enforcement.
Katim studied biology at Cal State Poly Pomona while managing a Poke restaurant part-time. He currently holds a blue belt in Jiu-jitsu and aspires to become a black belt to teach both law enforcement and non-law enforcement. Kelven Katim, Katim’s father, pinned on Katim’s badge.
Officer Saul Cuevas was born in Los Angeles, California. He was raised by his parents along with his two sisters. Saul was a very active child who loved boxing and working out.
After high school, Cuevas attended California State University, Los Angeles, where he studied Political Science. He began working at La Puente Firing Range as a Range Safety Officer and eventually worked his way up to manager.
Saul Cuevas Sr., Saul’s father, pinned on his badge.
Officer Steve Alvarez was born in Los Angeles, California. He is the youngest of four children. When Steve was six years old, his mother passed away from cancer, leaving his father alone to raise him and his siblings.
Despite facing adversity, Alvaez had a supportive group of neighbors and friends. He often played basketball with his neighborhood friends and would be seen helping his father with his lunch truck on weekends.
In 2022, Alvarez married his girlfriend Stefanie, and they now have two children, Sadie, 7, and Sebastian, 5. Alvarez left a position at Bank of America to pursue law enforcement for “a greater purpose and to be a good example for his children,” according to his biography.
His wife Stefanie pinned on his badge.