Awards and fond farewells at Anaheim Police Department banquet

By Greg Mellen

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.”

Administrative Assistant Alisa Navarro gives a hug to former Anaheim Police Chief John Welter as he and former Anaheim Police Chief Jimmie Kennedy honor her as she retires after 35 years of service with the Anaheim PD, much of that time spent as executive secretary to the various police chiefs. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“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.

Correctional Officer Abigail Vasquez sings the National Anthem next to the Anaheim PD’s Color Guard at the start of APD’s Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Anaheim PD Acting Chief Julian Harvey, left, presents Forensic Specialist II Scott Flynn with the Joseph T. Molloy Career Achievement Award with Pam Molloy, whose husband the award was named after.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.”

Anaheim PD Acting Chief Julian Harvey, left, stands next to Forensic Specialist II Scott Flynn after Flynn received the Joseph T. Molloy Career Achievement Award. Next to Flynn is Pam Molloy, whose husband the award was named after, and Capt. Mark Cyprien.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Receiving the APD Lifesaving Award are, from left, Ja-won Kim, Michael Fleet, Michael Riccardi, Ryan Crosby, Scott Edwards, Steve Peña, Dustin Ciscel, Michael Pagan and Mark Debolt. Not present is James Cossin.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Retirees, from left, Alisa Navarro, Lt. Tim Miller, Linda Davis, Correctional Officer Greg Blocher and Officer Chris Ned are honored during APD’s Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Recipients of the APA Survivors & Scholarship Fund are, from left, Mikayla Florendo, Zachary Grisotti, Amanda LaRochelle, Brennan Lee, Jameson Lee and Liliana Valladares. The awards were presented by Edgar Hampton and Glenn Miller, right. Not present were Kaitlyn Weber and Ryan Lynch.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Anneliese Kridle receives the Sgt. Edward “Gully” Smith Scholarship award from Edgar Hampton, left, and Glenn Miller.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey congratulates Raymond Magana for receiving the Explorer of the Year award.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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.

Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey applauds as Wendy Tarvin receives the Community Member Recognition award.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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:

Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey applauds as Rahsan Grooms receives the Community Member Recognition award.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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

Anneliese Kridle

Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey presents Carmen Westberg with the Community Member Recognition award.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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

Correctional Officer Abigail Vasquez sings “Hallelujah” during the Anaheim PD Awards & Retirement Banquet at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

RANDALL W. GASON COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS

Officer Dan Hurtado

DispatcherAmanda Medina

Anaheim Police Department’s Homicide Detail

APD Officer Dan Hurtado, center, receives the TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) award from Anaheim Council Members Denise Barnes and Stephen Faessel.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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

APD Police Dispatcher Amanda Medina, center, receives the California Public Safety Radio Association award from Anaheim Council Members Denise Barnes and Stephen Faessel.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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

The APD Homicide Detail receives the Orange County Homicide Investigators Association’s Case of the Year Award from Anaheim Councilman Stephen Faessel, right.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD

Officer Brian Carrion

Sgt Rick Boyer

APD Officer Shed Skeete (right) receives the Field Services Division Officer of the Year award from Capt. Steve Marcin.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Detention Facility Assistant Alicia Caldwell receives the Field Services Division Employee of the Year award from Capt. Steve Marcin.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Criminal Research Specialists Eva Mazzeo, left, and Ashley Urban receive the Special Enforcement Division Employees of the Year award from Capt. Steve Davis.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Det. Laura Lomeli receives the Investigations Division Detective of the Year award from Capt. Steve Davis.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Senior Office Specialist Jocabed Delgado receives the Investigations Division Employee of the Year award from Capt. Steve Davis.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Staff Analyst Ploy Siriyotin receives the Administration Division Employee of the Year award from Capt. Jarret Young.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Elizabeth Anguiana, right, receives the APD Support Services Division Employee of the Year award from Commander Shelley McKerren.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Officer Kevin Moretti (right) receives the Community Services Division Officer of the Year award from Capt. Eric Carter.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Tara McNaught receives the APD Community Services Division Employee of the Year from Capt. Eric Carter.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Officer Brian Carrion, right, receives the Meritorious Service Award from Capt. Steve Marcin.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Capt. Steve Marcin, left, congratulates Sgt. Rich Boyer for receiving the Meritorious Service Award.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Correctional Officer Greg Blocher gives his retirement speech during the Anaheim PD Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anaheim PD Acting Chief Julian Harvey presents Correctional Officer Greg Blocher with his retirement badge. Blacher spent 28 years with the APD.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Records Specialist Linda Davis receives recognition after 18 years of service from Acting Chief Julian Harvey during the Anaheim PD Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Lt. Tim Miller receives his retirement badge, after 31 years with Anaheim, from Acting Chief Julian Harvey.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Administrative Assistant Alisa Navarro, center, is honored by Anaheim Police Chief John Welter, left, and former Anaheim Police Chief Jimmie Kennedy, right.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

APD Lt. Tim Miller is congratulated during the Anaheim PD Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anaheim PD Officer Chris Ned, left, receives his retirement badge from Acting Police Chief Julian Harvey during APD’s Awards & Retirement Banquet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC