Civilians, Officers Recognized for Community Service

Ask any officer at the Rampart division about Bertha Wooldridge and they’ll tell you she is a tireless volunteer. Capt. Nick Salicos swears she and her husband, Robert, can muster up a crowd of hundreds for a rally or a community cleanup through her contacts in the Westlake district.

“I wish we had a whole lot more people like them,” he said.

Jayson Lee, a ham radio operator for more than a decade, turned his hobby into his duty by forming the Korean Ham Watch, taking to the streets of Koreatown twice a week reporting suspicious behavior to police in the Wilshire division.

Wooldridge and Lee were among those honored Thursday for their community service at the 31st Hue and Cry Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce. The two were selected as citizens of the year by the officers and detectives of Rampart and Wilshire divisions.


The awards ceremony was attended by Police Chief Willie L. Williams, Chief Engineer Bill Bamattre of the Los Angeles City Fire Department and Lt. Jerry Holder of the California Highway Patrol. They presented awards to officers, detectives, firefighters, Explorer scouts and the two civilians.

Wooldridge, 52, lives in Alta Loma in San Bernardino County but spends most of her day at the business she operates with her husband, Westlake Plumbing and Hardware on West 9th Street.

In 1992, she founded Westlake Protectors, a Neighborhood Watch group. She also serves on the Rampart Community Advisory Board and organizes events related to the National Night Out and Operation Sparkle, a citywide cleanup effort, in the Westlake district.

Lee was singled out for the award by Wilshire division police officers for his assistance in locating a suspect in a string of kidnappings and robberies.

In addition to his service as a ham operator, Lee helps officers interview Korean-speaking victims and witnesses and assists in directing traffic at accident scenes.

Other honorees at the ceremony, all of whom were selected by their peers, included Detectives Robert Binder and Roseira Moreno, Officers Eugene Coleman and Craig Liedahl, Reserve Officers Frank Degourville and Paul Malevitz, LAPD Explorer Scouts Juan Barocio and Sharon Colo, firefighter Charles Ruddell, firefighter/paramedic George Smith III and Fire Department Explorer Amir Kaspian.