La Habra Detective Craig Hentcy doesn’t offer up a list of all the great things he’s accomplished in his 20 years in law enforcement preferring to instead keep his head down and get the work done.
He doesn’t brag about the 283 cases he closed last year with the La Habra PD or how his investigation skills helped track down and arrest a prolific bank robber and an accused murderer.
Good thing his supervisors, his wife and the La Habra American Legion Post 267 are there to make sure his hard work gets recognized.
Hentcy, on Tuesday, Feb. 16, was named Officer of the Year at the 51st annual American Legion Police and Firefighter Awards.
“I am truly humbled,” said Hentcy, as he accepted his plaque. “This means a lot to me.”
According to La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price, Hentcy’s work has made a big impact on the community.
“Craig is an exceptional detective and has a solid work ethic,” Price said. “He is compassionate when dealing with people and is courteous and friendly.”
Hentcy joined La Habra PD in 2008 as a police officer after serving four years with the Los Angeles Police Department, then eight with Whittier PD, which is where he met his wife of 12 years, Lori.
He was assigned to General Investigations in 2011 to work auto theft, auto burglary and robbery, where he handled numerous complex cases, including a take-over robbery at a local AT&T store.
Hentcy’s investigation work led to the arrest of four suspects, who are all now facing life sentences.
Then, in 2014, his caseload shifted to working homicides, assaults, arson and kidnapping cases.
With these cases, his wife said, Hentcy’s commitment to law enforcement really shined.
“People always say, ‘don’t take things too personally with the job’,” Lori Hentcy said. “One of the things that makes Craig a great detective is he does take it personally. He gets to know the victims or friends of the victims and keeps in constant contact with them.”
“He works tirelessly to solve his cases.”
Among the highlights of Hentcy’s work in 2015 was a 10-year-old case involving an abused baby.
In 2005, an 11-month-old girl was shaken by a man who was living with the baby’s mother and the infant suffered severe brain trauma.
At the time, the man charged with the abuse pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison, but Hentcy kept tabs on the case.
When that girl died last year, as a result of the abuse she suffered a decade earlier, he successfully filed murder charges against the suspect, who is now facing trial.
The detective also was key in finding and arresting the man accused of murdering and dumping Lompoc resident, Emma Posadas’s body in La Habra on July 21, 2014.
Hentcy conducted key interviews that led investigators to the suspect — Posadas’ son, 30-year-old Gabriel Espinoza.
Two days before Christmas, Hentcy visited Posadas’ family at their home to share the news the suspect had been arrested.
They cried and told him they left an empty place setting to honor and remember the 59-year-old woman with the infectious laugh.
Espinoza is currently awaiting trial on a capital murder case.
Price continued down the list of accomplishments and Hentcy kept his eyes fixed on his hands folded on the table — an obvious sign the attention felt uncomfortable for the humble detective.
As he accepted his award, Hentcy said he couldn’t do so without first honoring God, his wife and those he works with every day.
“I come to work each day and try to do my part in my community and for my department,” he said. “And I have to thank my colleagues. I couldn’t do any of this without (their help). This is a team effort.”