K9 Bruno isn’t the only star at the Anaheim Police Department.
The recently retired K9 officer – who made international news after being shot while searching for an armed gang member – was just one of several police officers and volunteers honored for their service at the APD’s 2014 Awards Ceremony and Retirement Dinner.
More than 500 people cheered and gave Bruno, who was wearing the medal around his neck, and his handler, R.J. Young, a standing ovation when they took the stage at The Grove.
“I appreciate (you) from the bottom of my heart,” a choked-up Young told his police colleagues.
Bruno was among six officers to receive the prestigious Distinguished Service awards, which also went to:
• Officer Eric Anderson, Officer Ted Petropulos and Detective Matthew Bradley, for saving the life of a female victim during a domestic disturbance call. The victim was found bound and gagged in an apartment filled with firearms; the male suspect was arrested.
• Officer Dave Herman, for his role in the arrest of suspects believed to be responsible for more than 20 “take-over” robberies in Orange County.
• Investigator Kelly Phillips, for his efforts in an incident involving a stolen vehicle and subsequent foot pursuit where gunfire was exchanged.
Chief Raul Quezada thanked police volunteers, community supporters, civilian employees and “our field personnel who risk their lives every day and every night to protect our community.”
The award winners include:
• Lifesaving Awards: Officer Jason Smith, for assisting a man down on a sidewalk with lifesaving efforts; and Officer Robert Benavidez, for preventing an intoxicated man wandering the streets from committing suicide.
• Retiring Officer Mike Brannigan, Sgt. Mike Bustamante, Forensic Supervisor Jim Conleyand Correctional Officer Sandra Valladolid were honored for their service.
Brannigan presented Quezada with a sign to hang in the police department that reads, “Be careful out there.”
• The Joseph T. Molloy Career Achievement Award was bestowed on Officer David Heinzel
• Explorer Sgt. Arumi Hernandez, Harold A. Bastrup Police Explorer of the Year
• Meeka Gil-Casas, Community Member Recognition, East District of Anaheim.
• Pastor Nathan Zug, Community Member Recognition, West District.
• Lynda Santos, Community Member Recognition, Central District.
• Mary Lepman, Community Member Recognition, South District.
• Mari Tafoya, Community Member Recognition, Psychiatric Emergency Response Team.
• Marie Avena, Community Member Recognition, Coast to Coast Foundation
• Sensei Fred Mason, Community Member Recognition, Cops 4 Kids karate program
• Anna Ward and Shawn Funkhouser, Community Member Recognition, for assisting officers responding to a bank robbery in east Anaheim
The Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized Officer Steve Salicos as their V.F.W. Police Officer of the Year.
Officer David Watson received the Trauma Intervention Program of Orange County’s “2013 Heroes With A Heart Award.”
Division Employees of the Year:
Operations: Officer of the Year Jonathan McClintock; Employee of the Year Rachel Lozano; Investigator of the Year Officer John Roman
Special Operations: Traffic Control Supervisor Maria Vega Velez was named Employee of the Year, Investigator Ed Arevalo was named Investigator of the Year
Investigations: Victim Advocate Elia Renteria, Employee of the Year
Operations Support:Robert Conklin, Jr., Officer of the Year; Correctional SupervisorEd Bennett, Employee of the Year
Support Services: Employees of the Year: Communications Supervisor Steven Querryand Records Specialist Max Silavong
Chief’s Division: Chaplain’s Corps, Professional Staff of the Year (Lead Chaplain Nigel Morris, Chaplains Bryan Crow, Kerry Duerr, Tim Fryer, Jimmy Gaston and David Lazo)
Reserve Officer of the Year: Steve Sheflin
Meritorious Service Awards: Sgt. Jerry Blair, Sgt, Craig Friesen, Det. Bruce Linn, Senior Property & Evidence Technician Nicole Rapp, Officers Jesse Romero and Cesar Vasquez.
Unit of the Year: the Criminal Intelligence Unit, led by Sgt. Jimmy Rodriguez, Investigators Omar Adham, Ted Lopez, Jason Santy, Robert Warren, PJ Wann, Chuck Schroth, and prior to his promotion Sgt. James Griswold.
Volunteers honored were:
* (up to 500 hours of service): Kathleen Barr, Carolyn Bessire, William Farid, Jan Kentopian, Julie Kline, Alan Marcus, Maxine Marcus, MaryAnn Mecke, Laurie Meredith, Al Morgan, Jr., David Simkin, Donald Smith, Robin Smith, Tina Sorenson, Robert Witter
* (between 500 and 1,000 hours): Perfecto Alferos, Gerry Bordelon, Georgian Browne, Marge Herman, Pam Holsinger, Lou Jordan, Janice Mazza, Gene Nelson
* (between 1,000 and 1,500 hours): Gary Aagesen, June Aagesen, Sylvia Abbott, Pat Bartolone, Sandy DiSario, Ericka Flores, Tommy Ruiz, Sr., Jerry Silverman, Wanda Smith-Brace, Don Williams
* (between 1,500 and 2,000 hours): Lois Arnold, Steve Bartolone, Gene Benedict, Mary Collier
* (between 2,000 and 2,500 hours): Bert Crawford, Raul Valdivia
* (between 2,500 to 3,000 hours): Charlie Jeung, Earle Moriarty, Elaine Proko
* (between 3,000 and 4,000 hours): Don Baldwin
Two other volunteers, Helen Scott (4,267) and Judy Benvenuto (4,519), received lifetime achievement award status, joining other lifetime achievement recipients Melva Snyder (4,279), Don Schilling (5,434), Dee Moriarty (6,217) and Loretta Ogden(6,576). Claire Neises was singled out for volunteering an eye-popping 11,124 hours.
Sandy DiSario, Don Williams and Perfecto Alferos were honored at the recent “Seniors Making a Difference” volunteer recognition program.