Denver mayor awards police officers for acts of kindness

DENVER -- Denver Mayor Michael Hancock presented certificates of appreciation to officers of the Denver Police Department on Wednesday.

Some of the actions include helping people in need by purchasing a plane ticket, auto parts, holiday gifts and meals; befriending and caring for elderly members of our community and a young man who was being bullied; and doing yard work for a veteran experiencing health issues.

“What I appreciate most about Denver police officers is they routinely encounter people who are struggling, or maybe having the worst days of their lives, and they make a real difference in those lives by simply caring and acting to improve someone’s situation,” Hancock said in a statement.

"As a city, we applaud our officers for the work they do 24/7 serving, protecting and caring for our residents."

"Our officers have a big job – helping to ensure our neighborhoods are safe – and they carry out their duties so often with big hearts,” said Denver Police Chief Paul M. Pazen. “I am incredibly proud of the officers honored today, and all officers who go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of those we serve.”

This year's recipients of the Mayoral Certificate of Appreciation and CAP Award are:

Technician Amy Esten

On August 28, 2017, Technician Esten contacted a woman who was trying to purchase an airline ticket to Atlanta. The woman explained to Technician Esten that she was a victim of domestic violence and was trying to get back to Atlanta to recover her children who were in protective custody, but her funds fell short. Technician Esten exhausted all possible avenues to get her on a flight, but was unsuccessful. Recognizing the urgency of her situation, Technician Esten used her own money to purchase the lady’s plane ticket.

Officer Tara Moxon

On February 25, 2017, Officer Moxon was conducting extra patrol in the 1800 block of S. Glencoe Street when she located an open garage door. Officer Moxon stopped and contacted the resident, a 97-year-old woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth explained that she lived alone and did not have any family nearby. Officer Moxon closed the garage door and stayed to keep the senior company for a bit. After that first encounter, and when call loads permitted, Officer Moxon stopped by to check on Elizabeth. During one of her visits, Officer Moxon found that a kitchen cabinet door became unhinged and nearly hit Elizabeth, so she fixed it. Officer Moxon also visited Elizabeth on her personal time, including taking her to a concert and helping her find the right assisted living center and moving company for her upcoming move. Sadly, Officer Moxon’s friend Elizabeth has since passed away.

Officer Alicia Martinez

Officer Monique Sedberry

Officer Sedberry was dispatched to a southwest Denver school on a report that a student was being bullied. On that call, she befriended the young man named Victor. Victor is legally blind and was being teased by other students for his vision impairment. Since that initial meeting, Officer Sedberry has maintained their friendship, visiting Victor at home on a regular basis and introducing him to other officers. As the new school year approached, Officer Sedberry and Officer Martinez learned that Victor’s family was struggling to equip him and his four siblings with school supplies for the year. So, the crime-fighting duo bought five backpacks, loaded them up with various school supplies and delivered them to the family, who were all very grateful for the officers’ kindness and generosity.

Sergeant Timothy Hyatt

Officer Alexis Aranda

Officer Fernando Benavides

Officer Rueban Garduño

Officer Joseph Heckenkamp

Officer Kyle McNabb

Officer Christopher Parton

Officer Christopher Valderrama

For the second year in a row, the District Four Impact Team and District Four Community Resource Officers banded together and contributed their personal money to support a Southwest Denver family in need for the Christmas holiday. During the 2017 holiday season, the eight officers supported the family of Lizuly Torres, who had recently passed away just months after being diagnosed with cancer, leaving behind a husband and two small children. The officers went shopping and bought gifts for the family, including Lizuly’s sister and niece. In addition to purchasing presents, the officers also ensured that the family had a meal large enough for 10 people, so the family could gather together and celebrate Christmas the way Lizuly would have had them do.

Officer Jerami Chavez

On December 16, 2017, Officer Chavez was dispatched to a report of suspicious items. Upon his arrival, Officer Chavez contacted the reporting party, named Brandie, who told Officer Chavez that earlier in the day she stood in line at a toy drive in hopes of getting a Christmas gift for her son. After standing in line for four hours, Brandie received several boxed items for her child. However, when she got home to unpack the gifts and wrap them, Brandie discovered that the sweatshirt she received was soiled and riddled with holes. The second item was a stuffed teddy bear that was also torn and soiled.

While speaking with Brandie, Officer Chavez learned that her son loves the Denver Broncos. Recognizing Brandie’s terrible dilemma, especially during the Christmas holiday, Officer Chavez went to a local shopping center, and with his own funds, purchased Christmas gifts for Brandie’s son, including Broncos sweatpants, basketball shorts, and a basketball. Furthermore, because Brandie told Officer Chavez she is currently in school trying to finish her degree, Officer Chavez purchased some notebooks and other school supplies for her.

Officer Sean Cronin    

Officer Matt Dane

On May 16, 2017, Officer Dane and Officer Cronin were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on a gentleman named Robert. While speaking with Robert, the officers learned that he was suffering from severe depression because of health problems and called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital for evaluation. They also learned that Robert is a proud Vietnam veteran who served as a combat medic in the Air Force and he still flies an old American flag in front of his house.

After Robert was transported to the hospital, the officers borrowed a lawnmower from a neighbor and proceeded to mow Robert’s overgrown lawn. Lacking the necessary tools to do much-needed yardwork, Officer Dane contacted his own neighbor, who works in landscaping, and paid the landscaper with his own money to finish trimming and picking up all the grass, trash and debris in the yard. Recognizing how important Robert's past military service is, the officers purchased and installed a new American flag for Robert so that he could have a crisp flag displayed in front of his house.

Officer Monica DeOssie

Several years ago, Officer DeOssie and her wife Christina befriended an elderly couple in their neighborhood. Officer DeOssie and Christina helped the couple by purchasing and delivering groceries, cleaning their house and shoveling their walk. Sadly, Helen at the age of 98-years-old, lost her husband in 2016. Officer DeOssie and Christina made it a point to help Helen and include her in their lives, family dinners, birthdays, holidays, even their wedding. They worked to make modifications to her home so that she wouldn't have to be placed in assisted living after a fall, making sure it was more accessible and safer. Along with that, they hired Visiting Angels to keep Helen company while they're working.

Officer Gregory Lee

On August 15, 2017, Officer Lee was dispatched to a reported theft from motor vehicle. The complainant, a gentleman named Juan, reported that suspects had stolen a gas can and jumper cables from his truck. Juan ultimately declined to file a police report, however, after completing this call for service, Officer Lee took it upon himself to make the situation right. Officer Lee drove to a nearby auto parts store and, using his own funds, purchased items to replace those stolen from Juan’s truck.

The CAP Board, consisting of 16 citizen volunteers, meets four times a year to review nominations, select recipients, and present awards. Each award winner receives a pin that is worn on the officer's uniform and a plaque.  Nominations for the CAP Award come primarily from letters to the Chief of Police from private citizens commending an officer for their actions while either on or off duty. To submit a nomination directly, letters may be sent to: Citizens Appreciate Police, 1331 Cherokee St. Room 305B, Denver, CO  80204. Nominations can also be emailed directly to the CAP Board at CAPBoardDenver@gmail.com.

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