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Melquiades "Mike" Ortiz

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Nightmares And Thoughts Of A Vietnam Vet
Melquiades "Mike" Ortiz  More Info

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The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is the largest sheriff's department in the world. In addition to specialized services, such as the Sheriff's Youth Foundation, International Liaison and Employee Support Services, the Department is divided into ten divisions, each headed by a Division Chief.

 

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The Sheriff's Department of Los Angeles County was formed in April, 1850. Elections for the office of Sheriff were held annually until 1882, when the term was increased to two years; in 1894 the term was increased to four years. The first Sheriff of Los Angeles County was George T. Burrill and his staff consisted of two Deputies.

 

Twenty-four men have served Los Angeles County as Sheriff since 1850: nineteen were elected and six were appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve the unexpired term of their predecessors. Two were killed in the line of duty. Of those appointed, four were re-elected to the office. The youngest man ever elected to the office of Sheriff was William B. Rowland, who was sworn in when he was 25 years old (in 1871), and was re-elected three times. The record for the longest consecutive service goes to Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz, who completed 51 years in the department, from deputy in 1907, to being appointed Sheriff in 1932 and then retiring in 1958. Our previous Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sherman Block, entered the department as a Deputy Sheriff in 1956 and continued up through the ranks until he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to succeed Sheriff Pitchess in 1982. In June of 1982, Sheriff Block was elected to a full four year term as Sheriff of Los Angeles County.

 

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Melquiades “Mike” Ortiz joined the Marine Corps in May of 1962.  He received an honorable discharge after over four years of service which included a tour in Vietnam from August 1965 to April 1966. Melquiades “Mike” Ortiz’s retired in 1997 after law enforcement  career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that spanned more than 28 years. Melquiades “Mike” Ortiz is the author of Nightmares and Thoughts of a Vietnam Vet.

 

Melquiades “Mike” Ortiz said of his book, “I write this book in hopes of reaching other service personnel or citizens that are experiencing the same feelings of, guilt, anger, or fears that I have suffered. because of a traumatic experience. I have learned that not only war, but also any kind of traumatic event can cause the symptoms of anger, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, isolation, flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts. My nightmares started before I left Vietnam, and they intensified with time. I did not know why I slowly changed, but these changes of uncontrollable outbursts of anger, frustration, isolation, anxiety, loneliness, and the horrible nightmares and flashbacks of Vietnam, caused a lot of suffering not only for me, but for my family, friends, and loved ones. It took me years to control my temper, and I learned to work only at night to keep the nightmares in check. This helped, but I still did not know the actual problem, only that there was something wrong, this kept me with stomach problems, chest pains, headaches, and edgy for many years. I would like to thank the Veterans' Administration and the Loma Linda Veterans' Hospital for the help I have received through them, and for giving my nightmares a name, "PTSD." Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that is what they diagnosed, and even though I refused to accept this at first, now I am learning how to deal with my problem. The professional and qualified personnel at the Veteran's Hospital have given me strength, tools, training, and the support to fight my demons, and to write this book. I would also like to thank my wife, Elizabeth, my sons Michael, Paul, Paulo, Mark, and my daughters, Rosie and Majalia, for their support, encouragement, and understanding, to help me get out of the dark, and fight my demons.”

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