The Edmonds Police Department took time out on Wednesday evening to honor its own in the annual Edmonds Police Department Awards ceremony.
Held each year during National Police Week, the ceremony recognizes outstanding achievement by both citizens and officers in serving and protecting the Edmonds community. Inaugurated in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, National Police Week honors active police officers serving throughout the United States, and in particular those who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the first recorded peace officer death in 1792.
Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan began the evening by calling to mind the deeper meaning of law enforcement service, pausing to recognize the 900,000 law enforcement officers serving across the United States, and to remember the more than 20,000 who have been killed in the line of duty since the formation of our republic.
“Washington state has lost 286 officers killed in the line of duty, the most recent being Tacoma Police Officer Jake Gutierrez this past Nov. 30,” Compaan said. “Nationwide 143 officers lost their lives in 2016, and so far this year 46 have fallen in the line of duty. Tonight we are here to honor their memory and their service as we recognize the outstanding work of our own officers and citizens from the Edmonds community.”
Compaan then introduced Mayor Dave Earling, who congratulated all the evening’s honorees, and in particular the citizens who in many unsung ways further law enforcement in our community. He went on to say that one of the reasons Edmonds is such a great place to live is our “exemplary” police department, noting the visit earlier in the day of the Washington State Police Accreditation Team, which is in the process of evaluating local police departments across the state against more than 140 specific criteria.
“I am pleased and proud to be able to report that the team found our own Edmonds Police Department to be among the top five in the state,” Earling said.
Emcee Sgt. Shane Hawley then took over the podium and began the program with Citizen Service Citations, recognizing citizens who have made a positive contribution to law enforcement in our community.
The Citizen Service Citation is bestowed on citizens whose assistance to the police department contributed to the furtherance of law enforcement in the community, often at considerable personal risk.
The first recipients were Andrea Puller and her son Timothy, who were driving home from school in January of this year when they encountered a woman beating and choking a small dog. When they pulled over to the curb and attempted to call 911, the woman ran toward their car yelling obscenities. Police responded and in the ensuing scuffle two officers were assaulted before the woman was subdued and arrested. “It was absolutely terrible,” said Timothy in his statement. “I mean, who would do that to any dog.”
Also recognized with the Citizen Service Citation were Scott Weaver and Gilbert Fallarme, who jumped in to help an officer attempting to apprehend a suspect in a local Starbucks. Store employees had called 911 after the suspect, who had previously been asked to leave the store for disruptive behavior, came back in. After being told he was under arrest, the suspect began resisting and attempting to retrieve something from his pockets, and he and the officer ended up on the ground in a full-on fight, while the suspect attempted to swallow baggies of what later proved to be meth. Without regard for their own safety, Weaver and Fallarme jumped into the fray to assist the officer, and between the three of them subdued him. Thanks to their help, the officer was not injured and the drugs were recovered. Fallarme could not be present for the award, and his daughters Isabella and Victoria accepted it for him.
Next up was Clifton Smith, whose selfless actions defused a volatile situation where a screaming woman was taking refuge in her car while an attacker menacingly circled the car pounding on and breaking windows. After calling 911, Smith went over to the car to ask the woman if she was all right, and stayed with her until officers arrived. The attacker had a felony arrest warrant and was taken to jail.
The next Citizen Service Award went to Police Explorer Bill Cox, in recognition of his more than 300 hours of volunteer work, including his role as a Citizen Advisor and mentoring other explorers in the program, all while working and attending college.
Also recognized were Rose Vieth and Matthew Hovde for quick action to save a life. It began in late April when Rose Vieth discovered an unconscious man foaming at the mouth and not breathing in his car at the top of Main Street. She flagged down passing motorist Matthew Hovde, who pulled the man from car while Vieth called 911. The 911 operator instructed them over the phone as they administered CPR to the victim, who was transported to the hospital by responders from police and fire.
The next Citizen Service Citation went to Emily and Geoffrey Hovde for their quick actions in summoning help for an apparent sexual assault victim on a lonely section of beach just south of the Edmonds Dog Park. While walking next to the railroad tracks, the Hovdes saw the woman screaming for help and running toward them. After hearing her say she’d been attacked, Geoff Hovde called 911. About the same time, they noticed a man climbing up from the beach, running past them, and disappearing up the slope. When police arrived, the Hovdes were able to help direct them to the suspect, who was arrested, charged with attempted rape and murder, and subsequently convicted and sent to prison. (See My Edmonds News coverage of the arrest here, and the sentencing here.)
The next award category, the Letter of Commendation, is given to employees and officers who perform particularly noteworthy acts or service. Receiving the award this year was Detective Stacie Trykar, who specializes in solving crimes involving human and sexual exploitation. While working with the mother of a local family, Trykar began to suspect particular problems with the 12-year-old daughter. She began what turned out to be an extended investigation, which ultimately led to uncovering three suspects who had been using the girl and others in the commercial sex trade. For her skillful and thorough work in solving this complex case, the King County Prosecutor said, ” I don’t give out many compliments, but the investigation was extremely thorough. It had everything in the case and documented the evidence on all three suspects, making it easy to prosecute.”
This year’s Meritorious Service Citation went to Officers Eric Falk and Donald Kinney. In November, the pair responded to a 911 call where a woman was reported screaming to the dispatcher that her 2-year-old daughter was not breathing. While dispatch gave CPR instructions over the phone, Falk and Kinney rushed to the scene to find the child without a pulse. They immediately took over CPR and got the pulse back by the time aid units arrived. A few days later, the entire family, including the 2-year-old came to the station to say thank you to both officers. They also wrote a note in which the mother told us, “I have never been happier or more relieved to see someone come flying through the door. Thank you so much for your fast response, you helped save our baby girl.”
In a belated Meritorious Service Citation, Officer Kraig Strum was recognized again for his fast and skilled medical attention in a case from 2015 where a pizza delivery driver was brutally stabbed, suffering potentially mortal wounds. Officer Strum provided fast, lifesaving medical attention at the scene, which included putting the victim’s intestines back into his open wound and stabilizing him for transport to Harborview (read My Edmonds News coverage of the incident and trial here). Originally awarded a Letter of Commendation for his actions, it was later determined he should have been recognized with the next highest award, the Meritorious Service Citation. Strum was not present at the ceremony to receive his award.
The next Meritorious Service Citation went to Officer Jason Robinson for his fast work stabilizing an intruder shot in the chest by a homeowner. Arriving on the scene, he found the intruder laying on his back in the street. Robinson cut off the victim’s clothing and applied a chest seal to the wound. When the man stopped breathing, he immediately began CPR until the man’s pulse returned. Aid crews arrived and were able to take over with advanced lifesaving equipment. The man was taken to Harborview and ultimately survived. The aid crew later commented that this was one of the best jobs they had ever seen, having a patient already prepped and ready for them.
The Non-Commissioned Employee of the Year award recognizes the contributions of administrative and other non-uniformed employees to the furtherance of law enforcement in the community. This year’s recipient, 29-year department employee Police Staff Assistant Mindy Broman, handles public disclosure specialist for the police department, responding to what has in recent years become an avalanche of these requests. Each request requires a customized individual response that entails researching, redacting information proscribed by law and the courts, and preparing the paperwork.
In 2016, Broman responded to almost 1700 requests, and this year is on track to process 2000. In addition to her work for the department, she is active in the community with the Homeward Pets Shelter, works with developmentally challenged young people, and prepares keepsake books for retiring officers. Joining in the presentation of this year’s award to Broman were Jim Collins and Les Abel of Edmonds’ American Legion Post 66.
One officer’s contributions required creating a new separate award category, Junior Officer of the Year. This year’s recipient of this first-ever award was 5-year-old Officer Sam Calquhoun, who last December was inducted into the department and sworn in as the youngest officer in the history of the department. In his first day on the job, Officer Sam apprehended the notorious donut thief Sprinkles McClure, who had eluded officers for months. “He’s set the bar pretty high for the rest of the department,” said Chief Al Compaan at the time. “We could sure use more like him.” Read the full coverage in My Edmonds News here.
The final event of the evening was the presentation of the department’s highest award, the Chief David N. Stern Memorial Officer of the Year. Named in honor of Chief Stern who passed away suddenly in 2007, this award recognizes significant and sustained achievements and dedication. Candidates are nominated by fellow department employees and selected by previous recipients.
This year’s recipient was Officer Jason Robinson, in recognition of his long-term excellence and commitment to law enforcement in our community.
Over the years, Robinson’s contributions have touched all areas of the department. Examples include spending his free time putting together many of the police graphics used throughout the department, including recruiting flyers, custom graphics and the yearly design of the awards ceremony program. He leads by example, mentors many officers, and treats everyone he contacts with the highest levels of courtesy and respect, thereby setting the bar for the entire department. Working with his daughter, he puts together care packages for the homeless that he keeps in the trunk of his car and gives them out while at work.
A further example: When notified of a young man with serious health challenges who truly wanted to be a police officer, Robinson jumped into action. He arranged a meeting with the young man, and took Police Dog Hobbs to see him. However, true to form, Robinson didn’t stop there, spending months arranging all the details including a full welcoming line, a bugler, a formal swearing in and making a custom uniform. The result was last December’s induction of Officer Sam Calquhoun into the Edmonds Police Department, one of the greatest days anyone at the department can remember in a long time.
“And the remarkable thing is, the department has come to expect this from Officer Robinson. It’s just who he is,” remarked emcee Sgt. Shane Hawley. “But we don’t want to overlook the fact that what he does for others is nothing short of amazing. It’s easy to forget that because it’s his standard operating procedure. Two words sum up Officer Robinson and his contributions to this agency and the community: Selfless Service.”
Joining Chief Compaan in presenting the award were Jim Collins of American Legion Post 66, Doug Purcell of the Edmonds Rotary Noon Club, and Darlene Stern, for whose husband this award is named.
“This has been a special night of recognition of achievement, as well as remembering those presently in our profession and those who have gone before us,” said Chief Compaan in conclusion. “We appreciate the efforts of our own employees, our fellow law enforcement officers, and of our citizens and volunteers for all that is done throughout the year to maintain our quality of life through public safety.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel