22nd Annual Law Enforcement awards recognizes best of the best
The 22nd Annual Law Enforcement Recognition Awards was held by the San Diego Scottish Rite Bodies to recognize the contributions law enforcement gives to our communities. Among those nominated for Scottish Rite Law Enforcement Officer of the Year were Detective Jonah Conley of the El Cajon Police Department and Officer Ryan Rogers of the La Mesa Police Department.
“You are probably all aware that this week Comic Con gets under way here in San Diego and the town tends to fill up with super heroes,” said Randy Brill, general secretary of the San Diego Scottish Rite Valley. “Tonight, however, its my distinct privilege and honor to be among true heroes.”
As the evening progressed the nominees for the award were called up one by one and the audience was told a brief bio of why they were nominated.
In the past year, Conley was assigned to the East County Regional Gang Task Force and played an important part in three cases. He first initiated a case where a high-end father and son auto dealership were laundering money for pimps, drug dealers and gang members. This resulted in 11 search warrants and six arrests warrants and he found out a Bentley was to be exchanged for seven kilos of cocaine. Conley orchestrated a reverse sting operation that ended with the arrest of 12 suspects and the seizure of cash and 24 vehicles valued at approximately $2,700,000.
When a suspect was shot in the face during an attempted bank robbery and his partner fled to Mexico, Conley worked with U.S. Marshals and Mexican authorities to send a fake wire transfer to lure the fugitive from his hideout. The plan worked with the suspect being arrested without incident.
“Detective Conley’s 16 year career with the El Cajon Police Department is distinguished with a number of awards and citations,” said Brill.
Rogers is an eight and half year veteran of the La Mesa Police Department. During that time he significantly contributed to community safety and assisted the department during staffing shortages and assisted fellow officers with calls, reports, arrests and investigations.
“His peers see him as the ultimate team player,” said Brill. “In the past year Officer Rogers has worked to combat drunk driving with 130 DUI arrests. He broke the La Mesa Police Department’s DUI arrest record which was set 20 years ago with 99 arrests.”
Rogers was awarded the Mothers against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year award for two years in a row. In addition to his DUI arrests record he has also written 425 traffic citations through out the year.
As Brill finished reading the bios of the 15 nominees the room broke out in applause to honor those in the line of duty protecting our communities.
“Ladies and gentlemen, surely you would agree that these honorees deserve another good round of applause,” said Brill.
So once again the entire room burst out in applause just as the keynote speaker stepped up to the podium to deliver her speech.
“Honor, distinction, dedication, compassion, personal courage, professionalism, protect and serve,” said San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “These are not just words these are core values and we have just heard tonight stories of exactly these words.”
She said law enforcement officers represent the communities of San Diego and are the embodiment of freedom.
“When you think about it police officers are like oxygen,” said Zimmerman. “When it is all around you, you don’t give it a second thought. But when it is gone, that is all you can think about.”
She said the culture of cooperation between the various police departments throughout the county sets the national standard and that through this cooperation San Diego County can be a safer place for all who live there.
“We are one department, we are one city, we are one region,” said Zimmerman. “And I want to thank you for everything you do every single day to make all of our great cities even better.”
At the end of the night, the winner was Officer Charles Stevens of the National City Police Department. He walked away with a trophy and a $1,000 check. But every law enforcement officer in that building had already won the hearts and minds of their respective communities. And that is a prize that will last a lifetime.