The Santa Monica Police Department swore in a new officer, announced promotions, recognized three local service clubs’ Officer of the Year awards, and received awards of its own from the U.S. Department of Defense at ceremonies in City Council Chambers on Thursday, April 17.
This reporter has never seen so many people in the Council Chambers, with virtually every seat taken and dozens of people (mostly police officers) standing across the back of the room and down the side aisles – something that the City Council regularly announces is prohibited by fire codes. When Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Davis, who was in attendance to honor the police department awards, was asked about all the standees, he said, “Really? I never saw them – I was seated toward the front and had my attention on the podium.”
As has become his custom at such gatherings since he became Chief in Santa Monica, Timothy Jackman reflected on the weight and symbolism of the department badge and had one of his officers – on this occasion, Neighborhood Resource Officer Brent Crafton – read the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. “Most officers never hear that Code after they’ve graduated from the Academy,” Chief Jackman later said. “I think it should be read more often.”
Mario Castro, 36, was sworn in as a new SMPD officer. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Fullerton, and his mother pinned his badge on his uniform. Margarita Verduzco and Michael Andrewin, traffic service officers, were each promoted to Lead Traffic Services Officer; both are pursuing bachelors’ degrees, she from Cal State Northridge and he from University of Phoenix.
The American Legion named Officer Jacob Holloway of the Homeless Liaison Program as its Officer of the Year; the Elks Lodge conferred their award on the morning watch patrol partners Thomas Mastin and Hector Tavera; and the Rotary Club designated Lt. Clint Muir its Officer of the Year.
Finally, Colonel (Ret.) Keith Bushey from the U.S. Marine Corps, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, presented the Santa Monica Police Department with the 7-Seals award in recognition of the department’s support for employees called to military service. (The 7-Seals represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Air National Guard.) Col. Bushey later said that he thought the people of Santa Monica were remarkable in their “support of their warriors even if they might not support the war.” He also presented the Patriot Award to the City of Santa Monica, Chief Jackman, and former Chief Butts.