By Susan Motander
On Tuesday, word spread of the death of retired Monrovia Police Department Lieutenant Ezequiel P. Cerecerez. “Zeke,” who had retired just last September, was found dead at his home on Monday, June 29, of apparent natural causes. He was only 63.
Cerecerz was always the “Quiet One.” He was not a leader who yelled “Follow me,” but rather the sort who started walking in the right direction and was followed.
For a soft-spoken person he had a rather impressive background. While on active duty in the military, he was a Navy Seal, one of the most elite military units. In the naval reserve, he was an explosives ordinance diver. He also served as a U.S. Army Reserve Special Forces (Green Berets) Sergeant. Still waters do indeed run deep.
Cerecerez was known for his unflappable demeanor. “Zeke was the person who remained calm in the most difficult situations,” said retired M.P.D. Captain Terry Dochnal.
His roles at M.P.D. had him facing all those situations. He was a Training Officer, a Canine Officer, a SWAT Officer, a Special Enforcement Team Sergeant running a gang and narcotics unit, Community Policing Sergeant, and a Patrol Watch Commander as a Lieutenant.
“Zeke was passionate about his work and about making a difference in the lives of the officers he supervised,” said M.P.D. Captain Nels Ortland. “He was a knowledge seeker and sharer – working to enhance the knowledge and abilities of others.”
Ortland also remembered that Zeke “was a gifted individual and a very disciplined person. He was collegiate athlete [a gymnast] and an accomplished runner.”
Monrovia Police Chief Jim Hunt also noted Cerecerez’s love of education, saying, “Zeke had always been passionate about training and lifelong learning. He was excited about his retirement plans of teaching at Union institute and University.”
Hunt shared that Cerecerez was a graduate of the California Command College and Los Angeles Police Department Leadership Program (both distinguished and prestigious leadership training programs in law enforcement.)
“The reason his death is such a shock,” said Dochnahl, “is that Zeke was always in such great shape. He championed our Baker to Vegas Team for years, and was always ready for it,”
Baker to Vegas is the annual relay run by local police and sheriff’s departments in honor of police officers who have died in the line of duty. It raises funds for related charities and promotes camaraderie among law enforcement personnel.
Cerecerez is survived by his wife, three sons, and their families. Lieutenant Zeke Cerecerez was one of Monrovia Police Department’s finest and he will be greatly missed.