On Friday, October 18, employees of the Salt River Police Department (SRPD) gathered for their annual awards banquet to recognize the department’s outstanding officers and civilian employees. In addition to the awards presentation, the guests enjoyed dinner and entertainment provided by Dearing Acting Studio in Phoenix, who called up some officers and even the assistant chief of police to participate in some acting skits.
Going Above and Beyond for Community Members
Cpl. Spencer Stant was presented the Community-Based Policing Award for taking the initiative to check on elderly members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and help them with household tasks including changing light bulbs and providing water. He suggested that the Senior Home Repair and Replacement Program (SHRRP) start an Adopt-an-Elder Program to help these seniors. Stant also has gone to great lengths to help seniors by scheduling dialysis sessions for them, helping them with their medications and stopping by to visit and make sure their nurses are taking good care of them.
The members of the SRPD Gang Squad also received the Community-Based Policing Award. The Gang Squad is instrumental in providing a safe environment for the Community by routinely patrolling and seeking individuals who have tribal and federal warrants; they remove these individuals from the streets and incarcerate them. Members of the Gang Squad are Sgt. Maurice Hurd, Tyrone Hubbell, Justin Bartlett, Matthew Hilsabeck, Anthony Hogan and Keolaimipono Kalama.
The Meritorious Conduct Award went to two officers, Forrest Wood and Chris Morin, for their assistance during a call on May 14, 2013. The officers arrived on the scene to check out a suspicious vehicle. They observed a female passenger in distress because the male passenger was making unwanted sexual advances toward her. Using their keen training and skills, the officers acted promptly and properly to prevent any further sexual assault. They successfully arrested the male perpetrator.
“It felt good to help this woman get out of the situation she was in,” said Off. Wood. “We got the guy arrested and were happy to have the woman safe.”
The Life-Saving Award was presented to Off. Chris Morin, along with Ofc. Travis Mathews, for their bravery in helping a person escape a burning vehicle. On December 8, 2012, at 3:51 a.m., the officers were northbound on Loop 101 at Indian Bend Road. They observed a vehicle on fire with the occupant still trapped inside. They requested fire and medical response and made their way to the vehicle, where both officers risked their own safety to lift and pull the injured driver from the vehicle and move him to a safe distance prior to the vehicle becoming fully engulfed.
Officers Jose Quintero and Jacob Stahl also received a Life-Saving Award, for assisting in locating a suicidal person. On March 8, 2013, at 10:30 p.m., Quintero and Stahl responded to the area of State Route 87 and the Salt River Landfill, where a suicidal subject had stabbed himself in the chest and run off into the desert. The conditions in the area were harsh, consisting of muddy and wet roadway and little to no light. With the assistance of the subject’s family, they were able to locate the gravely injured person, who was bleeding immensely. The conditions hindered the fire department’s ability to reach the individual, and further delay in treatment would most likely have resulted in his death. Therefore, Off. Quintero drove the family’s SUV while Off. Stahl stayed in the back of the SUV with the victim to maintain pressure on his wound.
Appreciation for Civilian Employees and SRPD Explorers
Certificates of Appreciation were presented to Tim Baldermore, Mervin Monte and Mark Kramer. The members of SRPD Explorers Post #909 also received awards of appreciation: Angelica Hill, Alejandro Hill, Cynthia Hampton, Gabriel Wood, Krystyna Joaquin, Jonathan Portillo, Torre Land and Lavinia Tohi. Gabriel Wood was named Explorer of the Year, for doing such an outstanding job over the last year.
“I sacrificed time hanging out with my friends and some of my homework time, but I got it all done,” said Wood about his activities with the Explorers. “I also enjoy giving back to the Community.”
The Communications of Public Safety Award goes to the outstanding dispatcher of the year; this year it was Dezbah Hatathli.
This year two people were named Civilian Employees of the Year: Rachelle Marquez and Rachel Norton. Rookie Officer of the Year went to Francisco Calzadillas. Detective of the Year awards went to Treva Olivas and Adriel Pineda. The Civilian Supervisor of the Year award went to Rena Robledo and Kristen Hawee, and Anthony Sandoval was named the Sworn Supervisor of the Year.
Officer of the Year; Chief’s Award of Excellence
Two outstanding officers were named Police Officer of the Year: Community-member Ofc. Jose Quintero and Ofc. Kenneth Kelly.
“It felt good to get two awards tonight. The one that stood out was the Police Officer of the Year Award; I didn’t expect it. It feels good to be appreciated,” said Quintero after receiving both a Life-Saving Award and Officer of the Year. “It feels good to give back to my community.”
The last award presented is the most coveted award of the year. Some call it the Eagle Award, but its official name is the Chief’s Award of Excellence. It is presented to an SRPD employee voted for by the team members and employees of the department.
“I received a recommendation from almost all the rankings of the department for this person to be chosen as the recipient of this award,” said SRPD Chief Patrick Melvin. “I am proud to announce Crime Scene Specialist Rachelle Marquez as the winner of the 2013 Chief’s Award of Excellence.”
According to her co-workers and those who nominated her, Marquez has demonstrated performance, contributions, actions, behavior and conduct that merit this level of recognition and more. In the 2012-13 year, she responded to 64 call-outs, which is more than one a week. She accumulated more than 256 hours responding to call-outs and impounded more than 350 items of evidence.
From May 2012 to May 2013, she utilized one hour of sick leave and zero hours of annual leave. She is the only crime scene specialist for the SRPD, and therefore she handles an extremely large volume of work. Even so, she never declines additional work or responsibilities and consistently manages to stay on top of her workload. She humbly volunteers for many events and programs in her community and does not announce the good things she does on her own time.
Her volunteering does not affect her work or availability with the SRPD.
Marquez has a great attitude about her job and is an extremely hard-working individual. Even though her workload continues to increase, she consistently delivers top-quality work and never complains. She is available for call-outs at a moment’s notice; she follows protocol and stays on top of technology advances in the area of crime-scene processing.
“Without a doubt, Ms. Marquez is a valuable asset to the SRPD and the Community and is definitely worthy of the Chief’s Award of Excellence,” said Chief Melvin.
“Thank you, everyone. I was shocked. I am here for you all—thank you,” said Marquez as she accepted her award.
Congratulations to all the SRPD officers and employees who dedicate their service to the Community.