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Retired LAPD cop detects success in Saugus students

Posted: October 31, 2008 9:25 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Mike Thrasher, a retired LAPD homicide detective from the Hollywood division, speaks to a group of AVID students from Saugus High School regarding his 32 years of experience on the field.

 
A retired LAPD homicide detective from the Hollywood division told Saugus High School AVID students Friday the secret to success: motivation.

Advancement Via Individual Determination is a college preparatory program that increases students’ chances of enrolling in a four-year college.

Mike Thrasher spoke to the class about his career in law enforcement, starting with his experiences at the police academy.

“I wasn’t the biggest, I wasn’t the strongest, I wasn’t the fastest, and I wasn’t the smartest, but I was motivated to learn all I could about my chosen career,” Thrasher said, adding that he finished first in his class at the academy. “Get yourself properly motivated and you will be successful at whatever you choose to do in life.”

Thrasher worked in Hollywood for 22 years and told the students that while that may sound exciting, Tinseltown is really more gritty than glamorous.

“Hollywood is not all movie stars and celebrities — it’s a dirty, dingy crime-ridden place,” he said. “Although it was not a glamorous place to work, it was challenging.”

After talking about his career, Thrasher answered questions from the students. One student wanted to know if he had ever been hurt in the line of duty.

“I’ve had a few knock-down drag-outs, but I’ve never been seriously injured,” Thrasher said. “One time in police academy I thought, ‘What did I get myself into?’, but I decided it was what I wanted to do.”

Ninth -grader Karina Amado said she enjoyed hearing about Thrasher’s career.

“He had a lot of motivation and that helped him succeed,” said Karina. She gets motivation from her parents. “They motivate me to succeed by encouraging me.”

Thrasher, who has also spoken to students at other school functions and the Connecting to Success event, said that while he enjoyed talking to young people, public speaking is not his favorite activity.

“I think sometimes I’d rather be chasing a criminal down a dark alley than speaking in front of a group of people,” he said.

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