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Senior Corporal Gerardo Guardiola (Police Commendation Award recipient) and Chief of Police Eddie Garcia. Photo by Louis De Luca

A detective who helps safeguard the most vulnerable citizens, the canine and officer who were both shot in the chest yet never relented, the rookie officer striving to boost the representation of women in leadership roles, and the officer who saved a 1-year-old from choking. Honoring their deep dedication, heart and heroism, the 42nd annual Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet paid tribute to 276 extraordinary officers and professional staff members of the Dallas Police Department on Nov. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. The event was presented by Nexpoint and organized by the Friends of the Dallas Police.    

"Every day these remarkable men and women work tirelessly, sacrificing their safety and precious moments with family to protect our city," said Nathan Halsey, Chairman of the Board for Friends of Dallas Police. "Their allegiance and unyielding spirit both on the streets and behind the scenes are humbling. Friends of the Dallas Police works year-round to raise funds so that we may extend our gratitude and shine a light on these extraordinary individuals.”

The top two awards were given to Police Officer Ashley Rios of Southwest Patrol who was named John T. McCarthy Police Officer of the Year, as well as Community Outreach Representative Alma Perez of Community Affairswhoreceived the James C. Taylor Non-Sworn Employee of the Year Award.

Three DPD members received Medal of Valor and Police Canine Medal of Valor Awards for their exceptional heroism. Sergeant Jeffrey Hunter of the Assaults Unit – Investigations Bureau was given the Medal of Valor for showing tremendous bravery and tact as he single-handedly faced and de-escalated a volatile aggravated assault incident. Senior Corporal Scott Jay of the Canine Unit, Tactical and Special Operations Bureau, received the Medal of Valor Award, and his partner, Canine Figor, received the Police Canine Medal of Valor Award, for their extraordinary bravery while facing a dangerous armed suspect in the most treacherous of conditions. Despite enduring gunshot wounds to their chests, both Senior Corporal Jay and Canine Figor never wavered, neutralized the suspect and demonstrated courage that transcended the call of duty.

Joining Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who personally congratulated each award recipient, was Dallas City Manager T. C. Broadnax and numerous Dallas City councilmembers.

“Thank you to the Friends of the Dallas Police and our community for the support they show our men and women,” said Chief Garcia. “One of the best things about my job as Chief is getting a front row seat to the amazing work our people do each day. I thank our employees for their dedication and commitment to our community and for their efforts in making Dallas one of the safest cities in our country. Congratulations to all of our honorees and to the recipients on their well-deserved honors.”

The Dallas Police Honor Guard and Dallas Metro Police Pipes & Drums presented the colors, the Dallas Police Choir performed the National Anthem, and Deacon Juan Manuel Rendon of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas delivered the invocation. Vince Sims, NBC 5 anchor and reporter,served as the master of ceremonies.

Major awards plus four new awards were presented this year.

While many of the awardees knew they were winners prior to the ceremony, most major awards were revealed at the event. The award recipients were chosen from nominations made by DPD supervisors based on overall yearly performance.

The Marvin R. Bullard Supervisor of the Year Award went to two individuals – the Sworn Supervisor Award was given to Sergeant Edward Reyes of the Community Engagement and Operations Bureau,and the Non-Sworn Supervisor Award went to Supervisor Brekeia Jackson of Detention Services, Administrative Bureau.

The James R. Leavelle Detective of the Year was presented to Senior Corporal James Goetz of Internet Crimes Against Children, and the Field Training Officer of the Year went to Senior Corporal Tomas Urena of Northwest Patrol. The Johnny Sides Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Police Officer Oscar Restrepo of South Central Patrol. The Joe C. Jones Reserve Officer of the Year Award was given to Senior Corporal Stephen Ledbetter of theReserve Unit, Patrol Bureau.

Meritorious Conduct Unit Awards were presented to the Animal Cruelty Squad, Employee Relations Unit, Northwest Nights CRT/Deployment Unit, Street Racing Task Force, Detention Services, Field Training Oversight Unit, Personnel Services Unit, Robbery Unit and Violent Crime Planning Unit.

Senior Corporals Jeffrey Berry, Michael Bono and Gerardo Guardiola and Officer Edwin Saracay received Police Commendation Awards for their instrumental work in resolving a high-profile, extremely challenging case involving thefts and animal welfare at the Dallas Zoo.

The Friends of the Dallas Police also bestowed Meritorious Conduct Awards to 32 officers and Life Saving Awards to 20 officers.

In addition, four new awards were given this year including Telecommunicator of the Year Award,which went to Police Dispatcher Laura Dodd of Communications, Administrative Bureau. The Chief of Police Citizen Award was presented to Courtney Underwood, and the Chief of Police Volunteer Award was presented to DPD Police Chaplain Pastor Rayford Butler of the Greater Mount Hebron Baptist Church in West Dallas. Two Chief’s Awards went to Sergeant Matthew Terry and Executive Assistant Susana Villalpando,both of the Office of the Chief of Police.

Nominees (and bureau winners) for the John T. McCarthy Dallas Police Officer of the Year, which was presented to Police Officer Ashley Rios (Southwest Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year), were Senior Corporal Jon Lumbley, Administrative Bureau Officer of the Year; Police Officer Joe Tolbert, Jr., Community Engagement and Operations Officer of the Year; Senior Corporal Daniel Ek, Tactical and Special Operations Officer of the Year; Senior Corporal Johnny Tadlock, Central Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year; Police Officer Edwin Saenz, Northeast Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year; Police Officer Paul Campopiano III,Northwest Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year; Police Officer Dimitrios Margetis, North Central Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year; and Senior Corporal Fernando Garcia, South Central Patrol Bureau Officer of the Year.

Nominees (and bureau winners) for the James C. Taylor Non-Sworn Employee of the Year Award, which was presented to Community Outreach Representative Alma Perez (Community Engagement and Operations Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year), were Administrative Specialist Maria Aleman, Office of the Chief of Police Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Supervisor Ana Diaz, Administrative Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Investigative Support Specialist Jocelyn Henderson, Investigations Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Public Service Officer Sharon Fletcher, Central Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Public Service Officer LC Chandler, Northeast Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Public Service Officer Jose Trevino, Northwest Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Public Service Officer Marty McManus, North Central Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; Fleet Coordinator Rafael Ortiz, Southwest Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year; and Public Service Officer Sherrod Butler, South Central Patrol Bureau Non-Sworn Employee of the Year.

The 2023 Anita Ruiz Family Foundation Educational Scholarship Awards, given to the child of a DPD employee for college tuition, provided $5,000 scholarships to two deserving students. The first recipient was Alyssa Dominguez, daughter of Sergeant Armando Dominguez, a 26-year DPD veteran assigned to the Lake West Storefront. Alyssa is a senior at Duncanville High School where she is an active member of the track and cross-country teams. Next fall, she plans to attend Texas A&M University, Texas State University or the University of North Texas where she hopes to study kinesiology/sports medicine. The second recipient was Mariah Hanlon, daughter of Police Officer Bradley J. Hanlon, a 14-year DPD veteran assigned to the South Central Patrol. Mariah is a senior at Mansfield Legacy High School where she maintains a 4.0 GPA and is ranked #11 in her graduating class. Her future plans include attending medical school where she hopes to study anesthesiology. And due to an overwhelming response of applicants, the Anita Ruiz Family Foundation also awarded four $1,000 scholarships tochildren of DPD employees Kason Cox, Antonio Layton, Jessica Guardiola and Marissa Tucker.

In addition to Presenting Sponsor Nexpoint,Chief Sponsors are The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated Inc.; Jim Thompson Foundation; Lisa and Kenny Troutt; Copart; Hunt Consolidated, Inc.; Sam Pack’s Five Star Family of Dealerships; and QuikTrip. Major Sponsors are Anita Ruiz Family Foundation; Central Market; Freeman Auto Group; Hillwood; Margot Perot; Ellen McStay; 7-Eleven; Sewell Automotive Companies; and The Alinda Hill Wikert Foundation.

For more information, go to friendsofthedallaspolice.org.

About Friends of the Dallas Police
Founded in 1982 by a group of Dallas business leaders, the Friends of the Dallas Police Awards event recognizes the DPD employees for outstanding performance in the line of duty and raises money to celebrate those employees who risk their lives every day to make Dallas a safer city. The Friends organization believes that no matter their position within the department, each of DPD’s employees has made a commitment to better the city and the quality of life of its citizens. For more information about the Friends of the Dallas Police, go to friendsofthedallaspolice.org.