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American Legion names LAPD veteran ‘State Officer of the Year’

The American Legion has named a Los Angeles Police Department senior lead officer as its “State Officer of the Year,” officials said Thursday

Heidi Stoecklein, who is assigned to the LAPD’s Olympic area station and is a 13-year veteran of the force, earned the award for a combination of outstanding police work and community service, according to the American Legion.

She will be formally presented with the honor Friday at the group’s annual convention in Palm Springs.

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The American Legion said Stoecklein was selected from scores of officers around the state. They describe the winner as someone who “is well-rounded; has exceeded, above and beyond, the duty requirements of his/her position; exemplifies the virtues of professionalism and dedication; demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service; proven his/her personal dedication to societal security and protection.”

In selecting Stoecklein, the group cited her effort in 2012 to organize a shoe drive for underprivileged families called “Operation Shoes From Santa.”

Stoecklein also received the state’s highest award for “an outstanding act of daring or bravery” for her 2009 rescue of a victim who was shot in the head and lying unconscious near a barricaded suspect armed with a rifle.

In a second incident in 2013, she was among a group of officers who intervened in a workplace shooting and help save employees from the suspect. She received the Police Star for “performing with exceptional judgment and/or utilizing skillful tactics in order to defuse dangerous and stressful situations.”

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com


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