Newport Beach Police Department Bestows Employee Awards

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Pictured left to right: Austin Laverty, Thu Do, Chief Joe Cartwright, Megan Schilf, Judy Johnson, Gary Clemente

On Friday, April 26, the 51st Annual Newport Beach Police Appreciation Luncheon was held at the Pendry, Newport Beach. The event was hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Commodores Club, and sponsored by Balboa Fun Zone, Julie Laughton Design Build, and the Chase-Fainbarg and Feuerstein Families. Members of the Police Department were honored at the luncheon, which was also attended by city staff, community leaders, and local business community members.

Each year, nominations for the Police Department Awards are collected by committees for each award category. Members of the Police Department who receive award nominations are discussed by those committees, and then recommendations are submitted to the Chief of Police for consideration.

The following members of the Newport Beach Police Department received recognition at the luncheon: Lieutenant Gary Clemente, 2023 Sworn Supervisor of the Year; Officer Austin Laverty, 2023 Officer of the Year; Records Manager Megan Schilf, 2023 Civilian Supervisor of the Year; Community Services Officer Thu Do, 2023 Civilian of the Year; Volunteer Judy Johnson, 2023 Volunteer of the Year.

Additional awards presented:

Lifesaving Award: presented to Officers Jared Edwards, Michael Querry, Mitchell Rivas and Matthew Wong.

Details: On October 8, 2023, Officers Jared Edwards, Michael Querry, Mitchell Rivas, and Matthew Wong were dispatched in an emergency response to a Newport Beach residence reference a male subject who was not breathing and unresponsive. Officers located the victim, who was lying in bed unconscious, not breathing, and had no pulse. Officers Edwards, Querry, Rivas, and Wong immediately began to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for several minutes while also deploying the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in an attempt to save the victim’s life. Officers continued to perform life-saving measures until Newport Beach paramedics arrived and transported the male to a local area hospital, where he was able to make a full recovery.

Lifesaving Award presented to Officer Sean Esswein

Details: On June 22, 2023, Officer Sean Esswein was dispatched in an emergency response to a Newport Beach residence reference a call of a female who had collapsed and was not breathing. Officer Esswein was the first on scene and was directed to the female victim, who was not breathing and was unresponsive. Officer Esswein immediately began performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the female and continued by himself for several minutes until Newport Beach paramedics arrived to assist. The Newport Beach Fire Department Paramedics were able to transport the female to a local hospital, where she was able to make a full recovery.

Lifesaving Award presented to Officer Mark C. Hamilton

Details: On November 17, 2023, Officer Mark C. Hamilton was dispatched in an emergency response to the area of West Coast Highway and Prospect Street reference a serious traffic collision with injuries. The first responders on scene found that a female motorcyclist was injured in the collision and was in critical condition, unresponsive, with a faint pulse.

Complicating the situation, a major fire at a nearby hospital limited the availability of officers and medical resources to respond. Due to a shortage of personnel, paramedics requested Officer Hamilton’s assistance in helping the victim to breathe with a bag valve mask. As the paramedics transported her to a local hospital, Officer Hamilton rode with them in the back of the medic van and continued assisting with life-saving efforts, while in full gear, including his motorcycle helmet. The victim, initially believed to have less than a day to live, has since been able to make a remarkable recovery.

Lifesaving Award presented to Officers Guy Hufford and Lina You

Details: On July 19, 2023, Officers Guy Hufford and Lina You were dispatched in an emergency response to a residence in Newport Beach reference a female subject with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers Hufford and You arrived at the scene and located a female victim lying in her bedroom, bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound fired point-blank to her chest near her heart. As the victim began to lose consciousness due to the significant loss of blood, officers You and Hufford rendered medical aid, which included the application of an occlusive chest seal over the wound. Paramedics soon arrived and were able to transport the victim to a local hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery and eventually made a full recovery.

Lifesaving Award presented to Officers Tyler Knox and Zachary Michael

Details: On April 3, 2023, Officers Tyler Knox and Zachary Michael were dispatched to a residence in Newport Beach regarding a welfare check on a suicidal subject. Officers arrived and located the subject hiding in the bushes. The man held a large knife against his throat and threatened to kill himself. While attempting to negotiate with the subject, officers observed blood coming from the subject’s neck as he further pressed the knife against his own throat. Officers Knox and Michael continued to peacefully talk with the subject for over fifteen minutes, eventually convincing him to set down the knife and surrender. The man then voluntarily agreed to receive additional medical and psychological treatment.

Award of Merit presented to Officer Gary Abrahamyan

Details: On July 29, 2023, Officer Gary Abrahamyan was dispatched in an emergency response to a traffic collision on Jamboree Road. Officer Abrahamyan was the first to arrive and observed a single vehicle had crashed into a tree, causing the vehicle to become engulfed in flames. Officer Abrahamyan immediately ran to the vehicle and observed an unconscious male subject who was still in the driver’s seat of the burning vehicle. Despite warnings from bystanders that the driver’s door was stuck shut, Officer Abrahamyan wrestled with the door until he was able to break it open. While the fire continued to spread into the interior of the vehicle, Officer Abrahamyan used his pocketknife to cut the driver’s seatbelt and pull the man from the vehicle. Officer Abrahamyan and good Samaritans then pulled the unconscious driver to a safe location away from the vehicle, where responding paramedics attempted in vain to save the man’s life.

Award of Merit presented to Officers Joseph Azucena, Tony Gallegos, Joshua Granger, Nicklas Haring, and Mitchell Rivas

Details: On October 8, 2023, Officers Joseph Azucena, Tony Gallegos, Joshua Granger, Nicklas Haring, and Mitchell Rivas were dispatched to an emergency call for a major traffic collision near the intersection of Jamboree Road and Bison Avenue. Officers arrived to find that a single vehicle had crashed into a large tree, causing the tree to collapse onto the vehicle. The collision caused the vehicle to catch fire, which posed an immediate threat to the incapacitated occupants and to responding officers. As the fire quickly spread inside the vehicle and onto the attached tree limbs, officers ran to the burning car and observed two unconscious male subjects inside the vehicle. Despite the growing fire, billowing smoke, and obstructing tree limbs, the officers worked heroically to cut the unconscious passengers from the burning vehicle and drag them a safe distance away, where responding paramedics could render medical aid. Through the selfless and heroic efforts of these officers, both occupants were transported to local hospitals, where they made full recoveries.

Award of Merit presented to Officer Kyle Markwald

Details: In January 2020, Officer Kyle Markwald was working uniformed patrol in Newport Beach when he observed suspicious behavior outside a hotel, which his experience as a Human Trafficking investigator led him to recognize as prostitution-related activity. These observations led Officer Markwald to begin an extensive investigation in which he obtained additional evidence to write and serve multiple search warrants for phone records and lease agreements. The information Officer Markwald obtained revealed that one female was likely the victim of human trafficking at the hands of one of the men from his initial observations.

After an exhaustive investigation, Officer Markwald arrested the male suspect and served search warrants inside the man’s apartment, where evidence confirmed the female subject had been sexually trafficked and abused by the suspect for over six years. Officer Markwald’s arduous, tenacious, and professional investigation eventually led to the suspect pleading guilty to Human Trafficking and Pimping and Pandering, resulting in a six-year sentence in state prison.

Award of Merit presented to Officers Michael Querry, Mitchell Rivas, and Matthew Wong

Details: On October 23, 2023, at 2:24 a.m., Officers Michael Querry, Mitchell Rivas, and Matthew Wong were dispatched to an emergency call for a major structure fire at a residence in Newport Beach in which arson was suspected. Officers arrived to find a couch on the patio fully engulfed in flames, with the fire spreading inside the home and to the second floor of the residence. Not knowing if anyone was inside the residence, officers forced entry by breaking through a glass door and began to search the home as the fire grew around them. Officers Querry and Wong climbed to the second floor and rooftop patio in search of potential victims but soon began to feel the debilitating effects of smoke inhalation and realized they were no longer able to access the stairs due to the billowing smoke and growing fire and were now trapped on the roof.

Officer Rivas, who was able to safely exit the residence, coordinated with responding Fire Department personnel to develop a plan to safely evacuate Officers Querry and Wong.

It was later determined the residence was in fact occupied by a family at the time the fire had started, but all occupants had safely evacuated and that there were no significant injuries. After being treated for smoke inhalation, Officer Querry immediately returned to duty and quickly located and arrested the suspect believed to be involved in the arson. His investigation revealed evidence that the subject had, in fact, purposely set the fire.

Award of Merit presented to Officers Beau Rains and Lina You

Details: On December 20, 2022, Officers Beau Rains and Lina You were dispatched to an emergency call for a structure fire on Lido Island. While responding to the fire, a second witness reported the home was possibly occupied by three small children who were unable to escape. Officers arrived to observe the residence on fire with heavy smoke billowing out of the windows of the house. Believing the home was occupied by three children, the officers forced entry and began to search the home as the fire grew around them. Despite being overcome with smoke inhalation, officers took the time to remove the family dog they had located inside its locked kennel. After finishing their search for additional occupants, the officers safely evacuated the building with the family dog as the fire quickly grew and engulfed the entire home. The officers reunited the family dog with the scared and distraught children, who had successfully escaped the fire before the officers arrived. After being treated at the scene, Officers Rains and You immediately returned to duty to assist with crowd control and witness interviews.

 

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