SANTA MARIA POLICE DEPARTMENT
DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN AWARDS
EXPLORER OF THE YEAR
Captain Meraz has been with the Post since 2006, and has moved through the ranks of the Post to his current position of Captain. He has demonstrated his value during this past year by running meetings and assisting with trainings. His enthusiasm for the Post and his leadership abilities amongst the newer members is outstanding. He has proven to be extremely responsible, and has eagerly made public contacts in an effort to get the Post to work on different details.
MARK RIDDERING AWARD
OFFICER ANDREW BRICE
Officers Andrew Brice and David Culver responded to the medical call of a female subject not breathing. They arrived at the location and found the female subject lying on the ground in the restroom receiving CPR from Amy. Officers Brice and Culver took over the scene and determined the female was still not breathing and had no pulse. Relieving Amy of her efforts, Officer Brice immediately began rescue breaths on the subject, whom was bleeding from the mouth, while Officer Culver began chest compressions. Officers Brice and Culver continued emergency life saving measures until AMR Paramedics and the Fire Department arrived.
The subject was subsequently transported to Marian Medical center where sadly, she passed away approximately two weeks later. The combined efforts of everyone involved helped provide the family the opportunity to spend additional time with their loved one.
OFFICER PAUL SANTIAGO
After several minutes, it appeared as if the female was not going to regain any signs of life. At one point, paramedics even pronounced a time of death because all attempts to revive her had failed. Within seconds of the announcement, she regained a pulse and began to breathe slightly on her own. The female was subsequently transported to the hospital where she remained in critical but stable condition.
Officer Santiago’s immediate response, commitment, and diligence in his efforts to save a life, proved to be the difference in a situation that could have easily resulted in a tragic loss.
DISTINGUISHED TEAM AWARD
Teamwork is a daily function for the Communications Division, as they work in very intense, emotional, and rewarding conditions. 2012 was the most challenging times in the history of the Santa Maria Police Department. One Saturday afternoon in particular, the on-duty dispatchers handled a bank robbery, attempted car jacking, gang fight, and to top it off, and officer involved fight that eventually led to a major injury traffic accident.
In August 2012, the Communications Center had to be evacuated due to a bomb threat. The on-duty dispatchers were given only a few minutes notice to gather needed equipment and resume their duties in a Command Post requiring them to disseminate calls from handheld portables and answer 911 calls on a cell phone. Critical call details that are usually typed into a computer database were being handwritten on a notepad with a pen.
Officers may only hear one voice over the radio; however, there is a team behind the voice, assisting and gathering key information from frantic callers. They work together for a common interest, officer safety and the safety of our community.
DISPATCHER OF THE YEAR
Shanna has received several commendations for these abilities, and has been instrumental in the capture of a number of felon’s, one of whom is now facing life in prison, in part to her diligent abilities to research CAD and Records Management System while working a DUI check point.
Shanna is always willing to assist her peers, co-workers, and mentor trainee’s. She is a consistent team player, and goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist her team anyway she can.
SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR
Sgt. Schneider has been with the Santa Maria Police Department since 1995. During his tenure with the SMPD, Sgt. Schneider has worked a variety of assignments including SWAT, the Gang Suppression Team, Detectives, and Patrol Sergeant. Most recently, Sgt. Schneider has been the department’s Training Sergeant, in which he eagerly embraced after realizing it was a critical department need at the time.
It is this particular mindset that has allowed Sgt. Schneider to distinguish himself amongst his colleagues. With the department’s civilian training coordinator on maternity leave, this supervisor stepped into his role without the benefit of exposure to training curriculums, designed to enhance effectiveness within the position. Sgt. Schneider not only met the challenges head-on, but soon after was operating smoothly and efficiently, addressing the officers’ training needs whenever they were deemed critical.
Currently Sgt. Schneider has the critical task of coordinating the department’s recruiting efforts to attract qualified police officer lateral, entry-level, and trainee candidates. In doing so, he has assessed and utilized department resources aimed at providing recruitment outreach to law enforcement academies throughout the state.
Earlier in the year, Sgt. Schneider successfully participated in a department promotional opportunity and was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, to be effective June 1st.
OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Detective Parker “thinks outside the box” and is always searching for new ways to prove criminal cases. This year, he used cell phone GPS technology to solve two gang related crimes. Due to the irrefutable GPS evidence in a drive by shooting, one of the suspects pled guilty prior to trial, taking 35 years in state prison. The other suspect is awaiting trial, facing a life sentence. Using the same cell phone GPS technology, a homicide suspect was arrested as he was walking to a waiting car in preparation to leave town. Had there been any delay, the suspect would have likely fled our jurisdiction prior to arrest.
Detective Parker is a master at uncovering criminal street gang intelligence. He uses many avenues to accomplish this task. During this past year, he has located, documented, and used gang intelligence uncovered during field contact, during probation searches, from cell phones, from social networking websites, and from informants. He has written at least half a dozen search warrants this year to gather evidence of criminal activity that he located on the internet. During 2012, Detective Parker testified as a gang expert in court approximately six times. He has now testified as a gang expert approximately 12 times in his career. Detective Parker has also earned a great reputation with the District Attorney’s office for his expertise in this field.
Detective Parker has become very good at the art of interviewing. He has been able to elicit confessions from many hard-core gang members during this past year. During this past year, he was able to elicit confessions from gang members who lied on the witness stand, stabbed innocent victims, illegally sold firearms, committed robberies, car jackings, and many other crimes.