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For the First-Time Ever, an African-American is California’s Highway Patrol’s Top Cop

By Madlen Grgodjaian, California Black Media

Day’s before the close of Black History month, a bit of black history was made atop the ranks of the California Highway Patrol.

Governor Jerry Brown swore in Warren Stanley, a CHP officer of over three decades, as the California law enforcement agency’s commissioner during a Feb. 26 ceremony at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Stanley is the first African-American ever to lead the CHP. The man of law said he is very humbled to be appointed to his new post by Brown.

“I’m going to do everything I can everyday to make the state of California a little bit safer and a great place to live,” Stanley said.

The new CHP commissioner has held every rank in the department including field training officer, lieutenant of the Border Division Investigative Services Unit, commander of the CHP Academy, and deputy commissioner.

Employed by the CHP since 1982, Stanley now leads the largest state law enforcement agency in the nation composed of over 11,000 employees. Stanley will earn nearly $260,000 a year in his new role.

Raised in Central Valley’s Merced County Dos Palos, the commissioner always knew he wanted to be in law enforcement. Stanley graduated from the CHP academy when he was 20 and worked his way up the ranks.

The Sacramento resident graduated from the FBI’s National Executive Institute, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Los Angeles.

Stanley was appointed to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, Staff in 2010 and two years later earned the rank of Assistant Commissioner, Field – making him one of few to hold both positions within the CHP.

Brown made Stanley acting CHP Commissioner in 2017, taking the reins from former Commissioner Joe Farrow.

On Feb. 9 Brown announced Stanley’s appointment as Commissioner of the CHP. Acting Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Annis said Stanley would excel in his position.

“CHP Commissioner Stanley has served the public for more than 35 years with the California Highway Patrol, excelling at every role from patrol officer to deputy commissioner where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the CHP,” Annis said.

“Warren has led the CHP’s response in the face of some of the worst natural disasters in this state’s history. We know that under his leadership the department will continue to uphold its mission.”

The 56-year-old is a proud public servant who is determined to create trust among the public and CHP by breaking race and ethnic lines. Stanley and his team are actively involved in a variety of communities, including the African American community.

“Our CHP officers in L.A. County a few years ago created a community engagement team,” said Stanley. “That team works directly with educational leaders, spiritual leaders, political leaders, and other community leaders in the African American community, so we can get better ties and be better engaged. Find out what their needs are and what services they’re looking for. I’ve been meeting with several leaders down there in Southern California.”

In 2015, Assembly Bill 953 was enacted which prohibits a peace officer from engaging in racial profiling and requires training to prescribe patterns, practices, and protocols that prevent racial profiling. Existing law requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to conduct a study of the data that is voluntarily collected by jurisdictions that have instituted a program of data collection with regard to racial profiling.

AB 953 requires the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board produce a report each year on past and current statuses of racial and identity profiling with policy recommendations for eliminating it. Stanley is a RIPA board member and will be implementing this process into the CHP in July.

“I can use the feedback from that data and bring it back to my executive staff and to my personnel and say, ‘Here is what the data is showing us that is going on in these communities, here are the stops they are making and here is how they’re handling them,’” Stanley said. “It’ll give us a lot of feedback we can use for training and to enhance our operations, and to enhance our trust with the communities that we serve.”

What It Do with the LUE: Talon Network

By Lue Dowdy

The Talon Network is WHAT IT DO!

I always say how the Inland Empire (I.E.) is saturated with so much talent. Right here in my own backyard of San Bernardino I know of several gifted individuals, and one of those individuals is Lata Wilson.

Lata Wilson who was born and raised in the I.E. has launched his own network titled, “Talon Network.” This is something big. It provides opportunities for aspiring artists out this way, as well as all over. I’m totally excited for Lata and his team.

The Talon Network is a live streaming television network that offers 24-hours of original programming, in addition to individual productions for your viewing pleasure via tablet, cell phone or smart television. The network specializes in offering you unique productions that are developed with true artistry in mind without the slanted agendas and commercialization of other networks.

The company’s slogan is “Everybody’s Important,” and they stand firm on that. If you ever find yourself in need of any of the services listed above, please do not hesitate. Tap in now to the Talon Network at thetalonnetwork.com.

Until next time L’s!

Exclusive Interview: Actress Stephanie Charles Chats on Tyler Perry’s ‘The Paynes’

Stephanie Charles

Stephanie Charles

By Naomi K. Bonman

To kick off Women’s History Month, I did an exclusive interview with a rising actress. Ms. Stephanie Charles is an actress and producer. She has been acting for a decade since childhood, but she is known for her roles in Adulterers (2015), Instant Mom (2013) and NCIS (2003). Her most current role is playing Nyla in Tyler Perry’s latest series The Paynes, which is a spin off of House of Paynes.

Ms. Charles chatted with me about her inspirations in getting into acting, her current role in “The Paynes” and her next career moves. This rising star is definitely on the move.

So for those who don’t know you or need to be re-introduced, can you briefly describe who you are, where you grew up and all of that fun stuff?

Oh, yeah. I’m Stephanie Charles. I was born in Boston and raised in Haiti until I was six years old and then I moved to [Los Angeles] around 8-years-old. I was signed to Universal Motown for a couple of years with a group called MRZ. It didn’t pan out, but I’ve been acting as well since I was a kid off and on and I’ve been focused on it for the last seven years. 

So you are on The Payne’s which is Tyler Perry’s spin off of House of Paynes. What character do you play and how do you identify with her?

I play Nila. She is a single mother of two who volunteers at a church and an after school program which gave her solace while she deals with an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. Mrs. Ella and Mr. Curtis are like the main characters and that’s when they come in and try to save Nila from her situation. 

I fell in love with this character with the fact that she is so different. The situation of her being [in an] abusive [relationship], she was homeless and she has two kids is so far from me, so the excitement of getting into character and doing my research was pretty much the fun part of it. As well as growing as an actor. 

Is this the first season of The Paynes?

Yes! This is the first season of The Paynes. It aired January 16 I believe. That was the first air. It comes on every Friday night at 9 p.m. on OWN. 

For those who haven’t tuned in yet, what can they except to see, without giving too much away, give us a little teaser?

[Laughs] Just except a lot of laughter and some tears along the way. It has a perfect mix of obviously comedy first. And whoever is familiar with The House of Paynes, they know the formula of the balance of comedy and then some real life moments of tearing up and everything. It’s good for the whole family and anyone of any age. 

You mentioned that you started in a girl pop group, so are you still singing or just mainly focusing on acting right now?

I’m not singing at the moment. Right now I’m just 100 percent all on acting. But now let’s say I have an audition for a character that sings [laughs] that would be great! I would definitely do my warm ups and get that going, but right now acting is my 100 percent focus and my passion as well. 

Back in the day you had a small guest role in Sister, Sister, what other sitcoms were in coming up in your career?

I was in, I don’t know if you remember Smart Guy, that was actually Tia and Tamara Mowry’s little brother. I did ER, Bones and an old Robert Townsend show when I was a kid called The Parenthood.

So you’re used to comedies or family comedies?

I’m used to that, but I love all kinds of stuff. My favorite type of stuff to do and want to do and kind of cross over to is horror and Marvel or any action film with strong women characters and DC Comics. I like all that kind of stuff [laughs].

What other projects are you working on?

Right now I am auditioning and looking for projects to audition for and to work with. Whatever excites me and any opportunities that come my way. I also create my own content on social media with a group of people called FunnyDumbShitSquad. It’s on Instagram. We just create and put little projects and videos out and you know, fun stuff.

How did you guys get started with that?

I was in acting class so I know a lot of people, but me and my friend Dimitri Morantus wanted to be creative and be pro-active and take control of our careers, so we wanted to get a group of people together who write, produce and have the passion for acting and creating content in order to be pro-active, so we all came together and started to be consistent with it.

I also read that Jada is one of your inspirations, is she someone who you would love to work with one day and who else would you love to work with?

Yeahhh [laughs]! I would absolutely love to work with Jada Pinkett. I would love to also work with….who would I like to work with? I haven’t sat down lately, but I love Andy Serkis. I didn’t know that he was in Black Panther and the Avengers until I was looking him up, I was like “Wait a minute! He’s in it!” because I love him. So I would love to work with him. That would be a dream. 

I know you probably get this question asked a lot, but how was it working with Tyler Perry and the rest of the cast?

Cool as hell! They’re cool people man. There’s so much good energy. I love being around people who have such a good heart, work hard and make things comfortable for everyone. Tyler is definitely that guy. He works really, really fast paced but he’s also willing to let you be creative and express yourself which is an amazing situation to be in.

I like working with people and seeing their process of working, so that was pretty cool too seeing how everyone work because I like to learn and grow. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I love hanging out with my friends, chilling drinking wine and riding my bike.

What’s your advice to actors of color who are trying to land that one big role?

Confidence is a big thing. Don’t let others crush your dream and stay consistent. Consistency is key.

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