Avalon Sheriff’s station commander, three sergeants to retire

Four members of the Avalon Sheriff’s Station, including their commander call it a career. Courtesy photo

For the Islander

Capt. John Hocking, will retire on Friday, March 26, 2021, after 32 plus years on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Capt. Joe Badali will be the new Unit Commander o f the Avalon Sheriff’s Station.

There will also be three new sergeants assigned to Avalon Sheriff’s Station.

The Sheriff’s Log which until recently was written by Capt. Hocking, will continue under Capt. Badali. Capt. Hocking, Sgt. Brian Hill, Sgt. Greg Kelly, and Sgt. Lena Merino, will all be retiring from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Avalon Sheriff’s Station. Each has served the department for more than 30 years, which is more than 120 years combined.

Capt. Hocking brought his community oriented policing philosophy to the island.

Working with the Avalon City Council, he implemented a Community Advisory Committee, he conducted active shooter training classes for the City of Avalon, several businesses, and a school. He also worked with the Catalina Women’s Forum, to assist domestic violence victims in the time of need. Capt. Hocking brought a Special Olympics athlete to the island, for the first time, as part of their world games.

He worked in conjunction with the Avalon School, attending monthly meetings to ensure the safety of the students.

During a difficult time on the island due to the COVID pandemic, Capt. Hocking used a common-sense philosophy when enforcing the Health Department’s Orders.

Hocking and his personnel educated the public and business owners how to comply with the orders to keep the community safe.

“I have really enjoyed my time on the island,” Capt. Hocking said.

“I would like to thank the Mayor Anni Marshall, Avalon City Council, City Manager (Denise Radde), Assistant City Manager (Mike Parmer), personnel from the Catalina Island Company (Gina Long), Geoff Rusack/Wrigley family, the Catalina Conservancy/Rangers, Board of Supervisors (Herlinda Chico), Catalina Island Medical Center personnel (Jason Paret), Two Harbors’ personnel, Catalina Express personnel (Greg Bombard/Judy Rios), Avalon Harbor Patrol, Avalon City Fire Department, Avalon Code Enforcement, LA County Fire Department, and LA County Bay Watch,” he said.

“I would like to thank the residents of Avalon for allowing me to be their Sheriff station’s unit commander. I enjoyed working with the community to keep them safe,” Capt. Hocking said.

“I will be returning to the island frequently to visit the good friends I have made over my years on the island,” Capt. Hocking said.