It was all about history, hard work, and heroism as the Anaheim Police Department celebrated its annual Awards and Retirement Banquet on Thursday, May 17, at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Before a full house, retirees as well as award-winning police, explorers, and cadets were feted.
Acting Chief Julian Harvey said in a department like his and a city like Anaheim it was hard to winnow down award winners because, “every day there are amazing things happening here.”
“We recognize exemplary service,” he said. “It’s important to be recognized before their peers and families for a job well done.”
In a ceremony packed with highlights, officers were recognized for acts of bravery, saving lives, and performing exceptionally through long careers. Citizens were also acknowledged for their work with police as were cadets and students who received scholarships from the Anaheim Police Association Survivors and Scholarship Fund.
One of the signature awards of the day was the Joseph T. Molloy Career Achievement Award. Molloy, the department’s 28th chief, died suddenly and unexpectedly on the job in 1993. However, he remains a towering and beloved figure in the department.
The award this year went to Forensic Specialist II Scott Flynn, who has been with the department 30 years and is one of the stalwarts in the Crime Scene Investigative unit.
In addition to having a reputation as a scrupulous and thorough investigator, he also has taught forensic classes in area colleges and been called as an expert witness in several of the city’s highest-profile murder cases.
After the ceremony, Flynn was still letting the award sink in and having his and the former chief’s names linked.
“I worked with Chief Molloy, so this means a lot to me,” Flynn said. “He was the gold standard.”
Investigator Jacob Slechta was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award for the role he played in a homicide and kidnapping case that led from Anaheim to San Diego and concluded with the victim being rescued, the suspect caught and arrested, and the murder weapon recovered.
Eight police officers, a citizen, and a cadet received Lifesaving Awards for successfully reviving people choking, in respiratory arrest, or suffering drug overdoses.
They were Correctional Sgt. Mark Debolt, who performed the Heimlich maneuver on a co-worker who was choking; Sgt. Dustin Ciscel and Disney Cast Member Michael Pagan, for saving the life of a 4-year-old girl who was choking at Downtown Disney; Sgt. Steve Peña and Sgt. James Cossin, for reviving a 53-year-old male who wasn’t breathing and was without a pulse; Officer Scott Edwards, for reviving an overdosing heroin user with the nasal spray Naloxone; Officer Ryan Crosby, who successfully performed CPR on a man who had no pulse and was not breathing; Officers Michael Riccardi and Michael Fleet, who successfully performed CPR on a man who had no pulse and was not breathing; and Cadet Ja-won Kim, a former EMT who while on a ridealong saved a man’s life by providing CPR.
The department also recognized the retirement of 17 sworn and civilian personnel.
One, Alisa Navarro, who was hired 35 years ago as a secretary, rose to executive secretary and later administrative assistant to the chief.
During her career she was at the right hand of eight chiefs and kept their affairs in order. In addition to the regular retirement recognition, she was awarded an extra gift from the chiefs she shepherded.
Also retired was Lt. Timothy Miller and his ’stache. The mustachioed cop, whose facial hair would make Sam Elliott proud, said his look was coming back into vogue with the return of “Magnum P.I.” to television.
Before leaving the stage, Miller asked officers to “make the most of every day. I challenge you to do that.”
The prestigious Legacy Award for the Unit of the Year went to the Community Policing Unit. In 2017, Central CPT successfully addressed a problem residence in the district that had drained police resources for over 20 years. East CPT identified a large increase in heroin use along State College Boulevard and figured out how to combat the problem. West CPT maintains the trespassing letter program, which creates a partnership between businesses and APD. Over the last year, West CPT has collaborated with Anaheim City Services and community groups, which has greatly reduced crime for local businesses and several parks within the West District.
The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) and the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) were created in 2013. The HOT team collaborates with different non-profit organizations to connect homeless individuals with services to reduce homelessness. Since its inception, over 950 individuals have been moved off the streets. PERT team officers collaborate with an OC Mental Health Clinician who responds to mental health-related complaints and emergencies. Since 2013, the PERT team has made three thousand mental health contacts and assisted with the placement of 610 individuals.
The event’s theme was the History of the Anaheim Police Department. Toward that end, a display in the lobby traced the department’s growth since its formation in 1870. The three-section display showed uniforms and technological artifacts and pictures through the years.
Also in the lobby was a large timeline of the career of former Chief Mark Stephenson, who severed in the police department from 1927 to 1969, excluding three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II, including 24 as chief of police. The timeline has been moved to police headquarters, where it will be on permanent display.
Before the banquet, as guests milled around the lobby and outdoor areas, they were treated to music by the Servite High Select Choir and the duo Log Entries, otherwise known as policemen Sal Piscopo and Troy Hill.
Although police often prefer to eschew or deflect the spotlight, Harvey asked them to reflect on all they do.
“Instead of taking it for granted,” he said, “take a moment to be proud.”
Other honorees were:
ANAHEIM POLICE ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Mikayla Marie Florendo, Zachary Grisotti, Amanda LaRochelle, Brennan Lee, Jameson Lee, Ryan Lynch, Liliana Valladares, and Kaitlyn Weber.
SGT. EDWARD “GUNNY” SMITH SCHOLARSHIP
HAROLD A. BASTRUP EXPLORER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Explorer Sgt. Raymond Magana
COMMUNITY MEMBER RECOGNITION
Wendy Tarvin from the Central District
Rahsan Grooms from the East District
Carmen Westberg from the West District
RANDALL W. GASON COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS
Officer Dan Hurtado
Anaheim Police Department’s Homicide Detail
DIVISION EMPLOYEES OF THE YEAR
Field Services Division: Officer Sheddi Skeete
Employee of the Year for the Field Services Division: Alicia Caldwell
Special Enforcement Division: Investigator of the Year Ryan Killeen
Employees of the Year for the Special Enforcement Division: Ashley Urban and Eva Mazzeo
Investigations Division: Detective of the Year Laura Lomeli
Investigations Division Employee of the Year: Jocabed Delgado
Administration Division Employee of the Year: Ploy Siriyotin
Support Services Division Employee of the Year: Elizabeth Anguiano
Community Services Division Officer of the Year: Kevin Moretti
Community Services Division Employee of the Year: Cadet Tara McNaught
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
Officer Brian Carrion
Sgt Rick Boyer