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The Santa Monica Police Department celebrated its bi-annual awards ceremony on, May 21. The ceremony honored the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department as well as the Santa Monica College Police Department. Recognition for Officer of the Year was given to employees by civic organizations such as the Elks Lodge, the Jaycees, the Rotary Club, and the American Legion.

The ceremony culminated in the recognition of exemplary police work during the tragic, multiple shooting incident that occurred on June 7, 2013. Awardees were recognized for meritorious service, courage, and valor during the incident.

Medals of merit were awarded to SMPD employees Officer Miguel Rodriguez, Officer David Haro, Officer Edgar Navarro, Communications Operator Kathy Wagner, Communications Operator Rosalie Gutierrez, Staff Assistant Robert Seeman and Traffic Services Officer Orlando Valdez. Medals of Merit were awarded to SMCPD employees Dispatcher Kathy Kerce and Police Cadet Jonathan Cook.

The SMPD Lifesaving Medal was awarded to Sergeant Mike Braaten. The SMCPD Medal of Courage was warded to Sergeant Jere Romano and Sergeant Mark Kessler. The SMCPD Medal of Valor was awarded to Captain Raymond Bottenfield. The SMPD Medal of Valor was awarded to Officer Jason Salas and Officer Robert Sparks.

SMPD also recognized the Elks Lodge Officers of the Year (Sergeant Salvador Lucio, Officer Robert Martinez and Officer Thomas Mastin), American Legion Officers of the Year (Sergeant Jaime Hernandez and Officer Lowell Watson), Jaycees Outstanding Young Officers (Officer Blake Cooper, Jail Manager Jennifer Estrada and Officer Nick Krueger), Rotary Club’s Officer of the Year (Sergeant Jon Murphy and Lieutenant Kenneth Semko), Police Officers Association Officers of the Year (Officer Francisco Franco, Officer Jason Salas, Officer Robert Sparks), Police Officers Association Investigators of the Year (Detective Larry Nicols and Detective Karen Thompson), Police Officers Association Supervisors of the Year (Sergeant Saul Rodriguez and Lieutenant Michael Beautz) and the United States Attorney Special Award (Officer Derek Leone).

SMCPD recognized the Elks Lodge Officers of the Year (Officer Ruben Cadera and Sergeant Jere Romano).

Unit citations and Chief’s Commendations were also awarded.

The ceremony also recognized an honored the memory those officers of the Santa Monica Police Department that, in the past, gave their lives in support of their community.

— Matthew Hall

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