Police honor employee and officer of the year, and 2 campus citizens
By Dateline staff
Yolo Post 77 of the American Legion recently selected UC Davis firefighters of the year: Kyle Dubs of the regular force and Nick Sowa, student firefighter.
Dubs was a student firefighter himself for four years as an undergraduate, starting in 2006, and attained senior resident status. He spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 on a Cal Fire crew out of Covelo, Mendocino County.
He graduated in 2010 as a communication major, with minors in history and psychology. He worked for the Tesoro oil refining company for a short time, then returned to campus as a full-time firefighter in September 2010. He had already achieved his firefighter I and II certification through the campus department.
Sowa, a senior resident firefighter, is due to graduate in June with a double major in atmospheric science and biological science, with an emphasis in neurobiology, physiology and behavior. He is in his third year as a resident firefighter, and hopes to continue in the fire service for a few years after graduation. He said he has not ruled out medical school, but he also would like to work in atmospheric science: "I think it would be interesting to study the weather patterns that are created by huge wildland fires."
The Police Department has named its employee of the year, Bob Lieske, and officer of the year, Detective Joanne Zekany.
They were honored during the department’s Citizen and Employee Appreciation Ceremony, held April 5 in Ballroom A at the Activities and Recreation Center.
In this presentation of awards for 2012, the department also recognized two citizens of the year, both of them campus citizens: Nicolas Andrews, a postdoc in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; and Gia Hellwig, event coordinator at the School of Law.
Additionally, the department recognized six students for their support of the Police Department and presented Aggie Host Appreciation Awards to students who are graduating and leaving the host program.
Employee of the year — Lieske joined the Police Department in 2005 as property and evidence manager, and last year took on the additional duties of background investigator and manager of patrol duty equipment. “He accepted the assignment in an effort to lend a helping hand to the department and has done excellent work in completing at least four investigations in a timely manner this past year,” Chief Matt Carmichael said.
“Likewise, he did a complete inventory of duty equipment, destroyed unusable equipment and refurbished some equipment that needed repair.”
The chief said Lieske has assisted investigators at searches, by cataloging items that are collected and later booking the items into evidence, saving investigators’ time. Most recently, he spent more than 24 hours at the scene of an explosives incident at the Russell Park apartments, ensuring that officers had everything they needed to do their investigation expeditiously.
Officer of the year — Zekany joined the department as an officer in 2009 and became a detective two years later. Carmichael cited her “exceptional” investigative work in crimes against persons, specifically sexual assault and domestic violence. “Joanne is an advocate for pursuing the facts of a case, while also being compassionate and empathetic to victims of violence,” Carmichael said.
Additionally, she has reached out to her fellow officers to provide training during briefings, and has reached out to the community to bridge the gap between the Police Department and various student groups.
“She is always willing to make herself available for various class discussions regarding law enforcement response to sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking,” the chief said, while noting students’ positive response to Zekany’s presentations.
The chief also recognized Zekany for taking it upon herself to develop a training program regarding new domestic violence legislation, as well as proper protocol when responding to domestic violence calls.
• Nicolas Andrews, nominated by Zekany and Lt. Jim Barbour — The department recognized Andrews for information that he provided in a series of thefts at the UC Davis Health System — information that led to a couple of arrests. The case arose in March 2012 in Research Building 3, where Andrews was working at the time. (Today he works in Professor James Trimmer’s lab on the main campus.)
Andrews knew about the theft of a co-worker’s wallet and had seen fliers in the hallways, advising people to be careful about their belongings. In fact, police were dealing with four wallet thefts, with no leads.
On March 29, according to police, Andrews saw a woman acting suspiciously and followed her as she wandered around the building. Eventually he asked her what she was doing, and she left the building. Andrews followed and saw her get into a vehicle — providing police with the car’s description and license number, and a description of the woman, too.
At first the license checked out to a rental car company; a subsequent search revealed that the car had been reregistered. Police said they put together a photo lineup, and Andrews identified the new registered owner as the suspect.
Police ended up making two arrests, and confiscated a loaded firearm in the process.
• Gia Hellwig, nominated by officer Ray Holguin — The department began a new outreach efforts last year, building relationships — and finding good community partners — all around the campus. Hellwig provided to be one of those good partners, by supporting police outreach at the law school.
“This was one of the first times the UC Davis Police Department held formal functions at the law school,” Carmichael said. “Gia worked collaboratively to accommodate the Citizens Academy and the most recent community diversity training program for all UC Davis police personnel.”
During both events, Hellwig stayed late to ensure the venues were set up appropriately and to provide personal support.
Certificates of appreciation
Chief Carmichael said 2012 was, in many ways, “the year of the student” at the Police Department. “Students stepped up and became heavily involved in supporting the UC Davis community through their support of the UC Davis Police Department,” he said in commending Jordan Carol, Melanie Cobb, Dan Connor, Shaun Geer, Patrick Sheehan and Eddie Yoo.
“These students, both graduate and undergraduate, have spent many hours and many days working on the many responses to various audits. Student input has given our traditional view of police policy new perspective.”
Students also supported the new police employee orientation that is aimed at introducing police employees to our community instead of the traditional being introduced to the locations of buildings on campus.
If you think of the many hours students dedicate to study, work and volunteerism, it is true commitment that with what little free time they have left have spent with the UC Davis Police Department. As such I would like to invite up the following students to receive the UC Davis Police Department certificate of appreciation.
Aggie Host Appreciation Awards
The graduating hosts:
Jaskarn Deol, Kurt Dwiggins, Theresa Ebo, Juliana Flores, Sandra Fuentes, Alexander Guintu, Brandon Hee, Catalina Hernandez, Steve Hoang, Alan Huang, Grant Hulegaard.
Luz Jauregui, Samuel Jensen, Erica Kalingking, Patrick Lyon, Thao Nguyen, Cao Pham, Nathaniel Proffitt, Iris Quiroga, Rianna Ragland.
Michael Salaverry, Sabrina Souza, Adrian Spector, Ezekiel Valenga, Mimi Vo, Manushi Weerasinghe, Gavin Wong, Amy Wu and Anthony Yang.
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