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Laguna Beach police employees honored at awards banquet

Laguna Beach police officers and local dignitaries gathered Thursday morning to honor Police Department employees for their work in the past two years.

Officer Mike Short received the 2018 Officer of the Year award at the biennial banquet. He has had several positions in the department the past 14 years, beginning on the summer beach patrol team and moving up through the ranks to become a records specialist and patrol officer. He also has served on the drone, social media and crime scene teams. He is now the department’s training officer, responsible for hiring, training and mentoring new recruits.

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The 2018 Professional Employee of the Year award went to Jordan Villwock, the city’s emergency management coordinator. Villwock has designed and coordinated active shooter training, the city’s outdoor warning system and other emergency response exercises. He earned state and federal recognition for his designs of the city’s hazard mitigation and evacuation plans. He also was honored as Professional Employee of the Year in 2013.

The 2017 Officer of the Year honor went to Cpl. David Gensemer, who serves in the detective division of the major crimes investigations unit. Gensemer demonstrates “a hard work ethic and tenacity to solve cases,” according to a Police Department news release. The 12-year member of the department has investigated home robberies, homeland security incidents and threats against residents.

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Kristen Berry, the 2017 Professional Employee of the Year, is a support services supervisor who oversees dispatch, records, fleet maintenance and information technology. Berry supervises 18 employees while also serving as court liaison and the department’s custodian of records. She was recognized as Supervisor of the Year in 2016 by the California Public Safety Dispatchers Assn.

The Laguna Beach Exchange Club presented Thursday’s luncheon at Seven-degrees.

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