Story and photos by Stephanie Raygoza
Representing courage in the face of adversity or tackling emergency calls as rough rainstorms engulfed Long Beach. These were among the many committed actions taken by officials, employees, and volunteers of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) last year that received honors at the 43rd Annual Police Awards ceremony.
Department staff and families, city residents and leaders, retirees and youth police explorers all gathered at Cal State Long Beach’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center Wednesday, June 22, as the Long Beach Police Foundation presented and recognized exemplary community service and heroic individuals with citations, awards and medals.
“A Look at the LB Police Department” slideshow by Effective Targeted Advertising served as a background greeting for entering guests followed shortly by an opening performance by the Long Beach Police Pipe Band. The band comprises the Los Angeles Scots and LBPD and is ranked number one in the country. The LBPD Color Guard then lined up on stage for the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem.
Fourth District Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell and Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster attended the ceremony. Foster shared a few opening remarks and took the stage to personally congratulate award recipients.
“It really is to give recognition to those who have distinguished themselves,” Foster said. “Members of the department and residents who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and performed extraordinary service to their city.”
Recipients of the American Red Cross CPR and First Aid Professional Responder Award and winners of the Daryle Black Memorial Essay Contest were the first to be recognized at the ceremony.
“Today we celebrate good solid police work,” said Administrative Bureau Chief Braden Phillips. “However, every day and every night our folks are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect those that they’ve never met. There are acts of bravery, compassion and truly exceptional service that are performed each and every day of the year.”
Awards administered were for the following categories: community service, chief’s citation, unit citation, chief’s community policing, volunteer of the year, employee of the year (sworn and civilian), excellence in leadership, distinguished service, meritorious award for bravery and meritorious award for heroism. Descriptions and scenarios illustrating each individual’s outstanding service and heroism were narrated with each award.
The Purple Heart, awarded to employees who have sustained significant physical injuries while performing their duties in the furtherance of law enforcement, was awarded to Officer Christopher Bates and Sergeant Paul Gallo. Previous Purple Heart honorees, including 1993 recipient Abel Dominguez and 2002 recipient Officer Parine Soth, were presented with the updated medal design.
For Soth, the ceremony is a way for the LBPD and community to come together for a common goal.
“It’s a bonding with the community,” Soth said. “It’s the interactions between the police and the community for what we do for them.”
The event concluded with thunderous applause and pulsating camera flashes as the audience stood up to pay their respects to all the Purple Heart recipients throughout the years. ß