Officers honored for investigating murders, aiding families

A career detective with a knack for breaking down cases and a cop who had more than 160 arrests in the past year were honored Thursday with the Glendale Police Department’s top awards at the Police Dept.’s annual recognition ceremony.

Having made numerous felony and probable-cause arrests in the past year, Officer of the Year Jeff Rivas didn’t stop there. He came to the aid of a family of five who were living inside their car, buying them food with his own money. Rivas also helped a grandmother seek justice and medical treatment for her 6-year-old granddaughter, who had been molested.

Rivas’ dedication and drive to help others comes from a deep passion for police work, he said.

“I love this community,” Rivas said. “I love law enforcement. It’s the greatest thing on Earth and there is no greater benefit than knowing you are keeping the community and the people who live here safe.”

Rivas was one of more than a dozen Glendale police officers who were honored at the 17th Annual Glendale Police Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Glendale for acts of bravery, community contributions and stand-out job performances.

“They do tremendous work day in and day out and sometimes that goes unnoticed; sometimes we tend to take it for granted,” Chief Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

Police veteran Det. Art Frank, who was honored with the “Chief’s Award of Excellence,” has held many assignments on the department’s various units, but his forte is for “intense detective work.”

He and other Glendale police detectives investigated a series of rapes of elderly women along the Foothill (210) Freeway. The women’s attacker was later identified as Clifton Hutchins, who was dubbed the “Foothill Rapist.” Hutchins is serving a 116-year prison sentence.

Frank and his partners helped take down 29 members of the Toonerville gang after he was able to get court approval to wiretap the suspects during an extensive murder investigation in 2008 of Mongols motorcycle club members.

He also aided in the conviction of a man who fled to Armenia after killing his girlfriend and stuffing her body into the trunk of a car.

Frank said the drive to continue working comes from “the privilege to have a job I love, work with people I respect, and ability to make a difference.”

The Glendale Police Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Glendale and Glendale Bar Assn. organized the ceremony, during which average citizens were also honored for contributions to crime fighting.

One of them was Vardan Hakopian, who detained a man who was allegedly trying to gouge the eyes of an 82-year-old man during an unprovoked attack on Central Avenue and Windsor Road.

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LIST OF AWARDS

Marksmanship

1st place: Officer Brian Young

2nd place: Officer Vincent Jackson

3rd place: Officer Justin Derby

No Second Chance Top Shooter: Officer Brian Young

Community Service

Tahini Doversola

Heather Larue Love

Vardan Hakopian

Sgt. Sevak Esagholian

Officer Alfredo Dominguez

Dispatcher Kimberly Guardado

Divisional

Jack Sutz

Community Service Officer Kathie Hancock

Officer John Dewell

Burbank Officer Steve Conaway

Officer Frank Martinez

Det. Eric Webber

Officer Cameron Sanchez

Distinguished Service

Det. Jason Ross

Officer Justin Darby

Officer Jeremy Aliaga

Det. Jeff Davis

Sgt. Sean Riley

Sgt. Mark Hess

Agent Tracy Lowrey

Sgt. Traci Fox

Volunteer of the Year

Kay Civille

Civilian Employee of the Year

Community Service Officer Steve Wilson

Reserve Officer of the Year

Tim Anderson

Officer of the Year

Officer Jeff Rivas

Chief’s Award of Excellence

Det. Art Frank

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