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From Public Hero to Public Servant

Andrew Golembiewski – The Switch From A Police Officer to a Criminal Justice Teacher
Andrew Golembiewski
Photo of Andrew Golembiewski during his days as a police officer.

From a hard working, top of his class police officer in the La Mesa Police Department to a criminal justice teacher at San Marcos High, Andrew Golembiewski, more commonly known as “Mr. G” at San Marcos High, explores the switch between two very different jobs.

“I was known as the most hardworking officer,” Golembiewski said.

Golembiewski worked as a police officer for about 15 years and made hundreds of arrests. He described his job as the greatest one of all time. He loves the chase and the adrenaline, but he also explains that you have to be able to switch from a situation where your blood pressure is up, to then be calm and collected while cruising around.

Throughout the year, Golembiewski teaches his students many useful things in the criminal justice classes, such as many types of crimes, reviews of justified vs. unjustified uses of force, and projects conveying situations and the right/wrong way to handle them. Week by week, the classes learn crimes out of the “Crimes Against People” textbook and then will often take small quizzes to make sure they retain the info.

On Jan. 19, the students of Criminal Justice 1 class went on a field trip to the Escondido Police Department to learn about the office side of police work. As well as the other jobs associated with the police department and what each one does. Officer Al Owens was also in the force for a number of years and met Golembiewski when he first started teaching the class. Now retired, he trains officers on the do’s and don’ts of policing and also leads tours to students across the nation. 

Image of Andrew Golembiewski undercover. (Andrew Golembiewski)

“I’ve been doing these [tours] for many years following my retirement, well I’m never really retired I guess,” said retired title Al Owens, a former police officer who led the tour.

On this recent trip, he began the tour by introducing many of the police bike officers as well as those who are on the sat team. A few officers began a demonstration of the skill and safety a police bike officer must have. Following this, the officers showed off the tools of the swat team as well as the swat vehicle itself. This led to many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd. Owens then led the students inside to the evidence room. The students saw the lockers where the evidence was locked up and not to be touched without the ‘chain of command’ involved. No singular officer can touch evidence without a secondary member watching so that evidence would not be contaminated and could still be used in court. The students went into the officers’ briefing room and heard about how the officers always started their shift by listening to the captain in this room.

“I remember starting every single day in this room,” said Golembiewski as the class waited for Owens to lead us out.

Also in this room were some mementos from past arrests that had already been confiscated and processed. In these glass cases, there were many weapons, ranging from small knives up to large guns. There were even some miscellaneous weapons, such as: a wallet gun, nunchucks, and a very medieval-looking axe. 

Photo Andrew Golembiewski during his career as a police officer. (Anrew Golembiewski)

“You guys would be surprised what criminals will turn into weapons,” said Golembiewski after being asked about who would ever try to use nunchucks against a peace officer.

As the students walked down the hallway, they entered the holding cell section of the department. This area provided incitement into not only the area officers are around, but also what the darker side of life looks like as a prisoner.

Next, they headed into the surveillance section of the office, hearing from a very experienced officer about his job and the lead officer who was filling out paperwork. Afterwards, they went upstairs to see the outside of the forensics room and the call center which handled 911 calls as well as sent officers to where they needed to go. This concluded the tour, sending the students downstairs through the main lobby and out of the door.

“The tour was very insightful and I had a lot of fun seeing what one of my potential future career paths could be,” said junior Logan Buseras as he described the building and was truly inspired to maybe one day become a police officer. He added that among other jobs, this one looked very promising.

Golembiewski is sad that he is no longer in the force, but happy that he made a difference and took down many criminals. He is glad that although he is retired from his old job, he can continue to make an impact on the young minds at San Marcos High in hopes that all his students will go on to make their own good impacts on the world.

If you are looking for an elective class that provides real-world knowledge as well as provides students with a career path then look into Golembiewski Criminal Justice 1 class. If you are inspired by this class make sure to also look into his Criminal Justice 2 class where you can dig deeper about policing.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Sipe
Nathan Sipe, Writer
Nathan Sipe is a Junior at San Marcos High School. He Joined the SMHS Pendragon because he is interested in pursuing stories that have yet to be told.

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