The list is long, and those on it deserving.
Whether it was working with the homeless, shutting down crime-laden gambling houses or implementing new programs to benefit how officers work in the field, the work that makes the Westminster Police Department successful was highlighted Thursday, Feb. 25, at the annual awards ceremony.
“Tonight is one of the most important events we host as a police department,” said Acting Chief Dan Schoonmaker. “It provides us with an opportunity to publicly honor our employees who have exemplified service and have demonstrated, at the highest level, their commitment to making Westminster great.”
Schoonmaker added although everyone honored in the ceremony should be recognized for their stand-out work in 2015, all employees should be commended.
“Each and every day the men and women of the Westminster Police Department are doing incredible and heroic deeds in their service to this community,” he said. “Our employees are dedicated professionals who do a tough job extremely well.”
Here’s a look at this year’s honorees:
United States Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Officer Jeremy Fletcher
United States Marie Corps Major Det. Brian Perez
MADD Award: Officer Stewart De-Jong
De-Jong was honored for making 40 drunken driving arrests in 2015.
He will be recognized by MADD for his work and will be honored at an upcoming City Council meeting.
Award of Excellence: Cmdr. Al Panella, Sgts. Eddie Esqueda and Cord Vandergrift
These employees were recognized for acts of outstanding service that involved the Westminster community.
Volunteer of the Year: Bruce Richardson
Richardson has been with the department for four years and serves in a variety of capacities, including supplementing patrol and helping citizens with vacation checks.
His colleagues said Richardson has a solid work ethic and always arrives to the department with a positive attitude.
Part-time Employee of the Year: Police Aide Jorge Escobar
Escobar has worked in the professional standards unit for a year and is seen as an asset to the department for his willingness to help, friendly and professional demeanor and knowledge in a variety of areas.
Civilian Employee of the Year: Julie Sprague
Sprague worked in the records department and was seen as a source of knowledge and experience that everyone at the department could tap into.
In September, Sprague took over for her supervisor during an extended absence and transitioned into the leadership position with ease.
She now works in payroll, where officers said she always has a smile on her face and is willing to help.
Top Shot Award: Sgt. Derrick Vincent
This award is based off a firearms training in which officers are scored on their shooting accuracy.
The top 10 percent in the department were also recognized: Officers James Nguyen and Jason Stouffer; Detectives Ryan Bedard and Mike Harvey; Cpl. Phuong Pham and Sgts. Darrin Upstill, Cord Vandergrift and Bill Drinnin.
Community Service Award: Officer Dave Ferronato
Ferronato was honored for his work as a Homeless Liaison Officer for the police department.
He was the department’s first Homeless Outreach and Positive Engagement Officer, a program that launched in 2013, and last year was instrumental in working with the city for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program.
HPRP has engaged more than 40 homeless in the city and has helped several return home to family.
Lifesaving Medal: Officers Jerad Kent and Derek Link
Kent and Link rescued several people who were trapped in their vehicles after a major traffic collision.
One of the vehicles was on fire and Link helped pull that man, who was unresponsive, to safety.
Kent tended to the other victims and helped free them from their badly crunched vehicle.
Medal of Merit: Officer Tim Walker
Walker’s keen investigative skills helped the police department track down and arrest a man wanted for shooting and killing a man in March 2015.
The officer obtained critical information that helped lead detectives to the suspect.
Because the case has not yet been adjudicated, police could not release details about what kind of information Walker uncovered that played such a key role in the case, but did say Walker’s work went above and beyond.
Ron Weber Sr. Investigator of the Year: Det. Kyle Seasock
Seasock has been instrumental in several major cases for the Westminster Police Department in 2015.
He helped shut down two “slap houses” — where gambling, drugs and prostitution were taking place — resulting in the recovery of $65,000, three handguns, seven arrests, gambling machines and methamphetamine.
Seasock also was the lead investigator on two human trafficking cases involving juveniles victims, which resulted in the arrest of a criminal team in Texas that was exploiting young girls.
He also helped close several illegal marijuana dispensaries, shut down a butane hash oil lab that turned out about 120 pounds of marijuana and was lead investigator on a search warrants that resulted in police confiscating drugs and guns.
Supervisor of the Year: Sgt. Kevin MacCormick
MacCormick has managed the the department’s bike team and supervised and helped start the WPD K9 program.
He is a member of the Honor Guard and West County SWAT, and his peers said he is an asset to patrol.
MacCormick also serves the department in a community relations capacity helping to coordinate events with Special Olympics and the yearly Westminster Police Officers’ Memorial bicycle ride in Sacramento.
Officer of the Year: Officer Daniel Flynn
Flynn, described as humble and a hard worker, has seen many accomplishments in 2015, earning him the Officer of the Year award.
As a field training officer, he helped mentor new officers and authored a manual for FTOs to use in their training.
He also submitted a proposal to have the department put military-grade, plate-carrying vests in every patrol car.
Flynn’s idea is currently in the implementation phase.
Rookie of the Year: Officers Marcela Lopez and Malcom Pierson III
This year, after deliberation, two officers were chosen to share the honor of Rookie of the Year.
Lopez in 2015 made 141 arrests and wrote 562 reports. Detectives said her reports are thorough, which helps them better do their jobs.
She is always willing to stay late when needed, and is commended for her tenacious work going after criminals when she isn’t responding to calls.
Pierson in 2015 made 148 arrests and wrote 717 reports. Even when inundated with work, Pierson always offers to help his colleagues when they need it.
His supervisors said he has a keen eye for spotting potential suspects and is adept at using search and seizure laws to outsmart the criminals.
Citizen Above and Beyond Award: Jason Young
Young was commended for his quick response when a man was attacked by a pit bull.
Young is a mechanic and was working at a home in November 2015 when he heard screaming and what sounded like a dog attacking someone.
He grabbed a fire extinguisher, ready to break up the attack, when a man came running out of the home.
The man was profusely bleeding and Young quickly grabbed his first-aid kit and helped tend to the man’s severe dog bites until help arrived.
The dog bite victim was taken to a local trauma center for treatment and he has recovered from his injuries.
Police said Young may have saved the man’s life by choosing to get involved and honored him with their citizen award.