Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

Brea PD Historian, Officer Celmer, to share historical collection with BBON

3 years ago by in ( BBON , City Guide , News , Old/New , Uncategorized , Welcome to Brea , What's New! )
Who knew Brea has a police historian? Officer Jason Celmer, the historian for Brea PD, preceded Officer Dennis Gray when he retired.

    Many of you longtime residents of Brea may know Jason Celmer, as his family has been residing in the city for many decades. Celmer attended Montessori of Brea, followed by Arovisita Elemenary School, Brea Junior High, and Brea Olinda High School, graduating in 1993. BOHS Class of 1993 was the first class to complete all four years at the new high school located on Wildcat Way, said Celmer.

      Can you find Officer Jason Celmer? In the picture dating back to February 17, 1996, Celmer poses along with fellow Brea Cadet Tac team. Courtesy of Jason Celmer.

      Can you find Officer Jason Celmer? In the picture dating back to February 17, 1996, Celmer poses along with fellow Brea PD Tac Team. Courtesy of Jason Celmer.


        While talking to Celmer at the police station in his office, he was taking down memory lane reminiscing about orange groves, old Brea Downtown with one lane in each direction, and the unique downtown Chinese themed Red Lantern Theater, which opened in 1922 and closed in the 1970’s.

          In his early teens, his longtime career with the city began 27 years ago working as a basketball coach in the community services division at the age of 15 1/2 years old. Current Assistant City Manager, Chris Emeterio, who is also a longtime Brean, hired him. Nineteen of those years, he has served as a Brea PD officer, hired in January of 1997.

            “I’ve been self-described a history geek my entire life.” chuckled Celmer. I especially enjoy touching history and going places and seeing things where I can lay my hands on it and be in the places,’’ he said.

              His predecessor, former Officer Gray, who lives nearby in Fullerton, often connect regarding police memorabilia. Way back then, Gray started writing history for the Brea PD, storing a lot of information. His history flyers are still given out, though not up-to-date, because his collection of history stopped in 2001-2002 when Gray retired, according to Celmer. “Everything that I have been trying to save for the last 10 or 15 years are things that he collected and essentially left to me, as being the local person who was interested in history,” replied Celmer.

                Celmer became the go-to person taking over Gray’s presentations in the citizen’s academy for the department of history. He receives emails containing historical information; people drop things off at the front desk such as a retiree’s 1960’s badge, from the family of Chief Atkins. He also works with organizations such as the Brea Historical Society when they contact him.

                  Bin of Brea PD police memorabilia. Courtesy Jason Celmer.

                  Bin of Brea PD police memorabilia. Courtesy Jason Celmer.


                    Something’s are unidentifiable. On top of the memorabilia pile seen in his office, lays a wood frame of an unknown officer posed in front of a house. Celmer said, “Nobody on staff knows who is it.” There is not a description on the photograph, but he and his fellow officers figure it can be traced back to the 1940’s.

                      Celmer is very busy. He is the president of Brea PD Association and also the department’s liaison for the Brea PD Alumni, which he refers to as the “Old Fogies,” saying some of them don’t mind the title.

                        Although he wears many hats, he still manages his time well and is trying his best to carry the torch in preserving Brea PD's rich history.

                          A fun spirited person, it will be an honor and joy working with Officer Celmer in sharing our police department's history--as we celebrate 100 years in 2017!
Author :

"Thank you" for visiting Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON). First & foremost, I am a proud mother & wife. I am also a well-rounded freelance consultant. But you can call me an enthusiastic cheerleader, supporting and promoting the city of Brea and its historic iconic Charlie's Clock turned "Charlie the Clock cartoon character!" Click on the front page illustration to read about the beloved time traveling talking clock!!

  • Carolyn Campbell

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