This medal and ribbon is awarded for an act of heroism in a life saving attempt in the line of duty whether or not that attempt was successful.


On May 3, 2013, Officers Murillo and Velazquez responded to a medical call of a male subject attempting to hang himself. Upon arrival, they found the door locked, but could see through the decorative glass, a male subject hanging from a rope around his neck that was tied to the upper portion of the stairs. After kicking in the door, Officer Velazquez grabbed the subject and lifted him up taking the tension off his neck. Officer Murillo stood on a chair and removed the rope from his neck. As they waited for paramedics to arrive, Officer Murillo maintained an airway for the subject and Officer Velazquez checked for a pulse.

The subject was subsequently transported to Marian Medical center where he was listed in critical condition and needed a respirator to breathe. Fortunately, the subject was able to make a full recovery.

On October 12, 2013, these officers responded to a fire at the Town Center Hotel at 0226 hours.

Upon arrival, Officers Rudy Alvara and Thomas Radzyminski responded to the lobby where they ran in calling out and knocking on doors to alert tenants so the premises could be evacuated. As tenants heard their warnings, they were assisted out to the front of the hotel.

Officers Ricky Arias, David Culver, and Amanda Ricker responded to the alley where they rescued tenants, including one handicapped tenant, from their ground level windows. When fire personnel arrived on scene, they assisted to extend ladders to rescue tenants that were trapped on the second and third stories.

At the back door, Officer Richard Ustick ran in trying to find tenants and shouting out warnings. As the smoke and heat became too intense to continue to enter, he exited the hotel, but continued to yell out to anyone who might be trying to escape through the back door. With assistance from Officer Scott Casey, they were able to aid four or five people to safety.

Despite the dangers involved, no one, including the 50 to 70 displaced tenants was injured beyond suffering mild smoke inhalation. The teamwork and actions of these officers on this day are truly commendable.

This year, an individual was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award. Since its conception, there have been only six recipients of this award. Distinguished Service Awards are awarded for outstanding achievement clearly above that which is normally required.

For his accomplishments on many projects to improve the quality of life in numerous areas of the City, especially in Beat One, the Distinguished Service Award is given to Officer Bryan Golston. Officer Golston has been able to foster relationships with other City Departments, which include Code Enforcement, the Fire Department, Recreation and Parks, Public Works, and the City Attorney’s Office.

With Code Enforcement, Officer Golston has participated with the Walk-n-Talk Program, which educates residents concerning various municipal codes and neighborhood safety. Officer Golston started the ride-a-long program with having a Code Enforcement Officer attend police briefings and partner up with the Beat Coordinators to educate them and assist them with ongoing problems in the community.

With the Fire Department, he has assisted with the LISTOS Program by recruiting another officer to participate and making referrals to enhance their program, which educates the City’s Hispanic population with home safety.

The Recreation and Parks Department assisted Officer Golston with the National Night Out Event, which was a tremendous success. National Night Out brought numerous public agencies and businesses together in providing education and services to the citizens living in the North/West section of Santa Maria. Officer Golston also participated in the North/West Community Fair at Oakley Park.

The City of Santa Maria, as with many jurisdictions, has ongoing issues with transients and illegal camping. Officer Golston provided the City Attorney’s Office with other jurisdictions’ current laws to provide a foundation. Officer Golston has also issued numerous citations for illegal camping and persons in possession of shopping carts. Officer Golston has been able to eliminate several transient camps throughout the City, which can be very large and elaborate.

Officer Golston also saw a need to deal with the criminal vice issues impacting our City. He contacted the District Attorney’s Office after researching various enforcement codes. After several meetings, a training program was developed and a number of successful arrests have been made.

Officer Golston has also attended Neighborhood Watch meetings, providing home safety tips. He has attended our Town Hall meetings taking notes and immediately taking action on citizens’ concerns. He is a volunteer for the Santa Maria Police Council, and has been able to raise needed monies to provide equipment for the Police Department.

Officer Golston’s last 10 months as a Beat Coordinator have been very busy and successful in many areas to ultimately improve the quality of life for our City.

This award is designed to recognize the performance of unit who has consistently performed in a superior manner throughout the year or during an extraordinary single incident and/or major event.

Detective Bureau & Clerical Support, Crime Lab, Property/Evidence, and Gang Suppression Team

This entire division worked as a team during the year, frequently helping each other with investigations to ensure they were completed in a professional and expeditious manner. In addition to handling ever-increasing caseloads, many members of this division have collateral assignments they are responsible for such as, range masters, honor guard, SWAT, and Crisis Negotiation Team. This has been a unique year and all of these groups have had to work much closer than in the past to ensure that we are providing outstanding service to the community.

Earlier this year, the Detective Bureau handled one of the most heinous murder cases in Santa Maria history. Eleven suspects kidnapped, tortured, and murdered the victim. With the assistance of other department personnel and outside agencies, they worked virtually non-stop for four days, which included multiple crime scenes, and arrested all eleven suspects. They conducted numerous follow-ups over the next several months to solidify the case against the suspects. They wrote multiple search warrants and seized copious amounts of evidence.

The Crime Lab worked alongside the detectives, locating, retrieving, cataloging, and processing critical evidence in this case. They spent numerous hours during the initial response as well as continuing the processing and testing of the evidence. They offered valuable input which assisted in preparing this case for court. The quality work and documentation of this group was highlighted during this investigation; however, it is merely a reflection of their everyday work product.

The Property/Evidence staff is tasked with ensuring the safe custody of every piece of evidence, lost & found property, and safekeeping of property that is brought into the station. Property personnel work tirelessly to ensure that chain of custody requirements are maintained and the integrity of evidence is preserved. They have implemented a new computerized inventory system which lessens the repetitive work for officers as well as updates the way SMPD processes its property. In the murder case involving 11 defendants, there were over 600 individual items of evidence, many of which had to be catalogued and sent off for lab analysis.

The two Records Techs assigned to the Detective Bureau consistently handled a high volume of reports, most of which are extensive and time sensitive. This was particularly emphasized this year with 3 homicides. They possess the knowledge and flexibility to be able to prioritize the critical cases while ensuring other important tasks are completed. Their efforts are the glue that gets the finished product to the District Attorney’s Office.

The Gang Suppression Team was also very instrumental in the investigation and documentation of the homicide case. They were present during the initial investigation and followed up with conducting the gang association packets for the suspects. In addition to their primary duties of gang enforcement, they have willingly assisted members of the Detective Bureau with other investigations or special operations. They have also continued to conduct gang presentations to groups in the community for educational purposes.

This award is presented to the Support employee who takes pride in the quality of their work and does an outstanding job year-round. They have a strong interest in their fellow employees and in the community, and are willing to do that little extra to help others. Recipients of this award exemplify the Excellence in Service on which the Santa Maria Police Department prides itself.

Tara was promoted to the Department’s Business Office from the Records Bureau in August 2007. Her primary duties support the “financial” side of the house in the Business Office. This typically includes accounts payable, accounts receivables, purchasing, contract billings, worker’s compensation, and payroll. She is often called upon to assist with special projects and other administrative duties; many of which are confidential in nature. She performs all of her duties assigned to her efficiently and accurately.

Tara is known as a “Payroll Expert” and as such is required to maintain knowledge of City and Departmental policies and the contents of five (5) different MOU’s that drive how the payroll function is processed. Tara is known to have an “eagle eye” within the TeleStaff System and scans the payroll for entry errors that need to be corrected to ensure the data submitted for each employee to be paid is accurate.

After payroll is submitted to Finance, Tara works on the very tedious and time consuming procedure of processing the journal entries. Journal entries must be completed accurately to appropriately charge overtime to the various grants and contract accounts. Tara’s diligence, allows our department to seek and receive the proper reimbursement for the grants and contracts worked by many in our department. This painstaking process supports the need for the documentation requested of employees and Supervisors when making their entries in TeleStaff.

The Business Office is in constant motion, continuously striving to meet various deadlines, employee and outside department requests, and constant foot traffic. There never seems to be a dull moment; however, at all times, Tara maintains composure and is a true professional. She is a dedicated employee and is truly deserving of this recognition for her continued exemplary service to the Santa Maria Police Department.

This award is presented to the Dispatcher who takes pride in the quality of their work and does an outstanding job year round. This individual must have a strong interest in fellow employees as well as the community and be respected by peers and supervisors.

Juliane has been with the Santa Maria Police Department since 2004, and was selected for her outstanding performance during 2013.

Juliane is recognized as an outstanding dispatcher by both her peers and officers. She has a calming and reassuring voice and is always willing to assist her peers whenever needed. She is a Certified Training Officer and has been praised by several trainees as being very professional and patient especially during challenging times. Juliane is one of two dispatchers responsible for entering all contacts made with parolee’s, probationers, and sex/narcotic/arson registrants into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System Supervisor Release File.

Juliane has received several commendations for her performance since the beginning of her career. Most recent involved a structure fire where the address given was incorrect. With her assistance to the team, they were able to determine the correct address and two residents inside the burning house were saved. She remained calm during this incident and assisted the primary fire dispatcher with multiple requests for additional resources.

Juliane is always willing to go the extra mile to help any and all areas of her work environment and is a positive influence on all employee’s of our department. Juliane is a great asset not only to the division, but to the City of Santa Maria.

The Officer of the Year Award acknowledges that Officer, who day-in and day-out, serves the public with excellence. This officer represents the Department in a positive, professional manner and without expectation of personal reward. This individual has the respect of his or her peers, is committed to serving the community, and is dedicated to the Department’s values, goals and objectives. This individual is willing to do that little bit extra that demonstrates pride in the quality of his or her work.

Officer Alex George is a 15-year veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department. He has worked in various assignments throughout his tenure including Narcotics Detective, SWAT Team Member, and Field Training Officer.

During the past year, he has been an important part of educating and mentoring our newest group of academy graduates. As a Field Training Officer he has taken new officers under his wing ensuring they are prepared to be solo officers. Officer George has demonstrated patience as he teaches them the techniques they need for success. In addition to educating the recruits who have already graduated the academy, Officer George has taken a leadership role in designing and implementing our pre-academy. The pre-academy is designed to get newly hired recruits ready to enter the academy. Consistent with his leadership style, Officer George did not just coach the recruits through their workout routines; he participated and did every exercise right along with them.

Not only is Officer George positively influencing the new recruits, his work ethic is becoming contagious among his peers. He has found his niche in locating and recovering stolen vehicles, and has become a master at this unique skill. The California Highway Patrol gives out an award, a “10851” Pin, to California law enforcement officers who, over 12-months, recover 12 stolen vehicles, three of which result in arrests. During 2013, Officer George recovered over 70 stolen vehicles and arrested in excess of a dozen car thieves. In 2013 he was awarded his 25th CHP “10851” Pin. This ranks Officer George among an elite class of officers in the State for recovering stolen vehicles. To put this accomplishment in perspective, most officers work an entire career without ever achieving this award even once. Officer George has shared techniques with his peers who have now begun to follow in his footsteps. As a result, the patrol officers who work with him have been recovering stolen vehicles at a rate never seen before in the SMPD’s history.