It was a night when Edmonds police honored both citizens and their own officers during the annual police department awards ceremony, but it was a 12-year-old Edmonds boy and a police dog who stole the show Thursday night.
Aidan Stewart was one of several community members who received Citizen Service Citations for their role in helping police do their jobs during the past year. Assistant Chief of Police Gerald Gannon, who narrated the evening, told this story: Last September, Aidan was playing baseball in his yard during the late afternoon when a suspected car thief came running through his yard in the 1600 block of 9th Avenue North. He threw his baseball bat at the man, then started yelling for help. When the police K-9 team arrived in pursuit, Aidan gave a detailed description of the man and the direction he had fled into some nearby brush. The K-9 team came and trapped the suspect in the exact location the boy had pointed out, taking him into custody. The suspect later confessed to the crime, as well as others, Blackburn said.
The four-legged award winner, meanwhile, was police dog Rocky, who received a Distinguished Service Citation for Valor, although Chief Al Compaan joked, “I don’t know what he’s going to do with the certificate.” Rocky appeared with his handler Officer Shane Hawley, who also received a Meritorious Service Citation for community service. Rocky was retired from K-9 duties in January but during his career he “sacrificed himself in the pursuit of justice,” Gannon said. “He survived being hit by a car while tracking a suspect, he survived a life-threatening surgery for a stomach injury suffered when tracking a criminal and he lost a portion of his tail after being injured during an intense training scenario.”
“While still suffering from a broken tail, Rocky tracked and located a burglar who was ultimately found responsible for over 20 residential burglaries,” he added.
Other winners during the evening included:
Gary Arnold, who on Jan 1, 2010, observed three suspects breaking into his neighbor’s house in the Lake Ballinger neighborhood at 3:50 a.m., and also saw two suspicious vehicles, one of which was backed in to the neighbor’s carport. Arnold called 911 and was able to provide detailed description of the suspects and the vehicle, Gannon said, and as result officers were able to prevent the vehicle from leaving and also took one suspect into custody. It turns out that the vehicle had been stolen earlier in the day from a Bellevue residence, which had also been burglarized. Inside the car were items from the neighbor’s house, which had been burglarized prior to police arriving, plus stolen property from other cities. As a result of Arnold’s quick action, “numerous burglaries were solved and a large amount of stolen property was recovered and returned to its rightful owners,” Gannon said.
Jacob Kimerer, a member of the Edmonds Police Explorers, who on Aug. 31, 2010 at 1:29 . observed suspects smoking marijuana at the Frances Anderson Center playfield. Kimerer called 911 and police who responded found a plastic container with three plastic bags filled iwht marijuana, several empty bags and a digital scale. Both suspects were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
When it was time to recognize their own employees, the police department bestowed two awards — including its highest honor — to Officer Anthony Collins. Collins received an Award of Excellence for his work on the nightime traffic shift to arrest impaired drivers, leading the department with 70 DUI arrests in 2010. And at the end of the evening, Collins was awarded the Chief David N. Stern Memorial Officer of the Year, nominated by fellow employees and selected by previous Officer of the Year winners. The award is named after the late Edmonds Police Chief David N. Stern, who passed away in 2007. Presenting the award to Collins was Stern’s widow, Darlene, and Doug Purcell of the Edmonds Rotary Club, where Stern was active prior to his death.
Edmonds Police Officer Bill Nelson; John Tullis, captain of the ferry Spokane; Spokane crew member Richard Kennedy and able seamen Seth Hamlin and Marjorie Hess were honored for their efforts to rescue two divers in distress at the Edmonds dive park on March 27, 2010. My Edmonds News had a story about the incident here, when Tullis, Hamlin and Hess were recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“It was through the quick actions of all involved that a possible tragedy was avoided,” Gannon said. Nelson received a Letter of Commendation awarded to department employees or officers from other law enforcement agencies who perform noteworthy acts of service, while Tullis, Kennedy, Hamlin and Ess were awarded Citizen Service Citations.
Angela Debotton and Robert Dunbar received Citizen Service Citations and Officer Earl Yamane earned a Letter of Commendation for their roles in identifying and capturing a suspect in the Sept. 17, 2010 arson fire at Canopy World on Highway 99 in Edmonds.
Nancy McAllister, deputy chief of the Port of Seattle patrol bureau, received a Letter of Commendation for her efforts on March 27, 2010 to provide CPR to a man in her Edmonds neighborhood who collapsed while mowing his lawn. McAllister’s actions were credited with saving the man’s life.
Sgt. Jason Valentine of the Lynnwood Police Department received a Letter of Commendation for his efforts to recover $80,000 worth of jewelry stolen from an armed robbery of Cline Custom Jewelers on May 5, 2010. While Edmonds Police apprehended the suspect and discovered the firearm used in the robbery, the jewelry was nowhere to be found. Valentine of Lynnwood’s K-9 unit and his police dog Sandor discovered the jewels in “what appeared to be discarded trash — a simple pepper shaker which had been a flower planter nowhere near where the suspect had been captured,” Gannon said.
Edmonds Police Detective Ross Sutton received a Letter of Commendation for his police work regarding a suspect who had been threatening a nurse at a local medical facility. Sutton’s work ultimately led to the suspect’s conviction and a 29-month jail sentence.
Anne Johnson received the Non-Commissioned Employee of the Year award for her outstanding work overseeing the department’s police records
Both Johnson and Collins received their awards from Commander Duane Pounds and Les Abel of the American Legion Frank Feese Post #66, which has been a strong supporter of the police department, Compaan noted.