Police Department

Posted on: January 19, 2018

RPD personnel honored for actions in critical situations and outstanding job performance

RPD medals

Numerous members of the Roswell Police Department were honored Jan. 18, each receiving an award recognizing outstanding job performance and extraordinary service and action in the line of duty. An awards ceremony was held at the Performing Arts Center on the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell campus in south Roswell. The award recipients are:

Life-Saving Award: Officer Jorge Arroyo-Jaime

The victim of a shooting was sitting in the driver’s seat of her SUV. The woman’s vehicle was stopped in an intersection in south Roswell where the incident had taken place last March. She was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to her right leg and she was screaming for help.

Officer Jorge Arroyo-Jaime knew the woman would likely not survive unless the bleeding was stopped immediately. He acted to do just that. Using the tourniquet officers carry and a large compression gauze bandage, Officer Arroyo-Jaime was able to halt the bleeding.

The woman’s injuries were serious enough to require she be flown from a local emergency room to an out-of-state hospital for further treatment and surgery. But that hospital treatment allowing her to eventually recover was made possible in large part by Officer Arroyo-Jaime’s quick action to keep her alive at the scene on the street.

Life-Saving Award: Officer Scott Oldani

Officers were called to Denny’s restaurant on an April night in 2016 to check on a man who was lying on the floor and was unresponsive. When they arrived, the officers found the man to have a head injury and was not breathing.

Officer Scott Oldani began performing CPR on the man. After more than 20 chest compressions, the man began to gasp for air. Officer Oldani’s efforts got the man breathing again so he could receive further care from medics who arrived soon after.

Medal of Valor: Officer Jaime Castillo

What began as an officer checking out a stolen car quickly became a violent encounter in the parking lot in front of a motel in north Roswell. It was late on a mid-February night last year when Officer Jaime Castillo checked the license plate of a car that had recently pulled into the parking lot and its driver had stepped into the motel lobby. Officer Castillo learned the car was reported stolen from Albuquerque. And he would soon learn the man who had been driving the car was willing to use deadly force to try to get away.

The man came out of the motel and spoke to Officer Castillo. But the man didn’t stick around for long, instead running from the officer. As Officer Castillo began to pursue the man across the parking lot, the man produced a gun and fired multiple shots at Officer Castillo, who took cover behind a parked pickup truck and returned fire. One or more of the shots struck the man, who fell to the ground injured at the far end of the parking lot as another officer arrived at that location.

With the man still armed with his gun, Officer Castillo left the protection of the pickup behind which he had taken cover and ran toward the downed man in order to back up his fellow officer, who was ordering the man to drop his gun. Instead, the man fatally shot himself.

Officer Castillo that night stopped an armed violent criminal, as well as making sure he was in position to assist his fellow officer, with quick thinking and action while under fire. 

Medal of Valor: Officer Scott Wrenn

Multiple officers were on the scene of a standoff with an armed man in the driveway area of a home in west Roswell. In the darkness of that March night in 2016, it was difficult for most of the officers to see with any detail the specific position and actions of the man who was wielding a shotgun while he remained next to a vehicle.

One of the officers on scene that night acted as the eyes for the group by using special optical equipment and making the tough decision to use deadly force to protect himself and his fellow officers. As a member of the RPD SWAT team, Officer Scott Wrenn had a night-vision scope that enabled him to see the armed man through the darkness. Officer Wrenn was able to determine the man was holding the shotgun across the hood of a vehicle and had the gun pointed at officers.

Officer Wrenn made the difficult decision that was necessary and fired a shot, striking the man and ending the very immediate threat the man was posing to officers. The man, who had refused officers’ commands to get rid of his gun throughout the incident, suffered a fatal injury. But the actions taken by Officer Wrenn prevented potential injuries to officers and possibly neighborhood civilians in the face of a serious threat.

Officers of the Quarter 2017

These awards are given to a well-rounded officer/detective who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of performance, coupled with professional achievement. In 2017, these awards went to:

First quarter: Officer Randy Rodriquez

Officer Rodriquez uses his “unparalleled level of drive and determination” to not only make sure he is handling calls and follow-ups in a timely fashion and consistently writing thorough and accurate reports, according to his supervising sergeant, but also thinks “outside the box” in finding ways to track down fugitives.

Second quarter: Technical Services Unit Detective Michael Burkowski

In addition to joining his fellow TSU members in collecting evidence at crime scenes, Detective Burkowski uses his technical engineering expertise to uncover evidence from electronic devices that may otherwise never be discovered. His supervising sergeant notes he continues to further his education and knowledge in this forensic field.

Third quarter: Officer Sean Hudson

While RPD has been dealing with a manpower shortage, Officer Hudson has stepped up to regularly volunteer to cover shifts beyond his own and work late to assist an incoming shift when needed. As he willingly gives of his time to support the department and his fellow officers, Officer Hudson also takes care of ensuring the Breathalyzer machine used in DWI cases is maintained and other DWI investigation supplies are ordered. Meanwhile, the caseload he produces is often his shift’s highest, and his supervising sergeant notes Officer Hudson “will always do his due diligence to ensure even the smallest cases get the attention they deserve.”

Fourth quarter: Officer Richard Romero

As RPD’s recruiting officer, Officer Romero is the driving force behind the current effort to get the department to its full staffing level. Officer Romero has led a “dramatic push for promoting the job (of police officer) and the recruitment of applicants,” notes one patrol sergeant who has seen the influx of applicants at a rate that has significantly increased in the past year. That sergeant explains Officer Romero’s “efforts to hire as many of the best applicants” to get the department fully staffed “will echo through every division” in RPD and throughout the city by enabling RPD to continue even stronger efforts in reducing crime in the city.

Officer of the Year 2017: Technical Services Unit Detective Michael Burkowski

Detective Michael Burkowski of RPD’s Technical Services Unit – which deals with crime-scene investigation and other evidence gathering, as well as the use of forensics (science and technology) in an investigation – was selected Officer of the Year in recognition of his quality of work, productivity, initiative and leadership.

Detective Burkowski leads the way for RPD when it comes to gathering evidence from electronic devices such as computers and cell phones. His expertise in downloading data – even that which the device user had deleted and thought was eliminated – has uncovered the evidence necessary to prove crimes committed in many cases, including cases in which Detective Burkowski works in conjunction with the national Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In one of those cases this past year, a suspect who was initially accused of two criminal counts related to crimes against children ended up facing 78 counts as a result of Detective Burkowski’s work in revealing the evidence on the suspect’s electronic devices.

Detective Burkowski’s supervising sergeant describes the detective as driven “to pursue justice by locating facts in the most challenging places inside technology.”

Civilian Employee of the Month: Valerie Salinas

Valerie Salinas is an administrative assistant in RPD’s Records Division. She was selected for this honor because of her willingness to always work hard at each task assigned her and to help wherever needed, while consistently serving the public with a friendly and welcoming disposition.

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During the ceremony, RPD also recognized promotions that occurred in the last year and a half, retirements that took place in the last two years, and the newest officers, recruit officers and police service aide to join RPD.

Promotions: Bart Devos to Patrol Sergeant, Jeff Prince to Patrol Sergeant, Mike Taylor to Special Investigations Commander, Joe Smith to Criminal Investigations Commander, Mike Stanton to Deputy Chief, Jim Preston to Patrol Commander, Jonathan Daniel to Patrol Sergeant, Ryan Craine to Patrol Sergeant.

Retirements (length of RPD service): Commander Tom Moody (23 years, 11 months), Sergeant Charlie Corn (21 years, 6 months), Officer Rob Tucker (21 years, 8 months), Officer Jon Meredith (21 years), Officer Ken Roberts (20 years, 8 months), Commander Alan Stevenson (20 years), Sergeant Steve Meredith (20 years, 6 months), Commander Levi Moody (20 years), Officer Tim Rogers (20 years), Officer Larry Joe Harrell (19 years, 3 months), Deputy Chief Brad McFadin (19 years, 1 month), School Resource Officer Helen Cheromiah (20 years, 3 months).

Hired since September 2016 (currently officers or recruit officers): Trevis Reese, Johnny Estrada, Jon Burson, Leroy Smith, Brian Jefferson, Steven Rosser, Mark Meraz, Cristal Gonzalez, Jesse Bone, Domingo Pisana, Adrian Jimenez, Gabriel Ponce, Julian Martinez, Angel Verduzco, Travis Smith, Jon White, Brandon Speights, Cassandra Juarez, Eric Ebright, Armando Valenzuela, Kenneth Larson, Skye Wentland, Cammie Aguirre, Juan Soltero, Todd Sherer, Darren Powers. Police Service Aide: Jacob Perry.

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RPD thanks the following people for their efforts:

Clerical Assistant Mendy Hernandez and Accreditation Manager Loretta Juarez for preparing and organizing the certificates, invitations, programs and refreshments for the awards ceremony.

The members of the Awards Committee: Commander Fil Gonzales (Chairperson), Training and Recruiting Sergeant Ron Smith, Records Clerk Judy Gonzales, Officer Victor Maynes, Detective Dylan Thomas.

City of Roswell personnel who helped streamline the RPD hiring process and organize recruitment campaigns: Jetta Miles, Jerry Conde and Naomi Borrunda of the Human Resources Department, Juanita Jennings and Caleb Martinez of the Public Affairs Department, and Director of Administrative Services Elizabeth Gilbert.

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