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Police chief to honor employees, citizens at meeting

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Posted: Monday, March 1, 2004 10:00 pm

In addition to giving Officer John Whisler the Officer of the Year award at Wednesday's City Council meeting, Lodi Police Chief Jerry Adams will recognize several other employees and citizens.

Dispatcher Jennifer Root will be recognized as employee of the year. Hired in 1998, Root was promoted to lead dispatcher/jailer in 2001 and now trains other dispatchers.

In addition to her work duties, Root is the department's Special Olympics representative, and she participates in fund-raisers ranging from fire engine pulls to golf tournaments.

A cancer survivor, she is also active in the Relay for Life event that funds cancer research.

The lifesaving award will go to Officer Val Chaban, who was the first officer to arrive at the scene of an alleged gang-related June 24 shooting. Two teenagers had been shot, one in the chest, and the shooters were believed to be in an adjacent house.

Emergency medical crews did not enter the scene due to the hazard, so Chaban carried one of the shooting victims out of danger so paramedics could work on him.

Officer Scott Bratton will receive a life-saving citation for his work July 16, when he was on patrol and was waved down by a citizen near the library. The woman was trying to get to the hospital with a man who had just been stabbed, and Bratton retrieved paper towels from his car and used them to stop the flow of blood.

Medical workers later said that Bratton might very well have prevented the man from bleeding to death.

The volunteer of the year award will go to Charlie Gardella, one of the original Police Partners who has been with the department for more than 10 years. During that time, he has volunteered for countless assignments and has responded at all hours of the day.

Detective Mike Kermgard and Officer Mike Manetti will be give meritorious service awards in recognition for their work on the department's Web site, some of which was done on their own time.

Adams will give the chief's award to captains Larry Manetti and David Main, who have spent years working on the new public safety building that opened last month.

The citizen service award will go to Teresa Perry, who came across a Lower Sacramento Road traffic accident involving a motorcycle and a pick-up truck. She helped the critically injured motorcyclist until rescue crews arrived.

Grant Plath, park program coordinator for the Parks and Recreation District, will also receive a citizen service award. He happened to be doing business at the Finance Department when he saw a toddler leave the building and wander into the street. He grabbed the child from the path of an oncoming vehicle, nearly being struck himself.

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