Fullerton PD celebrates its finest, as well as residents who stepped up to help community

By Lou Ponsi

Close to 500 people packed the Fullerton Community Center on Thursday, June 2 as Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes recognized FPD employees who saved lives — both on and off the job.

The chief also honored employees and everyday citizens who contributed time and resources to make the department better equipped to serve the community.

The city’s top cop also singled out officers who’ve earned promotions and welcomed newly sworn officers, civilians and professional staff.

“The challenge we had with recognizing individual efforts at an awards ceremony like this, is that each and every day, our personnel do amazing things to make our community better,” Hughes said. “Our police department is in a really strong position for the present challenges and those to come in the future.”

Here are some highlights:

Newly sworn officers were introduced. The list includes Christopher Chiu, Matthew Kalscheuer, Marcus Saenz, Marco Camargo, Jeffrey Beaty, Danielle Riedl, Victoria Thayer and Randall Brayley.

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Danielle Riedl receives her new badge from her mother Trish during a ceremony in Fullerton. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Danielle Riedl receives her new badge from her mother Trish during a ceremony in Fullerton.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Danielle Riedl gets a hug from her mother Trish during a ceremony in Fullerton. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Danielle Riedl gets a hug from her mother Trish.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Christopher Chiu receives his new badge as a Fullerton police officer from his mother, Phoebe. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Christopher Chiu receives his new badge as a Fullerton police officer from his mother Phoebe.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Matthew Kalscheuer stands with his fiancée, Kristen, and Chief Dan Hughes as a new Fullerton police officer. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Matthew Kalscheuer stands with his fiancée, Kristen, and Chief Dan Hughes as a new Fullerton police officer.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marcus Saenz stands with his fiancée, Tatiana, and Chief Dan Hughes as a new Fullerton police officer. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marcus Saenz stands with his fiancée, Tatiana, and Chief Dan Hughes as a new Fullerton police officer.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marco Camargo smiles after receiving his new badge as a Fullerton police officer from his mother Rosa. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marco Camargo smiles after receiving his new badge as a Fullerton police officer from his mother Rosa.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton Police Officer Jeffrey Beaty’s son Zachary checks out his dad’s new badge during a ceremony in Fullerton. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton Police Officer Jeffrey Beaty’s son Zachary checks out his dad’s new badge during the ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Jeffrey Beaty stands Chief Dan Hughes and with his family that includes his wife, Elizabeth, Step-Son Aaron and Son Zachary, as one of Fullerton’s new police officers. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Jeffrey Beaty stands with Chief Dan Hughes and with his family, (from left) wife Elizabeth, step-son Aaron and son Zachary.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Victoria Thayer receives her new badge from her mother Susan. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Victoria Thayer receives her new badge from her mother Susan.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Victoria Thayer with Chief Dan Hughes and her parents, retired Orange PD Lieutenant Patrick Thayer, and her mother Susan. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Victoria Thayer with Chief Dan Hughes and her parents, retired Orange PD Lt. Patrick Thayer and her mother Susan.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Randall Brayley with his father Gary and Chief Dan Hughes. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton’s new Police Officer Randall Brayley with his father Gary and Chief Dan Hughes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— Officers who were promoted to corporal were Daniel Diaz Jr., Cynthia Hines and Kyle Baas.

Fullerton PD Cpl. Daniel Diaz’s son Daniel pins his father’s new badge on him during a promotional ceremony in Fullerton. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Cpl. Daniel Diaz’s son Daniel pins his father’s new badge on him during a promotional ceremony in Fullerton.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Daniel Diaz is promoted as Fullerton PD’s new Corporal as he stands with Chief Dan Hughes and his family. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Daniel Diaz is promoted to corporal as he stands with Chief Dan Hughes and his family.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Cpl. Cynthia Hines with Chief Dan Hughes, her husband Mike, and daughters Emi and Arriana during a promotional ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Cpl. Cynthia Hines with Chief Dan Hughes, her husband Mike, and daughters Emi and Arriana during a promotional ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Cpl. Kyle Baas receives his new badge from his wife Jeannette, and son John William, during a promotional ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Cpl. Kyle Baas receives his new badge from his wife, Jeannette, and son John William, during a promotional ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— A Community Member of Distinction award went to social worker Hector Varela, a mental health specialist who has partnered with the FPD’s homeless liaison officers since 2012, providing a variety of services to the homeless.

Mental Health Specialist Hector Varela is presented with the Community Member Distinguished Service Award by Chief Dan Hughes for his work with the Homeless Liaison team. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Mental Health Specialist Hector Varela is presented with the Community Member of Distinction Award by Chief Dan Hughes for his work with the Homeless Liaison team.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Chief’s Award of Excellence went to Fran Mueller, who donated time to the department’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program along with her late husband Bruce. The couple also donated the funds to purchase a K9, who was named Mueller in Bruce’s honor.

— A Certificate of Commendation, given to FPD employees who perform a single humanitarian task that goes beyond the written job description, went to Officer Hazel Rios, who donated her bone marrow to a child who was in need of a transplant. Rios endured a painful procedure to harvest the bone marrow, which was transplanted into the child, who now is recovering.

Fullerton PD Officer Hazel Rios receives the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for her volunteering to help save a child’s life by being a bone marrow donor. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PD Officer Hazel Rios receives the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for her volunteering to help save a child’s life by being a bone marrow donor.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Certificates of Commendation also went to parking control officers Toni Alsabbagh and Renee Herrera who were involved with a street sweeping operation in November 2015 when they saw a man and woman arguing outside a parked vehicle. The man drew a gun and fired into a vehicle through the passenger side window. Another man exited the vehicle and began running away and was shot by the first man. The shooter then appeared as though he was going to shoot the woman, but when he looked up and noticed the city’s parking control vehicle with its amber lights flashing. He turned the gun on himself and shot himself, dying at the scene.

Fullerton PCO Toni Alsabaugh receives the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for her efforts during a shooting in Fullerton. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton PCO Toni Alsabbagh receives the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for her efforts during a shooting in Fullerton.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Certificates of Commendation also went to dispatchers Cesar Navarro and Marnie Rodriguez, for calmness and efficiency they displayed stemming from a 911 call in June 2013 from a woman reporting that a male employee was assaulting a female business owner. Rodriguez entered a priority one call for service and remained on   the line with the caller.

Navarro worked with Rodriquez to garner more information on the location and the suspect. Once on the scene, officers learned that the suspect had fled, but not before making threats to kill the business owner and a female employee.

Rodriquez ran a query on the suspect for registered firearms and discovered that he had a firearm registered in his name. The suspect returned to the scene armed with   a firearm and a fatal officer‐involved shooting occurred. Rodriquez’s initiative to check the suspect’s background, along with Navarro’s speed in developing and relaying critical information in a calm and succinct manner, were crucial for the   officers on scene, Sgt. Kathryn Hamel said.

Cesar Navarro, and Marnie Rodriguez receive the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for their extra effort in tracking down and relaying critical information to officers on the scene about a suspect having access to a firearm before a fatal officer‐involved shooting occurred. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Cesar Navarro and Marnie Rodriguez receive the Chief’s Certificate of Commendation from Chief Dan Hughes for their extra effort in tracking down and relaying critical information to officers on the scene about a suspect having access to a firearm before a fatal officer‐involved shooting occurred.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— A Medal of Merit, awarded for extraordinary performance of duties that brings significant recognition to the department, went to Cpl. Joel Craft. Craft, along with officers from he Buena Park PD, OC Probation and the DA’s Office, came up with the idea of for the Adam Kennedy Baseball Camp as part of the OC Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP). Twenty boys from Fullerton and 20 from Buena Park participated in the camp.

Cpl. Joel Craft receives the Medal of Merit from Chief Dan Hughes for helping to create (with three other officers) and his commitment to planning and implementing the a baseball camp attended by 40 boys from Fullerton and Buena Park with baseball great, Adam Kennedy. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Cpl. Joel Craft receives the Medal of Merit from Chief Dan Hughes for helping to create (with three other officers) a baseball camp attended by 40 boys from Fullerton and Buena Park with baseball great Adam Kennedy. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

 — A Distinguished Service Medal, awarded to an FPD employee who performs exceptional service, on or off duty, contributing to the betterment of the community, went to Officer Eric Franke, who received the honor for his key role in the FPD’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program, which has had an impact well beyond Fullerton. Franke is considered an expert on all aspects of DRE training and has given his testimony and opinion to several agencies in cases involving sexual assault stemming from drug intoxication.

Officer Eric Franke receives the Distinguished Service Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for his work with the Fullerton PD Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer Eric Franke receives the Distinguished Service Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for his work with the Fullerton PD Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— A Lifesaving Award went to Sgt. Craig Odom, who was picking up lunch at a restaurant when he spotted a 16-month old boy choking on food. The sergeant grabbed the boy and immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver, successfully dislodging the food stuck in the boy’s throat.

Sgt. Craig Odom is joined by his family as he receives the Life Saving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for saving a 16-month old boy choking at a local restaurant.  Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Sgt. Craig Odom receives the Lifesaving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for saving a 16-month old boy choking at a local restaurant. Jonathan Gallegos, the boy he saved, is wearing red and also shown is his mother Stafany.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Sgt. Craig Odom is joined by his family as he receives the Life Saving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for saving a 16-month old boy choking at a local restaurant.  Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Sgt. Craig Odom receives the Lifesaving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes as he holds Jonathan Gallegos.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— Lifesaving awards also went to Cpl. Daniel Solorio and Officer David Crabtree. On Aug. 3, 2014, Crabtree and Solorio were responding to a domestic violence call when they encountered a woman bleeding from her head. The woman told the officers that her 8-week-old infant was being held by suspect Bryant Aquino, who then exited the apartment. He was holding the infant and he began walking quickly toward a stairway. Aquino dangled the infant over the second-story stairway railing and yelled, “I want to kill him.” Both officers wrapped their arms around Aquino, saving the infant.

Officer David Crabtree, left, and Cpl. Daniel Solaria both receive the Life Saving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for saving an 8-week-old infant from a distraught man threatening to throw the baby over a second story stairway railing yelling, “I want to kill him.” Both officers wrapped their arms around the suspect to keep him from throwing the infant over the railing to certain death. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Officer David Crabtree, left, and Cpl. Daniel Solaria both receive the Lifesaving Medal from Chief Dan Hughes for saving an 8-week-old infant from a distraught man threatening to throw the baby over a second- story stairway railing while yelling, “I want to kill him.” Both officers wrapped their arms around the suspect to keep him from throwing the infant over the railing to certain death.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

— Medal of Bravery awards went to Cpl. Jose Torres and Cpl. Mike Bova. On June 12, 2013, Torres and Bova responded to a disturbance at a business on East Valencia Avenue, where a disgruntled employee had assaulted his boss and fled the location. While the officers were talking with employees in the parking lot of the business, the suspect returned. He began walking toward the employees when the officers ordered the man to stop. He drew a handgun. Torres quickly shielded CSI Letty Ramirez and rushed her to safety behind a parked vehicle. An officer-involved shooting occurred and the suspect died at the scene.

Cpl. Jose Torres, left, and Cpl. Mike Bova receive the Medal of Bravery from Chief Dan Hughes for their efforts to shield a CSI officer from an advancing armed suspect before engaging with him in an officer involved shooting, which resulted in the suspect succumbing to his injuries despite rendering first aid after disarming him. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Cpl. Jose Torres, left, and Cpl. Mike Bova receive the Medal of Bravery from Chief Dan Hughes for their efforts to shield a CSI specialist from an advancing armed suspect before engaging with him in an officer- involved shooting, which resulted in the suspect succumbing to his injuries despite the officers rendering first aid after disarming him.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Luis Rubio receives his new badge as FPD Parking Control Aide from his mother Domitila and father Luis. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Luis Rubio receives his new badge as FPD parking control aide from his mother, Domitila, and father, Luis.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

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Leticia Ramirez, left, gets a hug from her friend and CSI colleague Dawn Scruggs after Scruggs pinned a new badge on Ramirez following her promotion to Forensic Specialist II. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Leticia Ramirez, left, is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes after being promoted to Forensic Specialist II. Her friend friend and fellow CSI colleague, Dawn Scruggs, center, pinned her new badge on her. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Leticia Ramirez, left, is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes after being promoted to Forensic Specialist II. With them is CSI specialist Dawn Scruggs.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes, center, presents the newest members of the Chief’s Advisory Board with certificates of appreciation during a ceremony in Fullerton. They include Gretchen Cox, left, Doug Bowen, Greg Bock, (Chief Dan Hughes) Dallas Stout, Omar Siddiqui, Egleth Nuncci and Ilse Miranda. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes presents the newest members of the Chief’s Advisory Board with certificates of appreciation during a ceremony in Fullerton. They include Gretchen Cox, left, Doug Bowen, Greg Bock, Dallas Stout, Omar Siddiqui, Egleth Nuncci and Ilse Miranda.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Austin Niegsch with Chief Dan Hughes as he is promoted to the rank of Senior Police Cadet. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Austin Niegsch with Chief Dan Hughes as he is promoted to the rank of senior police cadet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kyle Bishop with Chief Dan Hughes as he is promoted to the rank of Senior Police Cadet. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OCz

Kyle Bishop with Chief Dan Hughes as he is promoted to the rank of senior police cadet.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OCz

Mitchell Johnson with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Mitchell Johnson with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Scott Vandelinder with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Scott Vandelinder with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Dylan Mazeau with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Dylan Mazeau with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Alexander Lopez with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Alexander Lopez with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Brittany Schroeder with Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Brittany Schroeder with Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Natali Flores is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Natali Flores is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Richard Razo with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Richard Razo with Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Nolan Turner is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes for becoming a cadet. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Alexa Elkabarra is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Alexa Elkabarra is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Cassandra Robles with Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD Cadet program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Cassandra Robles with Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD cadet program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anthony Package is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anthony Package is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Jody McFarland gets a hug from Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Jody McFarland gets a hug from Chief Dan Hughes as she is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Robert Drissen is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Robert Drissen is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kiri Spillan is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes for joining the FPD as a Police Records Clerk. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kiri Spillan is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes for joining the FPD as a police records clerk.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Karan Flohra is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes for joining the FPD as a Police Records Clerk. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Karan Flohra is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes for joining the FPD as a police records clerk.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marisa Avena sings the National Anthem at the start of the Fullerton PD Department Promotional and Awards Ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Marisa Avena sings the National Anthem at the start of the Fullerton PD’s Promotional and Awards Ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Charles Pierecy is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Charles Pierecy is congratulated by Chief Dan Hughes as he is recognized for joining the FPD RSVP program.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The Fullerton PD Honor Guard salutes during the singing of the National Anthem for the Fullerton PD Department Promotional and Awards Ceremony. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A member of the Fullerton PD Honor Guard salutes during the singing of the National Anthem at the Fullerton PD’s Promotional and Awards Ceremony.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC