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Turlock Police honor employees' service
Officer of the Year Detective Brandon Bertram and Employee of the Year Sara Bickle were just two Turlock Police employees honored at Thursday's award ceremony. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Turlock Police Department honored their own Thursday at their annual awards ceremony by recognizing those officers and personnel who exemplified the mission of the department to protect and serve.

The department handed out six service awards and six medals for distinguished service.

The Employee of the Year award went to Sara Bickle. Officer of the Year was awarded to Detective Brandon Bertram. Volunteer of the Year award went to Skip Young. Crime Prevention Specialist Michelle Backeroff was honored with the department’s Excellence Award.

The department gave Commendation Awards to Officers Queray McMihelk and Greg Roton for their roles in stopping a possible gang retaliation for a drive-by shooting. The two officers were assigned to a patrol area that had experienced three drive-by shootings in two days. At one of the homes targeted, investigators recovered more than 30 shell casings from two handguns, said Turlock Police spokesperson Sgt. Stephen Webb.

The two officers were assigned to patrol the area with the goal of preventing any more gang violence.

“Officer Roton is known to be a very good driver and calm under pressure during pursuits,” said Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson. “Officer McMihelk was chosen because of his SWAT experience.”

While on patrol the two officers spotted a white minivan parked near one of the locations. About 30 minutes later the white minivan was seen traveling towards the area of the second and third shootings.

The two instigated a high risk stop on the minivan. One person fled from the vehicle on foot, but was apprehended by other officers called to the scene.

All occupants of the vehicle were detained and two loaded handguns were recovered from the vehicle.  These weapons were able to be attributed to two of the occupants, who were arrested and booked on felony weapons charges. 

“It is likely Officers Roton and McMihelk stopped another drive-by shooting from happening,” Jackson  said.

Cpl. Ramon Godoy, Officer Adam Neep and dispatchers Dana Muir and Sonia Fisher were presented with the Distinguished Service Medals for their roles in helping save a woman who fell into unconsciousness alongside the road. The emergency caller was Spanish speaking and the quick thinking dispatchers and Cpl. Godoy were able to get her help quickly.

Officer Neep was dispatched within nine seconds of the call and was the first to arrive at the scene and performed CPR on the woman until emergency medical technicians arrived and got her to the hospital.

“The professionalism and teamwork displayed by all involved staff when addressing this very unusual set of circumstances led to seconds, if not minutes, being shaved off the response time,” Jackson said.

Officer Nate Urban was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his actions that helped save the life of a 3-year-old girl.

On Aug. 7, 2015, emergency dispatch received a report of a 3-year-old girl in cardiac arrest. Dispatch advised patrol units that the Turlock Fire Department and emergency medical technicians were in route to the scene. Urban was near the location and responded as well, arriving to the home first. Urban recounted that he found the child lying lifeless on a couch with her eyes fixed with a “thousand yard stare.”

“Officer Urban quickly jumped into action, checking for a pulse and breathing from the child,” said Jackson. “He determined that she was not breathing and did not have a pulse.  He then proceeded to begin CPR on the child which included chest compressions and administering breaths.  After three 'rounds' of chest compressions and administered breaths, the child suddenly took a deep breath and her heart beat returned.

“Officer Urban is being recognized for his quick response to the scene, his determination that CPR was necessary, and utilizing the training he has received to successfully perform CPR and bring the child back to life,” Jackson said.

Officer Medlin was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his 20 years of service on the department’s SWAT team.

“His long-committed and resiliency is unprecedented within our agency and exceptional in and of itself,” Jackson said. “His service on the team has directly contributed to the department goals, its vision and mission statements.  Officer Medlin has mentored team members and contributed to their access and advancement within the department.”