The Arlington Police Department recognized local officers and other community members during the department's annual 2020 service awards.
“I think it’s important that when people do good work you acknowledge it,” said Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura. “It helps with the morale of the department."
The department usually has a dinner to recognize the award winners each year but was unable have one this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
They still announced the winners on social media though to continue the annual recognition.
Police Employee of the Year
Officer Dustin Bartlett was recognized as the Police Employee of the Year by the department.
“This is an award from the peers,” said Ventura. “They nominate their fellow officers based on who was a good partner, who did something for the department."
Ventura said he and other department leadership agreed it was a good choice as Bartlett has been an excellent officer for the community.
“He’s just been reliable, dependable and has showed exceptional judgment in every respect,” he said.
Life Saving Award
Three different officers were recognized for efforts which helped save a life in two different incidents.
Officer Alex Donchez was given the award for work after he responded to a call.
“There was a situation where a subject was non-responsive and face down in a bath tub,” said Ventura.
Donchez assessed the situation and administered Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“And after that the subject responded and started breathing again,” said Ventura.
Medical staff would later indicate the Naloxone likely save the subject’s life, he said.
In another Naloxone incident, Sergeant Peter Barrett was also recognized for an incident where he was doing off-duty work and heard a someone yell that a person had collapsed in a parking lot.
“Believing it to be a medical emergency he called on the radio for assistance,” said Ventura.
Because Barrett was not on patrol at the time, he did not have Naloxone on him.
“Most of our officers carry it as standard equipment now,” said Ventura.
However, officer Kendahl Metcalfe did have some and responded to the incident in time.
Staff at the hospital indicated the Naloxone likely prevented a death in the situation.
Ventura said the use of Naloxone is sometimes controversial, but he supported the good it could do.
“Nobody deserves to die for having an addition,” he said. “If we have the opportunity to save a life, we will take it."
Police Volunteer of the Year
Larry Carter is a retired corrections officer and has volunteered with the city for more than 10 years now.
“He spent a whole career doing criminal justice and after he continued to volunteer with us here,” said Ventura, who added Carter was very knowledgeable and relatable.
Most volunteer work was suspended this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Carter was recognized for his long volunteer record.
Larry is moving to California to be with family and Ventura said the department wanted to recognize on his last year in Arlington.
“We’re going to miss him here. That’s a big loss for the department,” he said.
Traffic Enforcement and DUI Enforcement Awards
Officer Josh Fox was recognized for leading the Arlington Police Department in enforcing traffic offenses and DUI offenses.
“This is the second year in a row Josh has led in this category,” said Ventura. “He has been with the agency for three years and he’s just really focused on traffic safety."
As the city continues to grow there are more calls of every type, said Venture, but traffic safety remains important to enforce in the community.
Chief’s Service Award
“We can’t do our job without help from the other departments,” said Ventura, and this award is meant to recognize city officials who help the police.
City of Arlington IT director Bryan Terry was honored for his help this year.
“In the whole city, the police department is the heaviest user of IT resources,” said Ventura. Every car has a computer and there is a high level of security required to protect sensitive files.
This year the Arlington Police Department upgraded their security system after it had started to fail.
“He went out into the marketplace and upgraded our system and also put it into a cloud-based system,” said Ventura.
The new system has helped local officers do their job more efficiently, said Ventura.
Community Partner Award
KLN Family Brand, a dog food company, was recognized for their donations which help the Arlington K-9 unit continue running.
“We have two K-9 units now, but initially that was an unfunded position,” said Ventura.
The department still relies on community donations to keep costs for the program low, and receives help with veterinary service and other supplies such as food from KLN Family Brand.
“They have been providing the needed food to us for many years at no cost to the taxpayers,” said Ventura.
Officer Mike McQuoid was recognized for saving the taxpayers money and preparing the department’s vehicle they will use for natural disaster rescue.
Ventura said Arlington has areas that will flood and sometimes the department has to do rescue operations.
“Our standard vehicles are not going to cut it for those types of rescue situations,” said Ventura, however a recently purchased vehicle meant for rescue operations can ford up to 40 inches of water.
McQuoid helped prepare that vehicle for service by re-purposing emergency lights and other equipment on other retired vehicles and installing them.
Community Engagement Award
“One of our core missions here is to engage the community,” said Ventura.
Detective Stephanie Ambrose was given the award for her participation in numerous events around the city, including work at local elementary schools, attending the "Build-a-Police-Car" event at Lowe’s, attending the "Holiday with Heroes" at Walmart and assisting with school lunch distribution with the Arlington School District during the summer.
“She has a real knack for teaching young people,” said Ventura. “Every officer does something [to connect to the community], but she just did so much."