DENVER (KDVR) — The Citizens Appreciate Police nonprofit recognized four Denver Police officers for exhibiting “extraordinary kindness and compassion” within the community they serve.

The CAP nonprofit organization was formed in 1978 by Mayor Bill McNichols and District Attorney Dale Tooley with the goal of recognizing Denver officers who go above and beyond their call of duty.

According to CAP, since its inception, they have awarded 400 officers the CAP award and pin. This is the only civilian award worn on an officer’s uniform.

Denver Police officers continue to exhibit the good they do for the community, which is well beyond enforcing laws,” CAP President Deborah O’Neill said. “These officers take it upon themselves to positively impact the lives of others and in most cases, leave life-long impressions and connections with those they serve.”

Wednesday’s CAP award honorees:

  • Officers Maria Zavala and Nicholas Randolph with the Denver Police Airport Division
    • Officer Zavala encountered a man who lost all his personal items while waiting for his flight at Denver International Airport on Sept. 21, 2020. Zavala discovered the man had caused a disturbance at a terminal restaurant and therefore became unaware of where his items had gone and missed his connecting flight. Zavala attempted to aid the man and work with the gate agent to get him on the next flight but unfortunately, there wasn’t another flight for a few days.
    • The man suffered from mental illness and Officer Randolph stepped in to help the man find a shelter that would provide him a place to stay while he waited for his next flight. Not only did Randolph find shelter, but he also transported the man and bought him food.
    • Both officers kept the man’s family informed and assisted them when they flew into town to help their loved one.
  • Detective Rueban Garduño with Denver Police Sex Crimes Unit
    • Detective Garduño was working off-duty at Red Rocks Amphitheater back in the summer of 2021. Garduño learned that a car used by concession volunteers would not start. Garduño attempted to assist the volunteers with their car troubles while also working on his other assigned duties. After the car wouldn’t start, Garduño offered to drive a significant way away to drop the volunteers off at home. The volunteers praised his kindness, “The Denver Police Department is lucky to have him, and we were lucky enough to be blessed by him that evening.”
  • Officer Sean Kelly with Denver Police District Three
    • Officer Kelly was volunteering at the Children’s Hospital back in 2018 when he connected with a young patient who was about to undergo major surgery. Kelly made an impact on the girl and continued to check in with her and her family throughout the years. The girl even invited Kelly to her police and firefighter-themed birthday party in 2021. Not only did Kelly attend the party, but he also reached out to law enforcement agencies in the area the girl lived to help participate in a birthday parade.

“These officers embody what it means to be a Denver Police officer and the service aspect of ‘serve and protect’,” Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen said. “I whole-heartedly thank them for their service to others and the CAP board for recognizing their great deeds.”

Community members wanting to honor an officer for their actions on and off duty can send a nomination letter to CAPBoardDenver@gmail.com.