DENVER (KDVR) — Six Denver police officers were recognized by “Citizens Appreciate Police” for going above and beyond the call of duty to help community members.
“This is one of those model officers we all dream about,” Mike O’Neill Sr. said as he presented the first award to officer Ernie Quintana. He paid to replace the car window of an elderly woman who had her car broken into. “We didn’t even think twice about what we did for her,” Quintana said.
Officers Sykora and Kennedy do laundry
In June of 2021, officers Sykora and Kennedy were called to a residence, where they found a wheelchair-bound lady who was in need of assistance. The officers learned that she was struggling to take care of herself. The officers loaded all the dirty clothes they could find, which filled a large police SUV, and paid to have the clothes laundered with their own money. The officers then returned the clean clothes to the resident.
“We took this job to help people. When you get an opportunity to truly help somebody, it’s what we signed up for, it’s great,” Sykora said.
“She was a Denver public school teacher for 30 years retired, just another person in our community we could give extra service to. She devoted her whole life to the students of Denver, it was another honor,” Kennedy added.
Man gets home safely with officer’s help
Officer Nichole Himes helped a man suffering from memory loss get home, and then ordered him a bracelet with important information.
“In that exact moment, I realized there was something simple I could do to make a good change in his life.”
CAP board member Beth Brody said, “I think you really went above and beyond took the extra time to work with the family that needed extra help and probably prevented him from being in a bad situation again.”
Family has somewhere to sleep
In January of 2021, officers Lombardi and Eliassen came across a family that was sleeping in a car. The mother and her four children had fallen on hard times but were waiting for the mom’s next payroll check so they could rent a room. The officers worked with the hotel for a discounted rate, which the officers paid, so the family had somewhere to sleep. The officers then pooled their money to buy the family some food. The mom wrote a kind letter about the officers, which included a message that one of the kids said the officers were “cooler than Spider-Man.”
“I think it was kind of an easy decision, we definitely felt for the family,” Lombardi said.
In addition to showing their kindness, these officers also showed their human side and their sense of humor.
“My wife tells me I have to tell this story. After we paid for the hotel room, I had to call her and be like ‘hey when a hotel room charge shows up on my credit card, this is what happened,’” Eliassen said.
Formed in 1978 by Mayor Bill McNichols and District Attorney Dale Tooley, CAP is a nonprofit organization that recognizes Denver Police officers who serve the public above the regular call of duty. Since its inception, more than 400 officers have received the CAP award and pin, which is the only civilian award worn on the officers’ uniforms.