Irvine police Sgt. Sarah Tunnicliffe oversees the Community Police Academy.

Police perspective


Sgt. Sarah Tunnicliffe, who leads a team of 10 in the Irvine Police Department, shares her insights on policing America’s safest city.

Why did you become a police officer?

My dad was a police officer for more than 35 years. We get to help people and do something dynamic and different every day.

What makes a great police officer?

You have to want to be here and want to make a difference for somebody, but understand that the difference can be really big or really small.

Tell us one fun fact about you.

I can’t whistle. You always see on TV motor officers whistling really loud to get everyone’s attention. I have to yell as loudly as I can and hope they’ll listen.

Who were your role models?

Both my parents. With my dad, I saw his work ethic and devotion to doing the right thing to help people. From my mom, I gained this sense of family and the protection of people. She stayed home to help raise us until I was in middle school, and she also took care of kids in the neighborhood.

You lead the Community Police Academy. Tell us why partnership with residents is so important.

Partnering with residents through our various programs allows us to build trust and become part of the community. When you get those one-on-one conversations with people, you get a real unfiltered sense of what’s important to them.

Why is Irvine America’s safest city?

Residents want to engage with the police. They want us to be here and partner with us.

Learn more about the Irvine Police Department and its Community Police Academy at

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