The members of the Pasadena Police Department would like to extend our condolences to the family of Volunteer Don Zimmerman who recently passed away at the young age of 99. As a 26 year member of the Volunteer Mounted unit Don has proven to be an exemplary volunteer for the City of Pasadena, contributing to the welfare of the community in a unique way for many years. In 1985, the Pasadena Police Department recognized the need to have passive patrol in the more remote areas of the city including the Arroyo Seco. The Pasadena Police Department wanted to have “eyes and ears” coverage in areas not routinely visited by patrol units. They decided to take advantage of the equestrians that rode through the area on a daily basis. Don didn’t hesitate to offer his services. Originally set up as a Level III Reserve Police Officer program, the position required POST mandated training including a PC 832 course, firearms training and First Aid/CPR certification. Additional training requirements included three ride alongs in patrol car and a helicopter ride. Don breezed through the training. Of course he was younger then; he was only 72.
Over the years Don has kept watch over the Arroyo Seco Park an average of three mornings a week. During that time he has cleaned up transient camps, kept a watchful eye for fire risks, broke up beer parties, reminded dog owners of the leash law (even to the point of handing out home-made leashes,) helped lost people and shared of the history of the Arroyo to anyone who wanted to know. He has made many friends. His constant presence not only brought smiles to the faces of those he contacted but created a sense of security and safety. Twice during his career with the Volunteer Mounted Unit Don had to keep calm and use his skills to get emergency services to injured riders. In 2001, a fellow Volunteer Mounted Unit member was seriously injured when her horse fell off the trail. Don radioed for help, saw to the welfare of the rider until the ambulance arrived, and then made sure her horse got back to the barn and vetted. It was clear that he put his responsibilities as a volunteer above his own personal needs. Don was and will remain a shining example of volunteerism and a positive reflection of the City of Pasadena and its Police Department. He promoted the concept of volunteer community outreach and put a friendly face behind the badge. The good will and positive public relations he represented cannot be translated into numbers but he is the definitive model of an equestrian, a mentor, a friend, a historian, and a law enforcement representative.