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Sacramento Police Department

Monday, September 1, 2014

2008 Distinguished Service Award Recipients

Greg Brown

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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Jacob Casella

Officer Jacob Casella is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service contributing to the update of the Sacramento Police Department's Redi-Ref in its portable and paper form. For several years, many officers were challenged in using the electronic version of the indispensable reference guide for conducting their daily work. Officers working in assignments with limited or no access to the electronic version were left using outdated Redi-Refs or relying on simple notes.

Officer Casella brought the issue to the attention of his lieutenant and a committee was formed to study the feasibility of the project. Officer Casella spent a considerable amount of his own time researching areas that officers needed in the Redi-Ref, refining and proofreading sections of the guide, conducting research and attending committee meetings. The result of Officer Casella's initiative was an extensive new Redi-Ref that includes current and relevant information for every officer to use in the field in a format that is easily updated.

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Vanessa Ciarnelli

Supervising Forensic Investigator Vanessa Ciarnelli is being recognized for her dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department. Faced with the need to hire and train six new Forensic Investigators, Ms. Ciarnelli volunteered to create, design, and manage a new and formal Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) Academy that would facilitate the expedited training of new personnel in an organized and comprehensive manner. Prior CSI training was individualized for new employees as needed. This new Academy would provide for consistent training for all future employees.

In embarking on this project, Ms. Ciarnelli first identified the technical and practical subject areas required for a new employee to succeed. Then she contacted the appropriate individuals who were qualified and capable of teaching these classes. She then sought certification of the Academy from the Los Rios Community College District. This certification process entailed her submitting comprehensive lesson plans for each hour of the course curriculum. The result of Ms. Ciarnelli's hard work and effort was a 392 hour certified CSI Academy which included subjects such as Latent Fingerprint Examination, Evidence Lab Processing, Field Scene Processing Techniques, Self-Defense Training, and a variety of practical, scenario-based exercises that a Crime Scene Investigator would face in the field. This Academy graduated its first class in February 2008.

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George Martinez

Officer George Martinez is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. Assigned as a School Resource Officer at Goethe Middle School during the 2006/2007 school year, Officer Martinez decided to take his GREAT program one step further.

Officer Martinez developed a mountain biking club and team that incorporated the component of the GREAT curriculum as its foundation. He created this program to include both his assigned school and nearby Burbank High School. This innovative program gave inner-city students an opportunity to participate in a non-traditional and exciting sport, while at the same time, developing themselves as individuals. Officer Martinez formed the mountain biking piece as part of a holistic approach to preventing youth delinquency.

In addition to learning how to ride mountain bikes, the participating students received academic assistance, exposure to the GREAT curriculum, mentoring, and physical fitness training. The students at the high school level were able to compete against other teams, often from more affluent schools, throughout Northern California. This opportunity gave a tremendous boost of self-esteem to all the students that participated. Utilizing numerous resources (bicycles from Property, equipment donations from other schools, donations from the business community, and police officer and CSO volunteers), Officer Martinez ensured the success of this program without impacting the Department's budget.

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Matthew Mehlhaff

Officer Matthew Mehlhaff is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the students of Kit Carson Middle School. Assigned as a School Resource Officer at this school since 2006, Officer Mehlhaff has become a mentor, advisor, and role model to the students.

In September 2007, in an effort to divert his students from potential delinquent behavior and to give them alternative afterschool activities, Officer Mehlhaff started two student clubs on campus: The Avid Readers Club and the Student Watch Club. Choosing books that were both engaging and fun for his students, the Avid Readers Club was aimed at improving literacy and giving students an incentive to read. Working with the school principal, he was able to gain funding through the school's literacy fund to help offset the cost of the books for this club. In addition Officer Mehlhaff developed a partnership with Doubleday Books and was able to acquire a 20% discount for books for his students.

The Student Watch Club was created by Officer Mehlhaff to teach his students basic life skills and to better prepare them in the event of an emergency. This Club covered basic crime prevention techniques, basic emergency preparedness, and anti-bullying. He brought in outside public safety agencies to help with training and set up CPR and first aid training for the members who became certified in both.

In addition to his efforts at Kit Carson Middle School, Officer Mehlhaff started the Sacramento City Unified School District's only Gang Resistance Education and Training Families Program at Bret Harte Elementary School. During this six-week program, he provided valuable training to these families on communications skills within the family, basic safety and violence prevention, and family bonding skills that these families needed.

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Al Miller

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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Michael Nichols

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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Steven Oliveira

Sergeant Steven Oliveira is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the K9 Unit. Sergeant Oliveira has supervised the K9 Unit since 2006. By his participation in daily activities and regional trials as a canine handler, he sets an example of individual participation and the need for continual training for his team.

As training was his focus for the team last year, Sergeant Oliveira was instrumental in researching and recommending the hiring of a full-time trainer to improve training for his Unit. He established a Unit directive that each canine handler participate in at least one canine trial during the year. Sergeant Oliveira further improved his Unit by researching and recommending an automated K9 Activity Tracking System database to track the activities of individual canine handlers including use of force application, search results, and individual training records.

In 2007, Sergeant Oliveira assumed personal responsibility for the development of the Sacramento Regional Law Enforcement K9 Training Facility, adjacent to the Sacramento Police Academy. Along with members of his team, he spent countless hours working with Academy staff in developing the site, creating a design, and physically preparing the property. Through personal contacts and community outreach, Sergeant Oliveira raised $20,000 in public donations for the sponsorship of canines for the Unit and for the development of this training facility. At over one acre in size, this facility includes a 15,000 square feet training field; a large paved area for canine training involving driving; and an area for a new challenging agility and obstacle course that is yet to be built. Once totally complete, this training facility will be available to all participating public safety K9 Units in the region for relevant training.

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George Singewald

Officer George Singewald is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the SWAT Team.

As a member of the SWAT team for the last four years, Officer Singewald is a specialist in the deployment of less than lethal munitions. Tasked with the maintenance of all Sacramento Police Department inventory of less than lethal munitions, Officer Singewald, on his own initiative, created and developed a computer program that accounts for all less than lethal munitions by serial number, date of purchase, and date of deployment or use. This program has allowed the Metro Division's Special Operations to function more efficiently and cost effectively by maintaining proper inventory levels. This computer program was so efficient that Officer Singewald was asked by our Property Management Section to develop the program for all department supplies.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Officer Singewald is an excellent teammate and ambassador of good will in the community. Recently, Officer Singewald came to the aid of a young child who was struck by a vehicle. In the days and weeks following this accident, Officer Singewald went to see the child in the hospital and provided whatever assistance he could to the family as they grieved over the recovery of their child. As the child's condition improved, Officer Singewald arranged for his fellow officers to visit the boy in the hospital to assist in his recovery.

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Michael Smith

Sergeant Michael Smith is being recognized for his many years of dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the Department's Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC). Since 1975, Sergeant Smith has been involved with the design and development of EVOC, both as an instructor and supervisor. Over the decades, EVOC has evolved from a small, part-time operation to a fully operational and permanently staffed EVOC team, led by Sergeant Smith.

EVOC became a full-time unit in 1997 and within two years, the Department saw a significant reduction in its Accident Frequency Rate - almost half the national average for all law enforcement agencies nationwide. Sergeant Smith originally took it upon himself to start compiling statistics associated with officer involved accidents, pursuits, and Code 3 driving. Through his analysis and recommendations, he developed the basic framework that is currently used by the City of Sacramento to track accidents and to identify problem areas that need to be addressed through training.

The effectiveness of Sergeant Smith's EVOC program has also carried over into civilian personnel. Risk Management began to see the benefits of drivers training and now every city employee who drives a vehicle must go through EVOC. In addition to the training that has been provided, Sergeant Smith has created training videos to combat specific problems that have surfaced within the Department, thus addressing the need to revisit current policies and procedures and helping to positively influence the attitude and actions of all sworn personnel.

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Doug Voska

Sergeant Doug Voska is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to the Regional Transit Police. Through the leadership and direction of Sergeant Voska, the Regional Transit (RT) Video Project has come into fruition and has greatly enhanced the safety and security of our community. The RT Video Project contains a series of projects all designed to install remotely accessible video surveillance cameras at each of RT's 47 light rail stations and selected facilities. This Project also included the design and construction of a Video Control Center where all of the cameras can be monitored and real-time information can be provided to personnel.

Although Sergeant Voska started managing this project in 2004, its completion occurred in 2007. To accomplish this monumental task, Sergeant Voska became not only the project manager, but became an expert in the technical aspects as well. In addition, he secured funding for this project by acquiring over $1 million in grant monies to cover the design, purchase, and construction of the project.

Sergeant Voska successfully completed this Video Project while continuing to provide his usual supervisory duties as a Regional Transit Police Sergeant. The positive effects of this project have just begun to materialize. Sacramento Police Officers and Sacramento Sheriff's Deputies have used video from this Project to obtain images of many violent criminals, including capturing images that were pivotal in identifying a homicide suspect at the 47th Avenue Light Rail Station.

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Steve Winton

Sergeant Steve Winton is being recognized for his dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for his contributions to providing training opportunities to our employees. Assigned to the Training Division in 2006, Sergeant Winton, while completing his regular duties, took it upon himself to develop and implement several new training programs to take Sacramento Police Department employees professionally to a higher level.

First, he completely revamped the Training Orientation Program for Sergeants that consisted of a streamlined format with contemporary content that included challenges the new supervisors initially faced, a leadership component, critical incident table top exercise and practical scenarios for counseling sessions. In 2007, Sergeant Winton developed, organized, and presented, a new first-line civilian supervisors training course. In addition to in-house instruction, this five-day course included outside professional instruction, leadership book reviews, and practical live scenarios for participants.

Also in 2007, Sergeant Winton took the lead on another significant project by developing a frontline leadership course for line level employees, both civilian and sworn. He spent a tremendous number of hours of his own time developing and refining various components of the course and facilitator training content. He executed the facilitator training course and worked out the logistics for the actual program. This 11-day training program, modeled after the POST Supervisory Leadership Institute format, spans over a five-month period and launched its first course in April 2008.

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Chad Augustin

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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Mike Feyh

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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James Glass

Sergeant Greg Brown, Sergeant Al Miller, Officer Michael Nichols, Fire Battalion Chief James Glass, Fire Captain Chad Augustin, and Firefighter Michael Feyh are all being recognized for their dedicated and valuable service to the Sacramento Police Department and for their contributions to the Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) program. In 2007, these three SWAT officers and three firefighters were instrumental in working together collaboratively in developing the TEMS program. The concept of this program is to use specially trained Fire Department Paramedics to provide medical support to anyone in need during critical incidents, such as high-risk tactical entries and crisis situations, or at major public events.

These six members formed a working group that participated in a series of meetings to develop operational guidelines for the introduction of TEMS into SWAT operations. This team worked hundreds of hours conducting research and developing recommended policies for the safe operation and integration of services between police and fire personnel. Sergeant Brown, Sergeant Miller, and Officer Nichols developed the curriculum and taught a 3-day classroom and scenario-based training program to introduce the selected TEMS personnel to SWAT operations and tactics, equipment, munitions, and their capabilities. As a result of all their efforts, TEMS personnel are now available to medically assist when a situation arises.

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