Det. Andy Pinvidic

Det. Andy Pinvidic

Auto Theft Detective


Westminster Police Department

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
As a teenager, I was a high school dropout.
When I was 18, I did a ride-along with a cop and knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.
I had a few years to kill before I turned 21, so I joined the Marines. Best decision I ever made.
My recruiter told me to go back to school and finish up my diploma before I started my service.
I spent 8 years as an MP at Camp Pendleton; it was great preparation for becoming a police officer.
Came home, completed my AA, bachelor's, and recently, master's degree; started working on the force.
On a personal note, becoming a father was the biggest highlight of my life; it gave me purpose.
Recently, I decided to say "yes" to more opportunities, even if they take me out of my comfort zone.

Education

High School
Associate's Degree
Coastline Community College
Bachelor
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
Union University
Graduate
Organizational Leadership
Brandman University

Career

Auto Theft Detective

I handle all investigations that relate to vehicle theft and vehicle burglary in Westminster.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Armed Services
Government
Helping People

Day to Day

If there's somebody that I've identified as a prolific car thief, a great day would involve me and my partners locating and arresting them, and then hopefully obtaining some kind of confession or statement that's going to help the prosecution hold this person accountable for their crimes. I also really enjoy the excitement of putting together the operations that catch these criminals, which we usually set up by studying their habits and using bait cars to sting them.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You have to be a team player, you have to be able to multitask, you need to be self-motivated, and you need to be organized. A lot of what we do is common sense, but it's not necessarily just having street smarts; rather, you need a wealth of life experiences that can help you in the field. You have to be a compassionate, ethical person who doesn't just look at the law as black and white, but instead sees the problems at hand and wants to solve those problems in ways that will benefit everyone.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

You pretty much have to have a college education to be considered in the police force because it's so competitive now. You don't necessarily need a criminal justice degree, but any degree is better than none. Aside from that, your first step should be doing your research and finding out what the job is really about. That can mean volunteering at your local police department, going on ride-alongs, etc. It's not the job that you see on TV, so get in there and see if it's right for you.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

certification
Associate's Degree
undergrad
Bachelor
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
graduate
Graduate
Organizational Leadership

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I can't succeed at this."