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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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14th Annual Oceanside Police Department Member Recognition Luncheon

Capt. Sean Marchand, Sgt. McKean 2017 OPD Officer of the Year and Chief McCoy

Oceanside CA—The 14th annual Oceanside Police Department Member Recognition Luncheon took place January 31, 2018 at the QLN Conference Center. Each year, the department recognizes outstanding achievements and heroic acts by staff, volunteers and community members.
“2017 has been quite a year,” said Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy. “I not only speak for myself but for the rest of the management team on how blessed we are to have such great employees in our police department. Our civilian staff, our sworn staff and our volunteer staff, you are just awesome.” continued the Chief, “We ended 2017 with a 4.5% decrease in crime. Again, it’s a testament to the hard work you do on a daily basis. This is the second year in a row we have seen a reduction in crime.”

Former Oceanside Mayor, Jim Wood and Oceanside Police Department Chief, Frank McCoy

Jim Wood and
Oceanside Fire Chief
Richard Robinson
(click on image to
enlarge photo)

This year, special recognition was given to former Oceanside Mayor, Jim Wood for his decades of service to the community not only as mayor but his years on the Oceanside Police Department. The occasion was made even more special as the former mayor was celebrating his 70th birthday.
“I can’t think of anyone who has given more to our community than former Mayor Wood,” said OPD Chief Frank McCoy. Not only the service he has provided to the community but the support he has shown for public safety. It’s nice having somebody that understands the value of public safety in our community.”
OFD Chief, Richard Robinson told the former mayor “I know your heart is with law enforcement but your dreams are with the fire department.” He then presented a bobble head likeness of the former mayor to “help keep the dream alive.”
Police and Fire Commissioner, Gwen Sanders also received special recognition “Gwen Sanders is involved in numerous activities in the community but more specifically, I want to point out is her work on the Police and Fire Commissioner,” continued Chief McCoy, “More importantly, she participates on numerous promotion boards for us. She is at every ceremony that we have at the police department. She is a staple in our community and our police department and we can’t thank her enough for her service.”
Gwen Sanders and Chief McCoy

On the following pages are the Award recipients along with excerpts from their letters of commendation.
The annual luncheon combines the yearly awards with the department’s fourth quarter awards.

Administration Division Employee of the 4th Quarter, 2017

Tory Havellana-Senior Office Specialist

Tory Havellana and Chief McCoy

Tory Havellana is responsible for the department’s payroll and recently has been tasked with additional responsibilities within accounts payable including centralizing purchasing activities. This has required her to enhance her knowledge of the purchasing processes.

Investigations Division’s Employee of the 4th Quarter, 2017

Patty Flores- Senior Office Specialist

Captain Adam Knowland, Patty Flores and Chief McCoy

Patty Flores, currently assigned to the Special Enforcement section, has earned a reputation for her efficiency and thoroughness. Shortly after being hired, she completely overhauled the filing system and created a new tracking database. Aside from her regular duties, she also provides assistance to the General Investigations section. She is a valuable asset to the overall mission and operation of the Investigations division.

Field Operations Division Employee of the Fourth Quarter, 2017

Officer Teddy Weise

Captain Sean Marchand, Officer Teddy Weise and Chief McCoy

On December 20, 2017, Officer Weise performed a traffic stop on a vehicle for an equipment violation. Prior to initiating this traffic stop, he had determined the registered owner of the car was a subject with numerous drug related arrests. Upon performing the traffic stop, Officer Weise found that the driver was actually another subject, who was also a criminal drug offender. he noticed, in plain sight, a broken meth pipe and a scale on the floorboard and began an investigation into possible drug related activities.
A pat down of the two occupants of the vehicle revealed drug paraphernalia in their possession and indicia of drug possession for sales. Ultimately a search of the vehicle and its occupants yielded a small amount of heroin, four ounces of methamphetamine, drug packaging and scales. Both occupants were arrested for possession of drugs for sales.
Officer Weise continued your investigation by seizing the cell phones of both subjects and writing the search warrant to examine the contents of those phones. The results of this search were shared with Narcotics Detectives in the Special Enforcement Section in furtherance of this and other related investigations.
Officer Weise built a case from a traffic stop for an equipment violation, into a detention for potential illegal drug offenses that culminated with two drug offenders arrested for a possession of drugs for sales. This investigation is just one example of the relentless follow through Officer Weise exhibits on a regular basis.
Officer Weise has developed a penchant for writing search warrants on cell phones. This is a skill that he have shared with his fellow Officers by providing briefing training on this topic and assisting several of them in writing their own search warrants.
His persistence and determination in this investigation is a testament to his work ethic and relentless follow through in combating crime.

Senior Volunteer Patrol of the Fourth Quarter

David and DeAnn Edwards

Capt. Marchand, David and DeAnn Edwards with Chief McCoy

David and DeAnn Edwards joined the Senior Volunteer Patrol team in September 2013 with a combined 613 of service hours in 2017. They treat everyone they meet with respect and compassion while going above and beyond in their service to their community. They both take their position as SVPP members seriously, treating everyone you contact with respect and compassion. These qualities were evident with your nomination for this award by a fellow SVPP member.
Late last year, they visited a YANA (You Are Not Alone) resident who is legally blind and who relies on a meal replacement drink to supplement his meals. The gentleman was used to getting it in cans but, unbeknownst to him, the drinks were delivered in juice box type containers. He used a knife to break down the package and several of the drinks were punctured in the process resulting in a big mess which he was unaware of due to his visual impairment. Upon your arrival, you saw what had happened and took the time to not only visit with this gentleman but to scrub and clean his floor. Your fellow SVPP members felt you definitely went above and beyond.

Harbor Volunteer of the Fourth Quarter

Don Rodgers

Capt. Knowland, Don Rodgers and Chief McCoy

Don Rodgers joined the Harbor Volunteers in September 2014. In 2017, he volunteered over 350 hours of his time plus spending countless additional hours working on projects for the Harbor Volunteer Patrol.

Team of the Fourth Quarter

Sgt. Karen Ortega, Detectives Steve Stracke, Joe Torres, Brandon Baird, Ron Nevares, Todd Ringrose, Jon Boone and Field Evidence Technician Tiara Coulter

The Family Protection Unit is being recognized as Team of the Fourth Quarter because of all the victims in the community you help and yet are never talked about. FPU Detectives investigate all sorts of crimes in the area of domestic violence, elder abuse, stalking, child abuse, child molestation, child pornography; as well as monitoring the activities of all registered sex offenders in our city.
These victims and the crimes committed against them are rarely talked about because they are so horrendous and unbelievable. No one wants to hear the details of a child molest or an elder abuse case. Most people can’t fathom this type of victimization because it seems so unreal, but it happens. Every day, all of you come to work to help victims of unthinkable crimes. In 2017 you have investigated over 600 cases and made 66 arrests spanning from domestic violence, stalking, 664/187, kidnapping, sex crimes, elder and child abuse and 290 violators. In the fourth quarter alone FPU has investigated over 63 cases within the City of Oceanside.
The victims in these types of crimes are often traumatized and it takes extreme care and compassion to help them from the initial investigation to the final court proceedings. I would like to thank each and every one of you for the service you provide to our community and most importantly to the victims. You are truly unsung heroes each and every day and for this reason, it is with great pleasure that I have selected you as Team of the Fourth Quarter.

Lifesaving Award

Officer Gary Alexis and Officer Ann O’Neill

Officer Gary Alexis, Officer Ann O’Neill and Chief McCoy

On September 8, 2017, at 1458 hours, Oceanside Police Officers Ann O’Neill and Gary Alexis received a radio call of a subject on the Mission Avenue overpass possibly preparing to jump onto the freeway below. Upon arrival, they found an obviously distraught 20 year old female on the outside of the protective wrought iron fence, sitting on the street sign above the freeway. Recognizing not only the danger to the subject, but also the danger to freeway motorists, the officers ensured the freeway was shut down by calling for Oceanside Police units and the California Highway Patrol assistance.
Officer O’Neill attempted to communicate with the subject while requesting Crisis Negotiation Officers and a supervisor. Officer Alexis briefed CHP Officers Ryan Harrison and Jeff Pedersen after they arrived onscene. As Officer Alexis briefed the CHP officers, Officer O’Neill observed the subject let go of the fence and begin to lean forward in an obvious attempt to jump and end her life.
Officer O’Neill quickly reached through the bars of the fence and grabbed the suicidal subject’s arm, restraining her from jumping, while alerting Officer Alexis for assistance. This was an extremely
awkward position for Officer O’Neill who began losing her balance as well. Officers Alexis, Harrison and Pedersen quickly ran over and also grabbed the subject who instantly became “ferociously agitated, twisting and kicking in an attempt to break free while emitting a blood curdling scream.” The officers continued to struggle with their grip on the subject as she thrashed about violently attempting to pull away from their grasp.
In a last ditch effort to restrain the subject, Officer Alexis reached over the fence, laying his body on the sharply spiked barricade and grabbed the subject’s lower torso. Collectively the Officers gained enough control so they could lift her up and over the fence to safety.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, one third to 80% of suicides are impulsive decisions and 90% of those who survive do not try again. This dramatically illustrates the importance of intervening when possible during these crisis situations.

Lifesaving Award

Officer Mark Theriot

Capt. Marchand, Officer Mark Theriot and Chief McCoy

Officer Mark Theriot received the Life Saving Award for his actions saving the life of a woman who received a gunshot wound to her leg. The woman was house sitting for a friend when the upstairs neighbor sat down to clean his 9mm Glock handgun and accidentally discharged a chambered round into the floor of his apartment. The bullet traveled through the floor into the apartment where the victim was sitting on the couch watching television. The bullet struck her in the leg severing an artery. Officer Theriot, a former Navy corpsman, recognized the seriousness of the situation and applied a field tourniquet to the victim’s leg. The victim was resuscitated twice due to heart failure while being flown to the hospital. The officers quick action was credited for saving the woman’s life.

Medal of Valor

Officer Nick Nunez

Reserve Officer Jim Buell, Officer Mark Bussey receive the Chief’s Commendations, Officer Nick Nunez, Medal of Valor and Chief McCoy

Officer Nick Nunez, Officer Mark Bussey, and Reserve Officer Jim Buell were dispatched to a vessel in distress off the Oceanside Harbor, North Jetty. On October 15, 2016, at 2016 hours, Officer Nick Nunez and his partners were dispatched to a vessel in distress off the North Jetty. This particular area is known to have shoaling which can create dangerous conditions during large surf which was five to seven feet at this time in the harbor entrance.
Upon your arrival on scene in boat Rescue-2, you and your fellow officers discovered a debris field near the harbor entrance from a small boat that had capsized. Two victims were in the water, one holding onto the partially floating hull and the other treading water nearby. The large surf was pushing the victims perilously close toward a rock jetty, a circumstance which would have resulted in great bodily injury or death. Your fellow Officer carefully maneuvered Rescue-2 inside the breakpoint and you deployed into the water as a rescue swimmer.
You quickly assessed the situation, identified the most at risk victim as the one treading water without a lifejacket and swam to him. Despite pounding surf and several abortive attempts, you were able to swim the victim back to Rescue-2, and with the assistance of your partners, you were able to get the victim safely onto the rescue vessel.
You returned to the water to retrieve the second victim. Due to surf conditions and positioning, you determined the only plausible course of action was to swim the second victim to shore instead of bringing him back to Rescue-2. Despite your already exhausting efforts, you swam to the second victim while your fellow Officers transported the first victim to awaiting medics on the launch ramp. You swam the second victim approximately 300 yards to shore through pounding surf and strong currents.
To make matters more complicated, darkness had settled in, causing assisting Police and Fire units to lose sight of you for about five minutes during your rescue swim. Additionally it was found both victims were wearing fishing waders, which had filled with water, and had been pulling them downward. This caused a significant drag, which was the equivalent of swimming two victims at the same time.
As a result of your quick thinking and heroic actions both men survived this deadly event. Your heroic actions clearly saved both these men’s lives.
Officer Nick Nunez received the Medal of Valor for his actions that day. Officer Mark Bussey, and Reserve Officer Jim Buell Chief’s Commendations for their roles in the successful outcome of this incident.

Distinguished Community Service Award

Mr. Gregory Huyser

Mr. Gregory Huyser and Chief McCoy

On September 25, 2017, Mr. Huyser and his fiancé were waiting on the platform of the Crouch St. Sprinter Station when they observed a woman stabbing a 57-year-old male multiple times. Mr. Huyser made the courageous decision to intervene and kept the victim safe from further attack. He grabbed the woman from behind and pulled her away from the victim while she was still holding the knife. The attacker spun around, threw the knife towards the train tracks and began to walk away. Mr. Huyser followed her and called 9-1-1. He then told the woman to sit down and she complied. Mr. Huyser provided detailed information about the attack and location of the knife. The victim was hospitalized for eight days for numerous stab wounds to his neck, face and groin area. Mr. Huyser received the Distinguished Community Service Award for his bravery in this incident.

Vehicle Theft Officer of the Year-2017

Officer Dave Estrada

Capt. Marchand Officer Dave Estrada and Chief McCoy

In our society, our vehicles are a necessity in many cases. The costs associated with the loss of a vehicle aren’t just monetary, there is an emotional cost to the victim. The Vehicle Theft Officer of the Year is awarded to the Officer with the highest number of recovered stolen vehicles in a calendar year which was 8 for Dave Estrada resulting in four arrests.

DUI Officer of the Year

Officer Aaron Hilburn

Capt. Marchand, Officer Aaron Hilburn and Chief McCoy

Driving under the influence is not a victimless crime. The danger to public safety on the roadway is immense with drivers that cannot safely control a motor vehicle. The DUI Officer of the Year is awarded to the Officer that arrests the highest number of individuals found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a calendar year. Officer Hilburn made 14 DUI arrests in 2017.

Daniel Bessant Community Policing Award

Officer John Janda

Officer John Janda, Steve Bessant and Chief McCoy

Officer Dan Bessant was slain in the line of duty December 20, 2006. He was assisting a fellow officer with a traffic stop when they were ambushed from over 100 yards away. Officer Bessant was shot and killed. He was known throughout the department for his commitment to the community of Oceanside. Dan was a member of the Neighborhood Policing Team and worked closely with the community to meet their needs. To honor his legacy, the Officer Dan Bessant Community Policing Award was created and goes to the department member, or members that display superior community oriented policing and problem solving efforts in the community. The nominations for this award are provided to the Bessant family for their review. They determine the member that best demonstrates those attributes. This year, the Bessant family selected Officer John Janda for the award.
In August of 2017, Officer John Janda was made aware of a subject who had expressed suicidal and homicidal thoughts to his doctor. More specifically, the subject told his doctor that he wanted kill several people and then kill himself. After receiving this information, Officer Janda conducted investigative follow-up and learned that the subject owned approximately seven firearms. Believing that the subject was an immediate threat to himself and the community, he sought and obtained a search warrant for the subject’s residence. After obtaining the search warrant, Officer Janda coordinated the service of the warrant with members of the Neighborhood Policing Team and the California Department of Justice Gun Unit. The search warrant was served successfully and 10 firearms were seized. Furthermore, you did not just make it a point to seize firearms from the subject but you also made it a point to provide the subject with the professional help he so desperately needed in order to deal with his mental health illness.
In November of 2017, Officer Janda responded to a call of an individual who was mentally ill and abusing his pain medications. The subject had made threats of harming his elderly father, whom he lived with. The elderly father reported to police that his son was extremely paranoid and slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow and a shotgun next to his bed. Upon arrival to the residence, the subject was uncooperative and refused to open the door for responding officers. Officer Janda would later learn that the subject was a person of interest in two criminal firearm brandishing cases. Believing that the individual was an immediate threat to his elderly father and to the community, Officer Janda sought and obtained a search warrant for the subject’s residence. he coordinated the service of the warrant with officers of the Neighborhood Policing Team and federal agents from the United States Postal Service. The search warrant was served successfully resulting in the seizure of 17 firearms and over 1000 rounds of ammunition. The subject was taken into custody to be evaluated for his mental health issues.
Both of these warrants were the first of their kind in OPD’s history. These cases were unique in the fact that there was no nexus to a specific crime. Through his outside of the box thinking, he has single handedly provided the department with a new tool to address those cases that are not criminal in nature but where weapons need to be seized.
In summary, Officer Janda went above and beyond in both of these cases and demonstrated a devotion to duty. These are cases that he could have easily walked away from but he instead went the extra mile to preserve community safety. Officer Janda has demonstrated a willingness and commitment to improve the lives of citizens in all areas of the City of Oceanside, and have positively emulated the values of this award’s namesake. Thank you so much for your commitment to our department and the citizens of Oceanside.

Officer Tony Zeppetella Memorial Award

Officer Craig Marshall

Officer Craig Marshall with Jakob and Jamie Zeppetella

Officer Tony Zeppetella was slain in the line of duty June 13, 2003, during a traffic stop on a gang member armed with a handgun that was illegal for him to possess. Officer Zeppetella was on the job for thirteen months when this tragedy happened and he left a lasting impression on the Oceanside Police Department. Tony was known for his high ideals, strong moral fiber and commitment to the safety of the citizens of Oceanside.
To honor the memory of Officer Zeppetella, the Oceanside Police Department created an award for the Officer that recovers the most illegal firearms in a calendar year. Officer Craig Marshall recovered eleven illegal weapons in 2017.
Explorer of the Year

Explorer Lt. Tanner Epp

Capt. Marchand, Explorer Lt. Tanner Epp and Chief McCoy

Explorer Lt. Tanner Epp has been a part of the department since 2016. He has risen to the rank of Lieutenant, the first of his Explorer Post, 285 to reach that achievement. In 2017 Tanner attended all scheduled Explorer Post meetings, attended 17 events, participated in 12 ride-alongs with a total volunteer time of over 200 hours. He has developed a reputation for dependability completing tasks quickly with minimal direction.

Senior Volunteer of the Year

Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll and Chief McCoy

Tom Carroll has served on the Senior Volunteer Patrol since September 2013. He has earned the reputation of going the extra mile. His commitment and passion for service are evident from his actions.

Volunteer of the Year

Don Rodgers

Captain Knowland, Don Rodgers and Chief McCoy

Along with Volunteer of the 4th quarter, Don Rodgers is Volunteer of the year, 2017. He took over recruiting duties when three volunteers unexpectedly retired. The need for an enhanced recruiting campaign became a priority. He quickly realized he needed to make contact with the public on a mass scale. He took it upon himself to prepare a press release to attract volunteers. As a result, the volunteer program saw a significant increase in the number of applications submitted. He was able to hire three new members in a short period of time. He has proven himself to be an outstanding member of the organization.

Professional Staff Member of the Year

Janet Janus-Dispatcher

Capt. Marchand, Janet Janus and Chief McCoy

Janet Janus is a public safety dispatcher and has proven time and time again her value as a member of the department and as a member of the department’s communications center. She always performs her duties professionally and with integrity.

Police Officer of the Year

Sergeant John McKean

Capt. Marchand, Sgt. McKean and Chief McCoy

Sergeant John McKean joined the Oceanside Police Department on July 18, 2000 as a Reserve Police Officer. After a career in the Marine Corps, Sgt. McKean was hired as a full-time Officer in 2003. After working assignments in Patrol, Gang Suppression Unit and the Special Enforcement Section, he received his promotion to Sergeant in July of 2016. Shortly after, he was assigned to supervise the Property Crimes Unit. He implemented a system that would greatly manage case loads, enhance customer service and increase productivity within the unit. Within the course of a few months, he decreased the case load assigned to each Detective from 45 to 25. He also implemented a system to provide immediate feedback for any victim to check on the status of unsigned cases and doubled the number of search and arrest warrants obtained by its staff.
Sergeant McKean was creative in securing the resources of UC Davis to process canine DNA recovered during an investigation that lead to the arrest of a suspect on multiple animal abuse charges [link]. Sergeant McKean was involved in a case where a Oceanside residents made over 100,000 threatening phone calls to a call enter at a college in Georgia. The suspect threatened to commit mass shootings and bombings on campus. Sergeant McKean’s assistance led to the arrest of the suspect much to the relief to all the victims the suspect had terrorized. Sergeant McKean’s assistance led to the arrest of two suspects in a multi-state string of burglaries. Follow-up searches led to the recovery of most of the stolen items which were returned to the rightful owners. Sergeant McKean has outstanding police instincts and is a great leader in the organization.

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14th Annual Oceanside Police Department Member Recognition Luncheon