FAIRFIELD — He describes his beat as the bridge, although it is two bridges – the older Carquinez Bridge and its 10-year-old counterpart, the flashier Al Zampa Memorial Bridge.
Together, the bridges add up to a mile-and-a-half of highway patrolled by California Highway Patrol Officer Jay Brome. The 18-year CHP veteran is quick to add his beat also includes stretches of Interstate 80 in Vallejo and Interstate 780 that passes though Vallejo and Benicia.
For 2013, Brome was selected by his peers to be the Solano County Officer of the Year for the Highway Patrol.
Brome did not set out to be a cop. In college, his focus was political science and that was followed by stints working for members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. But Brome wanted to do more. He set his goal on public service and decided the highest form of public service was law enforcement.
Then Brome decided the best law enforcement job was with the California Highway Patrol.
“I shot for the top,” Brome said recently of his decision to join the CHP nearly two decades ago.
Brome draws pride from the family roots that echo the bridges and law enforcement.
“My maternal grandfather was a toll taker on the Carquinez bridge back in the 1930s,” he said. “At that time the toll takers were deputy sheriffs.”
Brome added that he has his grandfather’s badge, #12.
Brome, 49, is closely tied to the Vallejo community, having lived in the community with his longtime partner of 24 years.
Brome’s office is a Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, a recent change from the familiar Crown Victorias being discontinued by Ford. Explorers replaced the Crown Victorias at the Solano CHP office and are being phased in throughout the state.
“Its got a better visual horizon,” Brome says of the higher-profiled, beefier and roomier sport utility vehicle. “Its faster, has much better control and is a safer vehicle.”
One of Brome’s accomplishments in 2013 that contributed to the recognition by his peers was getting his third 10851 pin in his career, for finding and recovering 15 stolen cars.
While stolen cars are a routine part of CHP patrol duties, a fatal hit-and-run in April 2013 on Interstate 780 and Brome’s subsequent criminal investigation was noted by Brome’s boss, Sgt. Jason Hekker, as a major accomplishment for the year.
“When he investigates collisions, Jay ensures that not one stone is left unturned and that when prosecution is sought, the DA’s office can complete the case without question,” Hekker said recently.
Edilberto Alverez, 64, was driving to work on Interstate 780 when he was involved in a minor fender-bender accident. As Alvarez tried to assist the driver of the other car, he was struck and killed by a Cadillac Escalade, whose driver ran from the crash scene.
“Jay worked this case involving all the assets he could, including the DA’s office, the CHP Investigative Services officers, the media’s assistance and the FBI for identification of the suspect,” Hekker said “He tirelessly worked on the case, even during his off-duty hours, to ensure all pieces of this puzzle were exhausted and then built a case for prosecution through the Solano DA’s office.”
The Escalade driver is thought to have fled to Mexico and has a $1 million warrant outstanding for his arrest on a felony vehicular manslaughter charge.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.