SANTA ANA : Police Employees Honored for Service

The Police Department on Monday honored 21 of its employees for outstanding service, including several officers for heroic actions.

During the sixth annual recognition ceremony, the department awarded four police service medals to officers who jeopardized their own safety while trying to help others in 1992. Awards also went to three officers who performed life-saving actions and to more than a dozen other sworn and civilian personnel for their dedication and service to the department.

After the ceremony, Councilman Robert L. Richardson praised the honorees for their deeds.

“Everyone in this room in law enforcement has done something extraordinary,” he said. “Today we had the opportunity to recognize a select number of those who have done something extraordinary.”


Two of those honored were Cpl. Ann Vickers and Cpl. Antonio Baca, who won police service medals for their actions in responding to a call for help last August.

The two arrived at the scene to find a man firing a shotgun into a Townsend Street apartment building and saw a young boy and girl in the line of fire. Vickers left her position of safety behind a fence to rescue the children. When the gunman aimed at her, Baca shot and killed him.

Vickers said she was happy to receive the award but added: “It’s what our job is. If we had to do it again, we’d do it again.”

Officer Charles Saale won two awards, a police service medal and a life-saving commendation. He won the latter for his actions during a vacation in Las Vegas last year. When a man seated at a nearby restaurant table choked and suffered a heart attack, Saale performed the Heimlich maneuver to clear the man’s throat and then administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Saale and Officer Richard Jones both won police service medals for the daring rescue of a woman hanging from the 10th floor of the former Crown Sterling Suites Hotel. The woman had been sitting on the slick tile roof but slipped off, managing to hang onto the edge.

Jones stretched out across the roof, which was slick with dew, while Saale held his feet from a stable perch. Jones was able to grab the woman’s hands and pull her to safety.

Saale said he appreciated the awards, noting that officers risk their safety daily and that they “don’t always get recognition for it. It’s an honor.”