South Pasadena Police Dept. personnel, who have made a difference, coming to the support of others, were honored on Wednesday morning during an awards ceremony at City Hall.
“It’s a big deal,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller, telling a packed audience inside the City Council Chambers. “We do a lot of good things throughout the year. We need to take a moment to pause and reflect on all the good work that is being done in our city and regionally.”
As a public service organization, “we are servants to the community,” continued Miller. “We do it beyond handling radio calls, beyond handing out parking and speeding tickets.”
Among community activities outlined by Miller are the department’s citizen and teen academy programs, which show participants the behind-the-scenes of the SPPD. Self-defense courses have been created for women. A homeless outreach program, in which the department provides services and referrals for those in need, was launched by a police sergeant.
“What I’m so proud of our department is, they don’t just handle it [a problem] and move it along, they handle it and stay with it until it’s done,” said Miller. “It’s good as a chief to have that drive and push with our personnel.”
The department has an officer on the West Covina Crime Task Force to help combat drugs in the community, following up on leads to address what Miller believes is an issue.
Miller said nearly $400,000 was raised in California this year through the Pink Patch project to promote breast cancer awareness.
The local police department provides holiday season lunches for seniors at the War Memorial Building. Officers also contribute cookies annually to the South Pasadena Woman’s Club that wind up in the hands of those in veteran hospitals.
“There are many small things we do to be a better department,” said Miller.
He reflected on the murder case involving the death of Aramazd Andressian Jr. by his father and thanked the efforts of personnel from his own department and praised the work of an investigation team from the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Dept. The case originated last April in South Pasadena’s Arroyo Park.
Concluding his remarks, Miller stressed that “no one succeeds alone and one represents all. The actions of each of us individually represent the entire organization.”
Wednesday’s event was a day to pay tribute to the actions of a police department, which has been in high regard over the years since Miller came on the scene.
“This day is truly is to recognize the great efforts by all of us,” explained SPPD Sgt. Matt Ronnie, who emceed the ceremony. “It’s not just one person who makes this department great. It’s all of us working together.”
Miller stressed that “success is very fleeting, and it’s our responsibility as a police department to reinvent ourselves and move the department forward.”
He explained that “if” has only two letters but is very powerful word. “If you did one positive thing a month individually, how much further would we come as a department?” he told his officers and staff. “How much further would you come as an individual? If everyone did one thing significant a month, just a little bit out of you comfort zone, how much better we would be as an organization and looked upon?”
Cadet Issac Gutierrez, third from left, was honored as the 2017 Part-Time Employee of the Year. He is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. Known for his positive attitude and never-say-no-mindset, Gutierrez handles a variety of tasks at the police station. He assists with records audits, vehicle tows, traffic control, at DUI checkpoints, at the department’s annual open house and other city events throughout the year.
Support Services Assistant Peggy Grangetto, third from left, is the 2017 Civilian Employee of the Year. She is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. A dedicated employee for 32 years with the City of South Pasadena, Grangetto is a dedicated employee who began her career as a reserve police officer. Today, Grangetto checks department personnel training files, inventories and catalogs property and evidence, and schedules required testing for the hiring of new employee. She spends hours scheduling training for all department personnel, whether state mandated, or requested by supervisors for their respective employees. Officers continuously seek Grangetto’s assistance helping them acquire equipment, supplies and to keep track of training and evidence.
Officer Jeffrey Holland, third from left, a 22-year member of the South Pasadena Police Department is the 2017 Police Officer of the Year for his exceptional professionalism, initiative and loyal dedication to duty. He is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. He is currently the South Pasadena Police Department’s senior traffic officer responsible for providing traffic enforcement and education to the South Pasadena community. Holland also serves as a field training officer and assists with commercial truck enforcement. He has planned and supervised several recent special events, including the department’s DUI enforcement program, the Amgen Bicycle Tour, a recent military convoy through town, the Fourth of July Parade, Tiger Run and Ciclavia in the city.
Police Sergeant Shannon Robledo, third from left, was honored for professional achievement in the superior performance of his duties. He is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. Robledo, a 22-year veteran of the South Pasadena Police Dept., serves as patrol sergeant, overseeing fleet maintenance, jail operation, and the Homeless Outreach Program also known as HOPE. He has served in a variety of assignments and positions at the police department, including cadet, parking control officer, jailer, dispatcher, reserve officer, police officer, corporal, and now sergeant. Robledo created an outreach program that balances the needs of the homeless community and enforcing laws. He recently applied for a homeless planning grant on behalf of the city and was awarded $30,000. The grant will be used to coordinate with current community and county systems and strategies to end homelessness. His civic pride and duty continues to flourish through his activity in local events and charities, including The Canto Robledo Youth Boxing Foundation, which he founded. It provides equipment and training to kids who otherwise would not have access to it.
Corporal John Salcido, third from left, grabbed a young woman and quickly pulled a woman down from a bridge last May at the Prospect Ave. overpass as she threatened to jump onto the 110 Freeway. He is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. Salcido’s heroic actions are in keeping with the “highest traditions of the South Pasadena Police Department of selfless service, honor, and personal courage, and reflect great credit upon themselves and law enforcement,” said Sergeant Matt Ronnie, who emceed Wednesday’s ceremony.
From left, South Pasadena Police Dept. Capt. Brian Solinsky, SPPD Police Chief Art Miller, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. (LACSD) Detective Louie Aguilar, LACSD Lieutenant Joe Mendoza, LACSD Detective Mark Boisvert, LACSD Captain Chris Berger and SPPD Capt. Mike Neff. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials were honored for their investigation of 5-year-old Aramazd Andressian Jr., who went missing and later was found dead.
Sgt. Jim Valencia, Cpl. Michael Sanchez and Cpl. Joe Johnson, third, fourth, and fifth from left, were honored for their actions during the Aramazd Andressian Jr. investigation. They are joined, from left, by SPPD He is joined, from left, by Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff. Capt. Brian Solinsky, Police Chief Art Miller, and Capt. Mike Neff.
Sworn South Pasadena Police Department officers and staff gathered for a group photo following the awards ceremony.
The South Pasadena Police Department contributed to this story.