As busy as he was on a recent afternoon, Tilman Fertitta took time out to tell the Badge & Gun how excited he is about this year’s police awards luncheon set for Monday, May 11 in the Imperial Ballroom at the Downtown Hyatt Regency.
Civilian Professional Employee of the Year:
Counselor Emily Burton-Blank
Administrative Specialist Maria Ponce
Assistant Police Administrator Ursula Williams
Civilian Supervisor of the Year:
Evidence Technician Supervisor Tamara Davis
Office Service Manager Kiyomi King
Office Supervisor Harkeert Singh
Administrative Classified Employee of the Year:
Sergeant Jeffrey Cruser
Sergeant Janet Rowe
Sergeant Edward Wisenbaler
Mid-Manager of the Year:
Lieutenant Kevin Grimmett
Lieutenant Patrick Plourde
Lieutenant Randall Upton
Civilian Manager of the Year:
Operations Manager Gregory Banks
Police Administrator Sheila Duncan
Administration Manager Amber Eldridge
Manager of the Year:
Captain Wendy Baimbridge
Captain Larry Satterwhite
Captain David Watkins
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Senior Police Officer Terry Bratton
Sergeant Charles Johnson
Sergeant Cecil Mosqueda
Sergeant Billy Tyson
Senior Police Officer Francis Webb
The clay shoot will be the fourth major fundraiser sponsored by the Houston Police Foundation, following the always-sold-out True Blue Gala at Fertitta’s River Oaks home, the Police Week Heroes event at the Hyatt and the Badges and Bases 5k/10k and kids run in partnership with the Houston Astros.
While the Police Week Heroes luncheon is an exciting fundraising event during Police Week, there are other events scheduled throughout the week, which is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the role of officers and to honor those who have given their lives so that citizens can live in safety and peace.
To launch the week will be the traditional ceremony at the Police Memorial on Memorial Drive at 7 p.m. Friday, May 8. May 13, a Wednesday, was designated the Day of Prayer for Police Week conducted at 1200 Travis by a group of local pastors.
Tours of the HPD Police Academy will be conducted throughout the week from 9:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. Displays and demonstrations will be conducted by the K-9, Motorcycle, Robot, Bomb Squad, Dive Team, Helicopter, Mounted Patrol, SWAT and Police Pursuit Driving units or divisions.
Tours are scheduled via e-mail (HPD.Museum@HoustonPolice.org) and must include the approximate number of attendees, grade(s), contact person, and school district information. Your group may bring sack lunches and picnic at our facility after the tours have concluded. The tours are scheduled on a first come first serve basis.
Categories and List of Finalists for Police Week Honors
Rookie of the Year:
Police Officer Jay Guerra
Police Officer Jonathan Reed
Police Officer Matthew Watts
Instructor of the Year:
Senior Police Officer Jorge Gaytan
Sergeant Harold Lawrence Jr.
Sergeant Jeanette M. Perales
FTO of the Year:
Police Officer Virgilio Garza
Police Officer Christopher Meade
Senior Police Officer Roy Rodriguez
Patrol Officer of the Year:
Police Officer John Calhoun
Police Officer Jason Macha
Police Officer Perry Mayorga-Guerrero
Police Officer Christian Palma
Police Officer Eric Terrell
Senior Police Officer Tony Tomeo
Patrol Supervisor of the Year:
Sergeant John Beauchamp
Sergeant Gregory Pennick
Sergeant Thad Sarton
Civilian Skilled Service Employee of the Year:
Truck Driver Albert Orosco
Tactical Officer of the Year:
Police Officer Christian Dorton
Police Officer Roosevelt Johnson
Police Officer Paul Lowrey
Undercover Investigator of the Year:
Police Officer Jason Annese
Senior Police Officer Louis Caldwell
Senior Police Officer Johnny Moreno
Specialized Officer of the Year:
Senior Police Officer Monroe Gage
Senior Police Officer Steven Jackson
Sergeant Charles Johnson
CIT Officer of the Year:
Senior Police Officer Jacques Bland
Police Officer David Rose
Senior Police Officer Mark Stevens
DRT/CSO of the Year:
Officer Francisco Salazar
Police Officer Ryan Watson
Senior Police Officer Mary Young
Civilian Protective Services Employee of the Year:
Senior Police Service Officer Juan Cortina
Senior Police Telecommunicator Laura Trevino
Mobility Service Officer Elisa Vital
Senior Police Officer of the Year:
Senior Police Officer Jeffrey Anderson
Senior Police Officer Lawrence Leising
Senior Police Officer Jorge Lucero
Proactive Investigator of the Year:
Police Officer Juventino Castro
Police Officer Josue Villa
Police Officer Moises Zamora
Reactive Investigator of the Year:
Police Officer Damon Foy
Senior Police Officer Ken Nealy
Police Officer Medwin Wallace
Partners of the Year:
Police Officer John Calhoun/Police Andrea Munoz
Senior Police Officer David Nieto/Senior Police Officer Donald Miller
Senior Police Officer Gary Young/Police Officer Jose Coronado
Investigative Supervisor of the Year:
Sergeant Raul Cruz
Sergeant Andrew Duncan
Sergeant Frank Quinn
Technical Support Employee of the Year:
Senior Police Officer Patrick Breen
Senior Police Officer Jeffrey Cruser
Senior Police Officer Steven Lorance
Civilian Technical Employee of the Year:
Senior Communication Specialist Cynthia Cuellar
Community Service Inspector Jason Foster
Offset Print Operator Rudy Rodriguez
Civilian Administrative/Para Professional:
Administrative Associate Diem Thuy Bui-Ngoc
Data Entry Operator Katherine Dorsey
Senior Customer Service Clerk Andreana Mims
What was once a jammed-packed ceremony at Fertitta’s Aquarium Restaurant involving only the award nominees and their families has turned into a major fundraiser for the Houston Police Foundation – a non-profit for which this great Houston businessman has served as board chairman since 2007.
“I loved it when Chief (Harold) Hurtt asked me to get involved six, seven or eight years ago,” Fertitta recalled. “I tried to talk him out of it because it would take a lot of time.
“But now I would say that of all the non-profits and other community organizations I’m a part of that the police foundation is something I love doing more than anything else. When you realize the benefits it brings for police officers to make Houston a safer place, it’s easy to see why the time is well spent.
“I know the importance of having a safe city for the community and visitors. A first-class police department is essential in making that happen. I love Houston and appreciate what our police officers do each day and want to ensure they have the best equipment and technology in order for them to perform their job every day.”
As you would expect, the individual who runs businesses that generate in excess of one billion dollars annually knows the numbers and what they mean. He quickly pointed out that the HPD budget requires 94 percent of its dollars for personnel.
“That doesn’t leave a lot of money to purchase some of the latest technology and equipment that is needed for the guys who are out there front and center every day,” Fertitta said, making it clear the foundation’s vision and where it puts its money. “We’ve noticed that there’s so many important divisions of the department – the patrolmen who have to run calls and stop vehicles.
“A lot of times they know what they’re walking into in a normal domestic call or the normal stop of a car on the road. But a lot of times they never know what they’re facing. The everyday guy who runs the calls are the heroes.”
The foundation puts its money where those heroes are. In its history it has raised $4.5 million for what Fertitta calls “every kind of piece of equipment you can have from dogs to guns to vests and bikes.”
There are plenty of examples, both recently and in the past few years. And they are:
· A Reality Mapping System for one of the helicopters. The system overlays streets on the video that HPD is recording from the helicopter during a pursuit or searching for suspects,
- Segway Patrollers which are used in areas which displays a more visible and obvious security presence.
- Handheld Mini Scanners (X-ray system) which produces a real time image of a scan target that assists in detecting narcotics, US currency, contraband and explosives in hard to reach areas, such as vehicle dashboard, seats, door panels, and other areas not accessible with a large backscatter van.
- Bicycles for the North Division and Special Operations Division in Downtown and for special large-scale events.
- Tactical Body Armor
- Surveillance equipment
- Laser Scanners for mapping crime scenes and crash investigations
- Horse Trailers for Mounted Patrol
- Truck, trailer and Gator for the Homeless Outreach Team for accessing homeless encampments along the bayous in order to get services and help for that community.
One might ask: How does the foundation pay for all these things?
Again the foundation board chairman steps up to the plate, making obvious the love he has for this job.
“We have that annual event at my house,” Fertitta said. “I love doing that. It’s a great event and I love being a part of it.” That’s traditionally held every fall just as the Police Week event happens every May.
This year Fertitta singled out Chevron for its special sponsorship of the Police Week awards luncheon that he believes will lead to a fund-raising total of more than $200,000.
“This year we have a new exciting event we think is going to do very well,” he said, referring to The True Blue Clay Shoot.