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Turlocks top cops honored at annual ceremony
Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton and Mayor John Lazar award the Medal of Valor to Officer Joseph Ramos for bravery he showed in the rescue of a disabled woman from a house fire. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal
Surrounded by the oh-so appropriate doughnut centerpieces, the Turlock Police Department handed out their annual awards for their best and brightest.
The annual breakfast awards ceremony honors those individuals within the department who have been singled out by their peers for exemplary performance.
Taking home the first award at Thursday’s ceremony for Volunteer of the Year, was Bill Stapleton, a member of the Volunteers in Police Services. Stapleton has been a volunteer with the department since 2003 and recorded more than 855 hours of volunteer service with the department in 2009. He has been one of the driving forces behind the department’s graffiti patrol, which catalogues all the graffiti found across the city.
“In these current economic times, there are many services we would not be able to provide without our volunteers,” Police Chief Gary Hampton said of the work VIPS contributes to the department. “Some of these individuals volunteer as many hours as full-time employees.”
The newly formed Narcotics Enforcement Team took the Excellence Award for their work in removing street level drug dealers from Turlock’s streets. The three man team of Sgt. James Silveira, Jason Watson and Jesse Bawcum, became fully operational in 2009 and immediately started handling a high volume of investigations, Hampton said.
“The results of their work in our community is already evident,” Hampton said.
The Officer of the Year award was bestowed upon Detective James McWilliams for his 29 years of service, and as one nominator said, “for being the hardest working police officer in the department.
The Employee of the Year award went to Allison Martin, who Hampton said was “an individual who is consistently at the top of their profession.”
The department also gave out a Medal of Valor to one of their officers and certificates of recognition to three dispatchers for their roles in the rescue of a disabled woman from a fire.
On Nov. 13, 2009, an elderly disabled woman called emergency services in a panic because a fire had erupted in her bedroom and she was not able to get herself out. Officer Joseph Ramos was on patrol near the area and rushed to the scene. He ran into the burning bedroom and used a fire extinguisher to tamp down the flames and get the woman out of the residence safely as the fire and ambulance personnel arrived. His quick actions and that of dispatchers, Kathleen Riedel, Marti Selover and Cyndi Chabra, were credited with saving the woman’s life.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.