The 39-year-old father of five and long-time community activist has spent the better part of his adult life in Brentwood, involved in such organizations as the Rotary Club, the Brentwood Advisory Committee and the Brentwood Community Response Team.
When his wife Patricia was killed in a car accident on Vasco Road in 2004, he helped form the Vasco Road Advisory Task Force, a community coalition group that has been instrumental in securing new safety measures along the dangerous corridor.
That's where he's been.
Where he's headed is on to another challenge as the recently elected president of the Brentwood Police Activities League (PAL). The long-running after-school youth program is one of the city's most successful - and well-kept - secrets.
"People sometimes hear the name PAL and they think it's a bunch of policemen playing softball," said Altman of the after-school program founded in Brentwood in l998. "But what it's really about is the kids, and one of my goals as president is to take PAL to the next level and continue to grow the program and serve the community. To continue what Jim started."
Jim is PAL founder and longtime president Jim Wangeman. After serving 10 years as the program's commander-in-chief, Wangeman stepped down last month, saying, "Ten years is long enough, and I'm not getting any younger. I believe in the program and I believe Jeff will do a great job. I have great confidence in him and his abilities."
"Well, they are some tough shoes to fill, that's for sure," said Altman. "Jim (Wangeman) wasn't voted Citizen of the Year for nothing. He's the only president PAL has ever had, and he's really made it what it is today."
PAL is a nationwide program staffed and locally run by volunteer police officers, community volunteers and school staff. The Brentwood program currently serves over 300 students in grades six through eight. The program meets every day from 3 to 6 p.m at Brentwood's three middle schools.
"It's really an intervention and prevention program for kids who are left alone in the afternoon, or are latch-key kids," said Altman. "PAL offers help with homework after school, gives the kids healthy snacks and fosters a positive relationship with the police department. In this day and age, kids need mentoring."
Altman estimates it costs approximately $200,000 a year to keep the PAL program running. Roughly half the dollars come from the city of Brentwood. PAL also partners with the Brentwood Youth Commission, the Brentwood Police Department, the Brentwood Parks and Recreation Department and local organizations such as the East Contra Costa County Historical Society.
PAL's biggest fundraiser, the annual Brentwood BBQ King Cookoff, will be held Feb. 3 at the Harvest Park Bowl in Brentwood. The family-friendly event is open to the public and tickets are still available.
"We just try to do all we can to keep the program alive and to continue to concentrate on the youth," said Altman, who added that PAL is always looking for volunteers to sit on its board, as well as volunteer for events. "We're good for the kids and we're good for the community, too. It's an easy program to get behind and it exposes kids to a lot of positive things. I look forward to the coming year."
For more information on the PAL program, call 516-5309.