By Marshall Harshman
On March 15, 2019, the Apache Junction Police Department (AJPD) held their 9th Annual Awards Ceremony hosted by Dolce Vita Retirement Community. This year, the Police Department was honored to have Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams as the keynote speaker. Chief Williams, a 30 year veteran of law enforcement, delivered her comments challenging AJPD officers to continue providing service excellence, while striving to build trust in the department within our community.
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar attended the night’s event and presented a prestigious Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award to volunteer Auxiliary Lieutenant Will Haynes. As part of the award presentation, Lt. Haynes received a U.S. flag that was flown over the National Capital specifically in his honor. Lt. Haynes has volunteered his service over many decades to our community, saving the citizens of Apache Junction tens of thousands of dollars.
Additional awards were presented during the night that included recognition of four individuals who provided outstanding service. Volunteer of the Year, Civilian Employee of the Year, Police Telecommunications Officer of the Year and Police Officer of the Year.
The Volunteer of the Year award went to Paige Beville. Paige began a very successful fund raising campaign for Paws and Claws Care Center. The event was named “For Pets Sake” and resulted in donations that exceeded $65,000.
The award for the Civilian Employee of the Year went to Lori Erlandson, the manager of Paws and Claws Care Center. Lori was selected in part for her outstanding leadership, which resulted in an increase in the facility adoption rates from 60 percent to 85 percent. Her effort in increasing the facility’s visibility and advertising has brought in over $169,000 in donations.
The award for Police Telecommunications Officer of the Year went to Jessica Kelley. Ms. Kelley has been working for AJPD since September of 2010, and has provided excellent service, while at the same time, taking on numerous additional responsibilities.
Detective Stephanie Jewell was awarded Police Officer of the Year for her extensive investigations involving sexual predators. Her investigations have led to several successful prosecutions, removing numerous offenders from the community.
The personnel of AJPD who were present were recognized by the city for actions that saved a life, were heroic in nature, led to apprehensions of suspects through outstanding investigative abilities or had improved police operations. While not every officer was presented an award, each department member was thanked for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Apache Junction and the often difficult work they perform on a daily basis.
Photo above: Apache Junction Police Department held their 9th Annual Awards Ceremony on March 15. Pictured left to right, are: Lt. Thom Parker, Phoenix Police Chief Geri Williams, Telecommunications Officer of the Year Jessica Kelley, Congressman Paul Gosar and AJPD Chief Thomas Kelly.