On Tuesday, November 9, at an awards banquet held at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Salt River Police Department (SRPD) officers and civilian support staff received well-deserved recognition for their exceptional service commitment to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community from the Indian Country Intelligence Network (ICIN), in association with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA). This event was a time for Arizona tribal communities to honor and recognize the outstanding efforts of law-enforcement officers and civilian personnel for their acts of exceptional courage or resourcefulness in service to Native American communities.
Many tribal government and law-enforcement representatives attended the event, including Maria Dadgar, executive director of the ITCA; Arizona State Senator Carlyle Begay (District 7); SRPMIC Vice-President Martin Harvier; SRPMIC Law Enforcement Commission (SRLEC) Commissioner Denelle Prieto; and many SRPD team members. In addition, there were representatives from the neighboring Tribal Police Departments, the Metro Phoenix police departments, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona,, and others.
SRPD Assistant Chief Karl Auerbach remarked, “SRPD Chief of Police, Patrick R. Melvin and the Community were extremely proud that five of the top award categories included SRPD professionals as recipients. [There was] exceptional pride and respect for all the award recipients, many of whom were recognized for their bravery, courage, innovation and dedicated commitment to public safety, as well as the pride and respect of honoring law enforcement within Indian Country jurisdiction.”
Auerbach added, “[I am] so very proud of [the SRPD professionals’] accomplishments and service to Salt River.”
The award recipients by category:
Act(s) of Exceptional Valor
Off. Derilwyn Cleveland, White Mountain Apache Police Department
Off. Jeff Overton, Pinetop-Lakeside Police Department
Off. Jose Tavena, Salt River Police Department
Outstanding Exceptional Service
Criminal Investigator Rex Butler, Navajo Police Department–Criminal Investigations
Communications Officer II Marlinda Thomas, Salt River Police Department
Off. Daniel Martinez, Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department
Off. Justin Keeling, Cocopah Police Department
Dallas Begaye, Fort McDowell Police Department
Det. David Pew, Salt River Police Department
Police Officer of the Year
Sgt. Alfredo Castro, Salt River Police Department
Lt. Anthony Sandoval, Salt River Police Department
Sgt. Ruben Salinas, Gila River Police Department
Tribal Liaison Team, U.S. Border Patrol, Yuma Sector
Prosecutor Exceptional Effort
Assistant United States Attorney Christina Reid-Moore, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona
The presentation included a moment of silence in remembrance of SRPD Off. Jair Cabrera and Off. Ernest Montoya of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, both of whom died in the line of duty in 2014.
Auerbach said, “These men and women know well the risks, yet they do their jobs with honor, dignity and pride, because we as police officers know our freedom, liberty and safety do not come without a price … bravely and with courage we stand for preserving peace, justice, trust and excellence.”
The recognition event was summed up by this simple statement by Jessie Delmar, chief of police, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and ICIN board president: “[It goes] without saying [that] we in law enforcement are very proud of all officers and the support teams behind them; however, through ICIN we are able to fully recognize those individuals who go beyond the call of duty on behalf of tribal communities.”
For more information on the ICIN or ITCA, go online to www.itcaonline.com.
About the Indian Country Intelligence Network
The Indian Country Intelligence Network was established in 1994. To understand the significance and impact of the awards given out by ICIN, SRPD Assistant Chief Karl Auerbach, a founding member, offered these comments during the presentation:
“It is my enduring honor and privilege to share with everyone our ICIN mission statement and history. Before ICIN, there was no such association anywhere in the United States. Starting in 1994, we established a statewide collaborative partnership in Arizona between all 20 Indian tribes to improve communication, provide training, effect positive changes and strengthen relationships with neighboring jurisdictions. There was a critical need to build robust collaborative partnerships between residents, government, law enforcement, businesses and schools….
“ICIN today comprises law-enforcement executives from tribal law enforcement, public safety and corrections agencies, as well as representatives from tribal prosecutor’s offices; the U.S. Attorney’s Office; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); the U.S. Marshals Service; the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS); the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS); and county, state and municipal agencies throughout Arizona. We share information, policies and procedures, strategic planning and best practices, as well as training.
“Today there are ICIN associations in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington, and ICIN has been recognized by many, including the U.S. Department of Justice, as a model organization that exemplifies a collaborative infrastructure that represents tribal, local, county, state and federal agencies.
“Finally,… many of the ICIN award recipients will someday become supervisors and leaders. What will they do with their opportunity to make a difference and lead? Will they be creative, innovative and develop greater levels of united teamwork and partnerships? [Will they be] leaders who will honor their elders and protect the future for the generations to come? I believe we have emerging leaders who will make a difference in our Community and leaders who will forever change the future.”