Officers are needed to regulate traffic at an accident. Another officer is needed to answer a domestic dispute phone call in the middle of the night.
Someone is even called out to help gather evidence at a crime scene, a task that can take hours.
Be it a mundane task or a thrilling chase in the middle of the night, each of the officers and partners honored at Thursday's Lodi Police Department awards were described as having unbelievable dedication to protect and to serve at any hour, day or night.
A total of five department officers and partners were honored for their year of hard work and dedication to the force, and each were selected through a nomination process by their peers.
Some recipients laughed, one cried and one even gave a thumbs-up as they thanked their fellow peers for recognizing them.
"Hey, thanks," Officer Ken Slater said in the briefest speech of gratitude at the noon ceremony.
And while others said more, the message of each recipient was clear — they were honored, they were humbled and they were looking forward to many more years of dedicated service to the Lodi community.
Meritorious Service Award: Partner Patricia Freeman
Patricia Freeman said she needed something to do after her husband died in 1993.
She used to be a registered nurse, but she had retired. Then she saw an ad in the Lodi News-Sentinel for volunteers needed for a new program that was being launched by the Lodi Police Department.
So, Freeman went down to the police station and signed up to be a partner.
Since then, she has volunteered more than 9,000 hours and is what Helms dubbed the "watch commander" of the Partners, overseeing almost every task that is handled in the program, which includes daily patrol and recruitment for the program.
Freeman is also one of the founding members of the Partners honor guard, which is the only volunteer program honor guard in the country.
"She's dealt with thousands of citizens, towed hundreds of cars, issued countless citations, and provided training to nearly all of our volunteers," Helms said. "She has not received one single complaint, verbal or in writing, in that time."
Freeman calmly and collectively thanked family and friends — who came all the way from the East Coast — for being at the ceremony.
"If I didn't like this, I wouldn't do it," she said.
Meritorious Service Award: Officer Ken Slater
Officer Ken Slater is a man of few words.
An officer with the department for 16 years, he is also a valuable inventor whose gadgets have come in handy for police officers and have even saved the department money.
Slater invented the K-9 protection system — the system that monitors the temperature inside the patrol vehicles to protect the dogs from heat exhaustion. The sensor will honk the horn and roll down the windows when the target temperature is reached.
The sensors have been activated on two occasions, possibly saving the life of the dog.
He also developed an automated vehicle blackout system currently used in police department vehicles when they travel through neighborhoods.
The system allows patrol cars' tail lights to go dark so those the police may be following do not necessarily see them.
While his accomplishments speak volumes, Slater had very little to say when he received his award.
"Hey, thanks," he said as he gave the audience a thumbs-up before returning to his seat.
Volunteer of the Year: Partner Lynn Benbrook
Lynn Benbrook is the definition of dedication.
Last year, Lodi's annual Parade of Lights fell on the same day as a medical procedure that Benbrook had scheduled.
Discovering that the police department was short on traffic control volunteers, Benbrook called the hospital where his procedure was scheduled and simply told them he had something else to do.
Benbrook showed up to the parade, dressed in full Partners gear, to direct traffic.
He has been with the Lodi Police Department Partners since 1998 and has volunteered almost 9,000 hours. Also, Benbrook is the volunteer overseer at crime scenes and DUI checkpoints.
When Benbrook stepped up to the podium to receive his award, he chuckled.
"I am honored," he said. "But I bet you haven't heard that before."
Employee of the Year: Dispatcher/Jailer Jaime Worthen
Jaime Worthen was the award recipient with the least amount of time at the Lodi Police Department, but in her five years, she has become what her co-workers call a "perfect team player."
Worthen began with the Lodi Police Department in 2007 and worked her way up to become a field evidence technician in 2010.
She collects bits and pieces of evidence at crime scenes and helps to analyze them for officers in the department.
One of Worthen's greatest assets, however, was her ability to be flexible with her schedule, changing things around at the last minute to accommodate someone else.
As she began to thank her co-workers, Worthen's voice began to shake.
Embarrassed at first, Worthen looked at the ground as she continued to address family and friends before breaking down.
"This has been a really bad week," she said. "But this makes it better."
Officer of the Year: Officer Shad Canestrino
Officer Shad Canestrino can do it all.
A police officer with the Lodi Police Department since 1997, he not only works night shifts, but he is also heavily involved with the community and with his family during the day.
Canestrino is known as one of the most consistent officers when it comes to making DUI arrests, and on his off-time, he can still be found at the department, helping to re-wire radios as the department moves from analogue radios to digital ones.
"My wife definitely puts up with me being gone a lot," he said.
When he is not working, Canestrino is an Assistant Cub Scout Master and works with organizations like the Lodi Day Camp, Rocket Camp and Adopt-a-Child. He is also an assistant baseball coach in Morada Little League.
"It has been up and down these past 15 years," he said. "But I am looking forward to 15 more years of serving (the Lodi community)."
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.