2nd ATO Top Cop Hero Gala will honor HPD’s Investigator and Patrol Officer of ‘18

Tom Kennedy

Likely the most exciting highlight of the 2nd Assist the Officer Foundation Top Cop Hero Gala on March 30 will be the revelation of the Patrol Officer and Investigator of the Year award winners.


The judging process was set to take place in the month prior, with the selections to come from the 11 monthly honorees recognized at the Houston Police Officers Union’s general membership meetings. There was no honorees in July since no meeting is scheduled the week of the Fourth of July.


“The purpose of the night is for members to have an enjoyable time and to honor officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and are true heroes,” ATO board member Gabriela Gregory told the Badge & Gun. We have lots of good heroes to choose from.”


Gregory said the group known as the Grooves is back by popular demand after last year’s highly successful first-ever ATO Heroes Gala. This year’s gala will be at the same venue – the Hyatt Regency at 1200 Louisiana. It will be held beginning at 6 p.m. March 30 and Gregory has encouraged attendees to spend the night at the hotel.


Gregory and HPOU’s Luis Menendez-Sierra provided a list of nominees for both the Investigator of the Year and the Patrol Officer of the year. Please note that there might be more than one officer in some monthly nominations.


Investigator of the Year nominees and the month in which they were first recognized are:


  • January – Annette Keyes of Special Victims
  • February – Richard Anderson of Burglary and Theft
  • March – Detective Dana Wilkerson Wyche of Burglary and Theft
  • April – Detective Demetra Hammons of Robbery
  • May – Officer Lee Donovan of Special Victims
  • June – Officer David Williams of Kingwood PIU
  • August – Officers John Varela, Jason Alderet, Terry Seagler and Anny Vasquez of Major Offenders
  • September – Kris Persad of Homicide
  • October – Moises Zamora of Narcotics
  • November – Michael Zientek of Kingwood PIU
  • December – Loren Magness of Special Victims


Patrol Officer of the Year nominees are:


  • January – R. A. Rivera and R.N. Rivera of Southwest Patrol
  • February – Anthony Ruben and Nathaniel Jones of Northeast Patrol
  • March – K9 Ronny, Handler Officer Dennis Shadden and Officer R. J. Haney
  • April – Officers Logan Weber and Jerry Rivera
  • May – Officers L. Castillo, J Perez and R. Luna
  • June – Officer Dustin Reeves
  • August – Officers Werner Stroehmberg and Brandon McDonald
  • September – Officer Erick Cabrera
  • October – Officers Zachary Crowder and Adam Linton
  • November – Officers St. James Seymour, Michael Harris, Joshua Few and Carlos Santana
  • December – Officers D. C. Teed and J. A. Chase


Here is the basic information you need: Individual tickets are $75 per person.


More specifically premium tables that seat eight persons will cost $750, entitling these guests table positioned along dance floor. Reserve tables cost $600 and include seating further away from the dancing venue. Reserved and premium tables allows you to control who you will have at your table.


The admission entitles guests to dinner, music, dancing, the open bar, silent auction and door prizes.

“The ATO board was inspired by last year’s success and has worked hard to make the 2019 event even more exciting,” ATO Chairman Tom Hayes said. “The board will select the Patrol Officer and Investigator of the Year from the list of last year’s monthly winners of these special HPOU recognitions for excellence.”


Last year’s honorees were Chris Hartman, recognized as the Investigator of the Year, and Sean Jordan and Pablo Flores-Ramirez, the Patrol Officers of the Year. Each winner received a crystal award, airline tickets and hotel accommodations covering five days of Police Week events in Washington, DC this May.


“Each of the nominees has been recognized for outstanding work in their roles as Houston police officers,” Hayes said. “The primary purpose of the gala is to show appreciation for excellence in the ever-challenging and sometimes life-threatening work by police officers in a big city.”


Hayes had special praise for the work of this year’s gala co-chairpersons Mike Mitchell and Gabriela Gregory of the ATO Board.