SANTA MARIA POLICE DEPARTMENT
2011 AWARD RECIPIENTS
MARK RIDDERING AWARD
This award acknowledges the patrol officer/corporal who has made the greatest impact on the street in the area of street narcotic enforcement. The selection is based on criteria to include number of drug arrests, quality of narcotic related arrests, depth of investigations, cultivation of informants, and communication with the Narcotic Suppression Team and other patrol officers. This award was presented to Officer Nathan Totorica. Officer Totorica was also given this award in 2009 & 2010.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
This year, we have selected an individual to receive the Distinguished Service Award. Our department has only awarded 4 previous Distinguished Service Awards – the last award presented was in 2008. This award is designed to recognize outstanding achievement beyond the standard requirement. To qualify for this award, a member must perform an exceptional service in an area of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement. This service may be a result of a successful major investigation, initiating a valuable program, exemplary field operations, or similar accomplishments.
SHARON WESTCOTT, BUSINESS SERVICES MANAGER
Sharon has spent countless hours in attempt to bring our department into the 21st Century. With her assistance, Sharon has introduced our department to a computer based scheduling and payroll system. This program produces computer-generated timesheets, streamlines shift and vacation bidding, and applies impartial overtime distribution. Due to our various MOU’s and policies, this program had to be customized specifically for our department’s needs. This was no easy task. Sharon demonstrated patience and tolerance with the hours upon hours of questions, errors, and remedial training of personnel, all while working with the computer program personnel to make the system become successful and fully operational.
As with all new systems, details as well as all fine points need to be tweaked. This individual worked with the vendor and police personnel to attempt to make a very difficult change in operations become effective, efficient and a valuable tool for our department’s day-to-day operations. Sharon has continued to “pound away” to make an idea turn into reality, and received the Distinguished Service Award for her dedication to the implementation, training, and execution of the computer based scheduling and payroll system.
SERGEANT JESUS VALLE & OFFFICER HERMINIO RODRIGUEZ
On August 1, 2011, Sergeant Valle and Officer Rodriguez responded to a medical call of a male subject not breathing. They arrived to the parking lot of an apartment complex and found the male subject with no outward signs of life, receiving CPR from two citizens. Relieving the citizens of their efforts, Sgt. Valle immediately began chest compressions, and when Sgt. Valle began to tire, Officer Rodriguez took over resuscitation efforts until properly relieved by medical personnel. Medical personnel connected their monitoring equipment to the subject, and found that he had no pulse and was still not breathing.
The subject was subsequently transported to Marian Medical center where sadly, he passed away one week later. The combined efforts of everyone involved provided the family the opportunity to spend additional time with their loved one.
LIEUTENANT KIM GRAHAM
On October 25, 2011, Lieutenant Graham responded to a “man down” call for service on the Allan Hancock College campus. The individual in need of assistance was a senior male who was a volunteer for the college, and a former volunteer of the Santa Maria Police Department. The individual was no longer breathing and did not have a pulse. Lieutenant Graham immediately requested assistance from medical personnel, and then performed CPR on the individual until paramedics arrived on scene.
The elderly male was transported to Marian Medical Center where sadly he succumbed to his medical condition five days later. If it were not for Lieutenant Graham’s actions, the family members may have never had the precious few days to spend with their loved one.
DISTINGUISHED TEAM AWARD
The Traffic Bureau has the task of ensuring the safety of our motoring public, and enforcing the laws to a city with a population well over 100,000. They do so with the knowledge the roads in Santa Maria were originally designed for a significantly smaller population. The Traffic Bureau is also responsible for the implementation and events for the OTS Grants. This is time consuming and delicate, as the State of California expects a streamlined procedure to be followed in order for the grants to continue. These grants are invaluable as the City of Santa Maria ranks in the top three per capita in major vehicle incidents, including accidents, vehicle vs. pedestrians, vehicle death related accidents, unlicensed drivers, and uninsured drivers. Their tasks are daunting and tireless.
DISPATCHER OF THE YEAR
Chan is recognized as one of the most composed dispatchers at this agency. She maintains a calm, focused demeanor at all times, even in the face of chaos. Chan is relied upon greatly by her co-workers because she is a helpful, caring individual who has a keen understanding of the duties of her position. Chan strives to stay abreast of the various tools used in the Communications Center and regularly assists others in need.
Chan has received several commendations for her performance since the beginning of her career. Most importantly, Chan is willing to go the extra mile to help in all areas of her work environment.
SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR
SERGEANT JESSE SILVA
Sergeant Jesse Silva oversees a unit which is heavily involved in our community, as well as our neighboring police agencies. Sergeant Silva continues to be involved in various presentations with the public and local schools such as bicycle safety, distracted driving, career day, and drinking and driving involving our youth. Sgt. Silva continues to demonstrate exceptional leadership traits, and instills the importance of educating the public to his unit on a continual basis. For the past three years, Sgt. Silva has been responsible for securing and managing our Office of Traffic Safety grants. This past year, and continuing in 2012, the Office of Traffic Safety awarded the Santa Maria Police Department four grants, totaling over half a million dollars, to fund checkpoints and saturation patrols.
During a 4 month period last year, Sgt. Silva temporarily took over the supervisory duties of the Community Services Unit (CSU). With no knowledge or experience in the CSU, he was able to fill the supervisory role without any disruption to the flow of the unit. He educated himself with all of the inner workings of the CSU, and became personally involved with the unit’s daily tasks.
Sgt. Silva has a natural ability to manage people, equipment, and finances. He has demonstrated above and beyond that he has the ability to exceed the standards set forth as a supervisor, as well as the rare ability to motivate his subordinates to also push the limits expected of them. This supervisor is a great team player, and more importantly, his subordinates truly enjoy working with him.
OFFICER OF THE YEAR
OFFICER RICARDO “RICKY” ARIAS
Officer Arias is a 13-year veteran of law enforcement, and is currently assigned to the Community Services Unit as a School Resource Officer. Although Officer Arias is tasked with several collateral assignments, his primary responsibility is enforcing truancy. He works closely with the school's attendance offices and parents of the involved students in an effort to resolve the truancy issues.
Officer Arias has taken on additional responsibilities with pride, and does not complain about the workload. He is currently tasked with numerous responsibilities including ABC enforcement, tobacco enforcement, assisting city code enforcement, public presentations, parent project facilitating, teen court programs, local non-profit support, and Avoid the 12 DUI enforcement.
Officer Arias works tirelessly with local non-profit organizations in order to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the people of Santa Maria. Specifically, he facilitates a parenting course called Parent Project for the local non-profit, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley. He also assists with the local CADA Teen Court program. Officer Arias performs his duties and more, without seeking recognition or awards.