Monroe police officers honored for service

Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer presented several awards and recognized numerous officers for years of service on Feb. 10, during the regular business meeting of the Monroe City Council. He began his presentation by highlighting a few of the department's accomplishments during 2014.

New officers

Officers Derrick Lether and Trevor Larson both graduated from the Washington State Criminal Justice Center's basic law enforcement academy, and officers Devin Tucker, Adam Wolf and Derrick Lether completed their field-training assignments.

Field-training assignments typically last roughly three to four months, with new recruits assigned to train with at least three different field-training officers before being cleared for duty. Quenzer commended Sgt. Ryan Irving for his oversight of the department's Field Training Officer (FTO) program, and recognized Officers Chuck Fuller, Javier Patton, Jason Southard, Jake Carswell, Darryl Stamey and Paul Henderson for providing training in the FTO program.

Lether and Officer Paul Henderson were acknowledged in September 2014 for their efforts to help a disabled young man who was walking alone down U.S. 2. The 19-year-old man with cerebral palsy was brought to Valley General Hospital, and Henderson and Lether worked exhaustively to locate resources for him so that he wouldn't end up back on the streets once he was released from the hospital.

K9 updates-á

K9 Joker retired in May 2014, after nine years as the department's tracking dog. A 95-pound German shepherd, Joker worked with Officer Jake Carswell since 2007. Over the years, Joker and Carswell apprehended countless suspects in the Monroe area and beyond.

Joker was replaced by K9 Nuke in June. Nuke, who is partnered with Southard, has already proven to be a skilled tracking dog and a valuable member of the department. Nuke turned 3 years old on Feb. 1.

Stark was also partnered with K9 Jet, a purebred Labrador Retriever, trained for narcotics detection. K9 Jet has been with the department since 2012.

New programs

Several new programs were added in 2014, including a retail-theft prevention group and a senior volunteer program.

Implemented in September, the senior volunteer program was the result of a collaboration between the Monroe Police Department and the East County Senior Center. The program employs two-person volunteer teams, who, in addition to handling administrative tasks, patrol local parking lots, parks and other public areas.

Traffic enforcement was enhanced through the addition of a motorcycle program. The department acquired two new motorcycles to facilitate more traffic enforcement throughout the city. Officers Darryl Stamey and Javier Patton serve as the department's motorcycle officers.

Community events-á

The department participated in numerous community events throughout the year, including the Tip-a-Cop benefit for Special Olympics, the Jayme Biendl run, National Night Out, Walk Your Kids to School Day, the Police vs. Fire flag football game benefitting the Monroe Boys & Girls Club and Police and Fire Appreciation Week.

In December, the department conducted its first-ever Shop with a Cop event. Organized by Detective Spencer Robinson, the event gave 10 Monroe kids the opportunity to go on a holiday shopping spree. A total of eight patrol officers, three detectives, one sergeant and one deputy chief all volunteered their time to participate in the event, along with several administrative staff.

Distinguished Service awards

A total of five individuals-áwere honored with Distinguished Service awards for their accomplishments throughout 2014. Chief Quenzer started with Sally Petty, recognizing her for her efforts in organizing Monroe's National Night Out Against Crime event, which takes place every August. While not a Monroe Police Department employee,-áPetty is the president of the Monroe Rotary Club, and was the primary reason that-áthe event became a collaborative effort between the Rotary-áand the department.

"If it had not been for the Rotary, the National Night Out Against Crime in the City of Monroe would have gone by the wayside,GÇ¥ Quenzer said. "We just didn't have the funds to do it.GÇ¥

Petty was commended for her organizational skills in helping to coordinate the event. Last year's Night Out event was attended by nearly 5,000 people, with a total of 68 vendor booths.

"Sally's dedication has really cemented the partnership between the police department and the Monroe Rotary, and for that, we are extremely grateful,GÇ¥ Quenzer said.

Sgt. Ryan Irving was also given a Distinguished Service award for his contributions to the National Night Out event. Irving began his career with the department in 1998 as a police intern, transitioned to the reserves in 1999 and became a full-time officer in 2000. He was promoted to sergeant in 2009.

"He continually does an excellent job of overseeing the police department's side of the event, as well as coordinating with Monroe Rotary and various members of the community,GÇ¥ Quenzer said. "It was obvious to all that attended that he put a great deal of time and effort into making National Night Out Against Crime a big success.GÇ¥

Community Service Officer LaDonna Whalen was awarded for having an integral role in various community events throughout the year.

"She is well known for her willingness to volunteer and go above and beyond the scope of her duties,GÇ¥ Quenzer said. "She continually provides outstanding service to our community and the department, and we are certainly fortunate to have someone with her skills and most of all dedication as part of our organization.GÇ¥

Administrative Bureau Director Debbie Willis and Administrative Manager Sherri Simonson were both awarded for their role in establishing the Monroe Municipal Court. The new court, which began operation on Jan. 2, has jurisdiction over all traffic infractions and misdemeanor offenses that occur in the City of Monroe.

"Their commitment to excellence and dedication to the city was evident by the fact that the very first few court sessions ran seamlessly,GÇ¥ Quenzer said.

This year, Simonson will celebrate 25 years with the department.

Years of Service recognition

The chief recognized the following employees for years-of-service milestones: Officer Joe Stark for three years; Debbie Willis, Eloisa Rodriguez, Scott Kornish and Macy Haverly for nine years; Tim Walker, Steve Clopp, Chuck Fuller, Nate Erdmann and Julie Stuvland for 15 years; Joe Hopke for 18 years; and Det. Tim Buzzell for 21 years.-á

"To our police force, thank you very much for all the work that you do,GÇ¥ said Mayor Geoffrey Thomas. "You keep us safe at night; you keep us safe during the day GÇô thank you.GÇ¥


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