Glendale Officer Justin Darby was out on patrol in March when he found himself in pursuit of a carload of suspected residential burglary suspects.
As he chased after the car, its driver tried to shake off Darby by making a hard turn out of an off-ramp for the 2 Freeway. Undeterred, the officer pushed his cruiser into the vehicle, boxing it in.
Every time the driver tried to escape, Darby would move his car to block the car’s path.
Back-up police officers eventually arrived, and the suspects were taken into custody.
His actions that day led Darby to receive the Officer of the Year Award on Thursday during the Glendale Police Foundation’s 24th annual awards luncheon. The officer was lauded during the ceremony for his “tireless work ethic and the respect of his peers.”
It was pointed out during the ceremony that he was in a similar pursuit in February, when he also chased after a carload of alleged burglary suspects. In that incident, the chase took him through a winding street in Echo Park, where several of the suspects jumped out of the speeding vehicle.
Other honors given out during the ceremony included Sgt. Teal Metts receiving the Police Chief’s Award of Excellence for his work in opening the Glendale Police Museum, which opened this past October. John Bales was recognized with the Volunteer of the Year Award, having logged more than 1,600 volunteer hours with the department in 2018.
Reserve officer Daniel Boghossian was named Reserve Officer of the Year, while police services officer Zazil Avila was named Professional Staff Employee of the Year.
Divisional honors were handed out to Det. Vahe Abramyan and officers Artur Obrusnik and Chris Clay.
Agents Nik Orloff and Keith Soboleski as well as officers Thomas Garcia and Jose Arriaga received Distinguished Service Awards.
Fifteen officers were recognized during the luncheon for their work in investigating the hit-and-run death of 72-year-old Novar Ismailyan, who was killed in December while out shopping for Christmas presents.
Lt. Rafael Quintero, Sgt. Kevin Hirano, detectives Artin Melik, Ed Malouf and Juan Giraldo as well as officers Artur Obrusnik, Jose Arriaga, Matthew Bolton, Bryan Duncan, Larry Ballesteros, Anthony Chacon, Joe Borbon, Mike Bakunowksi, Roman Fernandez and Mike Ryan were each awarded the Ismailyan Campaign Ribbon.
Officers Chris Ayad and Robert Acosta each received Lifesaving Awards.
The luncheon also saw awards given to officers from the police department at Glendale Community College.
Officer Charlton Vidal received the Chief’s Award of Excellence. He also received the Top Shooters Award, along with officer Jan Chris Weise and Sgt. Toby Darby, who was also bestowed the No Second Chance Award.
Community Service Awards were handed out to Kathleen O’Dea, Richard Sierra and Anna Hovhannisyan.