By Mary O’KEEFE
The general public typically has a love/hate relationship with law enforcement. Trying to get to work on time and having to go just a little faster (honestly just a little) than the posted speed limit and then seeing the red and blue lights appear in the rearview mirror – that is when the hate begins. But hear a noise in the middle of the night and see a stranger entering your home – then seeing those lights coming down the street – that is when the love begins. If not love, then at least intense like.
Over the past few days, the Glendale Police Dept. and Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station have honored their own, those who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. honored fallen officers at the 37th Annual Memorial Run.
The run was established in 1976 as a way to remember peace officers who died. The run consists of 58 legs covering over 300 miles. It began on Friday at the Sherman Block Sheriff’s Headquarters in Monterey Park.
Crescenta Valley sheriffs began their run at the Mill Creek Ranger Station in the Angeles National Forest. They ran down the Angeles Crest Highway to Foothill Boulevard then headed west to Briggs Avenue and the CV Sheriff’s Station. Altadena Sheriff’s Station then took over to complete the last leg of the run that ended at their station.
This year the torch run honored Officer Christopher Cortijo, the Los Angeles police officer who died on April 9 when his motorcycle was rear ended by a vehicle in Sunland, Sgt. Leonard R. Luna Jr., a Hawthorne police officer who died on July 8, 2013 when another vehicle struck his motorcycle, and Officer Nicholas C. Lee. Officer Lee, a 16-year veteran with LAPD, was involved in a fatal car accident on March 7. Lee and his partner were in their patrol vehicle when it was struck by a dump truck in Beverly Hills. Lee’s widow and two young daughters joined the torch run on Foothill Boulevard. Cathy Lee and her daughters Jalen, a fifth grader, and first grader Kendall ran alongside CV sheriff runners and finished at the station’s memorial.
The CV Station also honored their own fallen, Dep. David Horr, Dep. Charles D. Rea, Dep. Mike Carney and Sgt. Randy Rousseau.
One of the runners who joined the CV Station personnel at Mill Creek was Rory Norman, son of Sgt. Randy Rousseau.
“It felt great running with these guys who knew my dad, and all of them respected my dad,” said Norman.
Rousseau was only 44 years old when he passed away after a long battle with cancer in May 2007. A dedicated individual, he would periodically return to active duty during his cancer treatment.
In Glendale, the dedication and service of police officers were honored at the annual Glendale Police Appreciation Luncheon on May 15.
“There have been over 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. [On May 15,] on the capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., the President [Barack Obama] is meeting the families of the 100 officers killed in 2013,” said GPD Chief Robert Castro in his opening remarks at the banquet. “Currently, there are 20,267 names engraved on the curving walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Tragically, our community has lost four officers in the line of duty. Their names are also inscribed on the wall.”
The chief then listed the GPD officers who died in the line of duty including Marshal Smith, who died in 1915 after a gunfight with a man suspected of committing an armed robbery; Leslie O. Clem, who died in 1926 in a motorcycle accident during a pursuit; John Isaacson, who died in 1972 in a car accident while on duty; and Charles Lazzaretto, who died in 1997 when he was shot and killed during a search for a man suspected of attempted murder.
But the luncheon was not only to remember those who had passed but also to honor those who continue the tradition “to protect and serve.”
GPD recognized many officers including Medal of Valor awardees Kyle Heinbechner and Matt Landsberger who responded to a south Glendale neighborhood after hearing shots fired. A bystander pointed out a man who the officers approached. The man had his hands in his pockets; Heinbechner asked him to show his hands. When the man took his hands out of his pockets, he had a gun and began shooting at the officers who were in the street and had no cover. The suspect retreated behind a lamppost and the officers went behind their vehicle. The suspect continued to shoot at the officers and they returned fire, fatally shooting the suspect. After an investigation, several rounds from the suspect’s gun were found in the officers’ vehicle and a round had lodged in Officer Heinbechner’s boot. It was later found that the man was a gang member who had been abusing drugs for years.
Lt. Tim Feeley was recognized as Officer of the Year.
“Tim is a recognized expert in the field of narcotics and has taught thousands of officers throughout the country on the topic of street development. He has served on the SWAT team since 1997, and is one of the commanders of the Crisis Negotiating Team,” said David Ono, co-anchor for ABC7 news and the master of ceremonies for the luncheon.
Feeley is also the captain of the Baker to Vegas Relay Team for GPD.
“Lt. Feeley is a loyal, stand-up guy who lives the core values of the Glendale Police Department,” Ono said.
The event honored many officers, staff and volunteers. For a complete list of honorees, visit www.cvweekly.com.
On Wednesday, CV sheriffs took their turn honoring volunteers and officers at their annual Sheriffs Volunteer Banquet held at the La Cañada-Flintridge Country Club.
Below are all the officers and volunteers honored:
GPD’s top three marksmen
First Place and No Second Chance Award:
Sgt. Toby Darby
Officer Brian Young
Third Place: Officer Nik Orloff
Community Service Award: Gregory Davis, Johnny Harrison and Jessi Pineda.
Special recognition given to Officer Sue Shine, Thomas Simpson and Officer Matt Prokosch.
Divisional Award: Petros Kmbikyan, Jason Ross, Keith Soboleski and Tino Saloomen
Distinguished Service Award: Sgt. Manny Fernandez, Officer Jeremy Aliaga, Officer Chad McDonald, Officer Chris Weise, Officer Brain Young, Dispatcher Elisa Lozano and Dispatcher Ashley Schultz
Medal of Heroism: Officer Nelson Aguillon, Officer Shaun Carlson and Lt. Brian Cohen
Medal of Valor: Officer Kyle Heinbechner and Officer Matt Landsberger
Volunteer of the Year: David Coulter and Officer Emin Gharibain.
Professional Staff Employee
of the Year: Dan Olson
Officer of the Year:
Lt. Tim Feeley