Since 1987, the Lodi Police Department has recognized individuals within our agency and the Lodi community each year by giving them awards. Nominations are submitted throughout the year, and an awards committee comprised of officers, professional staff and volunteers conduct investigations and eventually vote on the nominations. The awards are based on very specific definitions. We recently held our 2008 awards luncheon, and here are this year's recipients:
Officer of the Year
Cpl. James Moore - He has been with the department more than 25 years and is the most senior patrol officer. He has been a training officer, detective, range master, background investigator, field evidence technician, and a member of Cracnet and SWAT. He is also a mentor for new officers.
Employee of the Year
Intern Nicole Askins - She works at the front counter at the police department and handled 1,210 calls for service alone last year. She also took almost 300 reports during the same time period. She is responsible for organizing the police cadets. She is attending the Delta College Police Academy and still finds time to volunteer her time at the department.
Volunteer of the Year
Partner Jan Talken - She has volunteered over 2,500 hours in seven years. She is at the department at least 20 hours a week. She maintains the False Alarm Reduction Program that generated $40,000 in alarm-related fees and fines and reduced false alarms by 14 percent last year.
Chaplain Barbara Taylor - She created a support program for Partners to give them an effective way to deal with personal challenges. She responds to chaplain callouts to provide comfort and spiritual guidance, and she conducts memorial services for Partners and retired staff.
Officer Jim Pendergast - He came up with a program to improve the relationship between our department and their Mental Health that resulted in a mobile crisis team becoming available in Lodi. This allows citizens better access to treatment with a minimum of impact on patrol staffing.
Officer Jose Nuno - He has been a member of the department since 1996. He is a member of the SWAT team and the Honor Guard, and he is one of the top medal winners on the LPD team at the Grass Valley SWAT competition. He recognizes the importance of traffic enforcement and is always at the top or the near the top in citations. He is also involved in the Outreach Program at the Boys and Girls Club.
Officer Larry Vietz - In September 2008, officers responded to a call for a suicidal man. Officer Vietz talked to a man standing on a bucket with a noose around his neck in a darkened garage for 30 minutes. Officer Vietz talked him out of killing himself and eventually got him to remove the noose.
Sgt. Bill Alexander - In August 2008, Sergeant Alexander and former LPD Captain Ron Tobeck were on a fishing trip near Point Reyes when a rogue wave capsized their boat and tossed them into the cold sea. Alexander dove into the dark under the boat to grab a floatation device for Tobeck. At great risk, Sergeant Alexander swam to him and helped him back to the boat. The float kept Tobeck above water until he was eventually washed up on the beach.
Lt. Steve Carillo - While at the FBI National Academy in November 2008, he helped perform CPR and applied the AED to a classmate who was in cardiac arrest. The man was revived and is still alive today.
Citizens Service Award
Samuel Huffman - On May 11, 2008, Huffman saw an 82-year-old woman in a wheelchair fall on the railroad tracks as a fast-moving train approached.
He ran up to her and helped her out of the path of the train, which missed them by just over three feet.
The wheelchair was destroyed.
Assistant City Attorney Janice Magdich - She has been an invaluable resource for the department with regards to personnel and policy issues as well as enforcement of city ordinances over the years.
Information Systems Manager Steve Mann - He developed several programs that benefited the department and the citizens of Lodi. These include the animal licensing system and, more recently, a system that streamlined the fire dispatch system.
Any comments, questions or advice for Behind the Badge can be e-mailed to Jeanie Biskup at email@example.com or mailed to Lodi Police Department, 215 West Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240, phone (209) 333-6864.