OAKLAND -- From aiding survivors and searching for the gunman in the city's largest mass killing to delivering a baby to helping reduce blight, more than three dozen Oakland police officers and civilian employees were honored Tuesday.
In the face of challenges, some very dangerous, Chief Howard Jordan said the award recipients persevered "because of their expertise, courage, morals, values and dedication."
Sixteen officers were recognized for their work in the April 2 shooting at Oikos University, where a former student is charged with killing seven people and wounding three others in the city's largest ever mass killing.
Capt. Brian Medeiros, who retired last month to join the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, received the Chief's Leadership Award. He was the incident commander and coordinated all aspects of the operation. Capt. Ersie Joyner, who announced the awards, praised Medeiros' work at "a scene of magnitude not often seen in law enforcement."
Fifteen officers received the Silver Star, the department's second highest honor for distinguished and courageous acts. The officers were involved in rescuing and treating survivors and searching for the suspect in the building.
They are Sgts. Rick Andreotti, Dom Arotzarena, Michael Beaver, Patrick Gonzales, Roland Holmgren and Mike Reilly and Officers Dave Burke, Andres Garza, now with San Francisco, James Henry, Francisco Negrete, Richard Niven, Diane Ward and John Fukuda. Oakland public school police Officers Michael Creighton and Antonio Fregoso also received the award.
Eight officers were awarded the Silver Star for an Oct. 25, 2011, incident involving Occupy Oakland demonstrators. The officers were confronted by hundreds of protesters in downtown who tried to free someone arrested for assaulting an officer. The officers had bottles and other objects thrown at them before help arrived. Those officers are Robert Cooper, Joseph Fesmire, Glenn Hara, Jesse Lawless, Dana Ly, Robert McMillan, Alain Manguy and Natalie Windham. Veteran police dispatcher Nancy Parlette got a Medal of Merit for monitoring the situation and getting backup to the officers.
Officer Katherine Evans received a Silver Star for arresting an armed man who had fought with a security guard on July 14.
Officers Sean Bowling, Jeffhry Cid and Charles Stone got Medals of Merit for helping a woman deliver a baby Nov. 9 at an East Oakland gas station.
A Unit Citation went to four officers and three civilians in the recruiting unit for setting up the process and interviewing more than 1,000 applicants to get 55 police recruits for the first training academy in four years. Officers Sylvian Brewster, John O'Reilly, Wendy Rae and Juan Sanchez were honored, as were Antone' Hicks, Janet Yan and Kathleen Torrence.
Civilian Employee of the Year was Kay Ellison-James, who worked with patrol and traffic officers at Eastmont Substation on a variety of different assignments.
Police Service Technician Zelina Battiste received the Team Support award for her work in vehicle abatement and towing and illegal dumping, and Service Technician Dan Dowd got the Challenger award for tracking down and seizing the vehicles of scofflaws who have large numbers of unpaid traffic tickets.