Santee Kiwanis Club’s excellence in law enforcement
On May 3, the Kiwanis Club of Santee celebrated the group’s 18th Annual Law Enforcement Awards dinner, held in conjunction with the club’s annual meeting. The recognition ceremony, to honor those who have demonstrated excellent performance in protecting and serving East County communities, was hosted at the home of Kiwanis President Doug Key, near Grossmont College.
After a brief opening program, attendees were treated to a Southwestern-style chicken buffet dinner, and then law enforcement officials and Kiwanis members partnered in awarding plaques to honored recipients. David Poindexter is the Kiwanis member who initiated the law enforcement recognition program and has chaired the annual awards dinner for 18 years. Poindexter led the awards presentation portion of the event. Poindexter is himself a former Senior Volunteer and the nephew of Andy McReynolds, in whose memory a plaque has been awarded each year since 1998 to a California Highway Patrol Senior Volunteer.
The first series of awards were for those serving with the Sheriff’s Department. Captain James Bovet of the Santee Sheriff’s station was formal presenter. Bovet spoke with enthusiasm of the accomplishments of his officers, noting that Santee has experienced a 30 percent drop in crime, the largest around San Diego County. He attributed this to his station’s “team effort” in combating those “crime pressures” that persist in Santee. The officer chosen for distinction this year is Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Laudermilk. Bovet praised Laudermilk for his “proactive” and “diligent” approach to his duties. Bovet cited in particular an incident in which Laudermilk intervened with a suicidal man who was cutting his own neck. Laudermilk has been serving in Santee for a little over a year.
Bovet next presented an award for high achievement by a community service officer. Recipient of this year’s recognition is Sheriff’s Community Service Officer James Wasko, who has been with the Santee station for 14 years. CSO’s have multiple duties associated with traffic incidents, and Bovet noted that Wasko is “diligent and proficient” and well known for tracing fingerprint evidence in crime solving. Wasko also teaches economics courses at Southwestern College.
Bob Taylor, another Kiwanian, was next up to present the Max McKinley’s Memorial plaque to honor a Senior Volunteer from the Santee Sheriff’s station. Taylor assists Poindexter with the annual law enforcement program and was a longtime Senior Volunteer with the Sheriff’s Department before retiring from those activities. Honoree for this award was Steve Moerschell, who was recognized for the long hours he is willing to put in as well as his “availability” in responding to community needs on a 24/7 basis.
Officer April Carter serves the California Highway Patrol Office in El Cajon as Senior Volunteer Coordinator. She described her role as “a joy.” She presented the 2015 award recognizing excellence in performance of duties to CHP Officer Paul Anzalone. She praised Anzalone, five years a CHP officer, for his “outstanding performance and exemplary actions demonstrating the highest standards of the CHP.” She related that Anzalone “never says no” to an assignment and exhibits “proper judgment and notable interpersonal relations skills.” He is known among his peers for removing drunk drivers from the roads and performing excellent roadside inspections. He has himself over 100,000 accident-free miles of official road travel.
Last on the awards presentation portion was the highlight of the ceremony, recognizing the honoree receiving the Uncle Andy McReynolds Memorial plaque for distinguished service by a CHP Senior Volunteer. Bob Weishan, an administrator with the CHP Senior Volunteers, assisted with the presentation. This prized recognition was delivered to Tim Schofield, a CHP Senior Volunteer in the El Cajon office. In 2016, Schofield will celebrate with his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary. Schofield is a Navy veteran who had five tours in Vietnam, then worked with the Department of Defense in technologies related to computers and satellites. Schofield is recognized by his fellow CHP volunteers and officers for devotion and dedication in long hours served each month, and especially for assisting and protecting parades and performing safety issues checks on snow patrols.
The Santee Kiwanis Club has a long affinity and appreciation for those who hold the line defending the laws, because of the influence of Poindexter’s Uncle Andy McReynolds (1919-1996). McReynolds was a Kumeyaay Indian who became the first motorcycle officer with the El Cajon Police Department in the 1940’s. The department at that time had four officers. McReynolds later volunteered for the CHP, with a special focus on helping the Kumeyaay Indian reservation. He was very active with the Kiwanis Club of Santee, and he spent most of the last decade of his life in Santee. “Law enforcement was the love of his life,” Poindexter said of his uncle. The law enforcement awards program was started in 1998, with McReynolds in mind and as inspiration for the Uncle Andy McReynolds Memorial plaque.
In 2000, the Santee Kiwanis expanded the awards with first presentation of the Max McKinley’s Memorial plaque honoring a Santee Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer. McKinley had also been an active member of this Kiwanis Club and active in service to the United Methodist Church. He and his wife were foster parents for 19 children. He became known fondly for his fairness, kindness and compassion toward those he dealt with, even when issuing tickets and citations. Those who have followed in his footsteps note that he “helped set the standards for Senior Volunteers” in performing their public contact duties.
In 2001, the Santee Kiwanis began honoring a Santee Station Sheriff’s Deputy for distinction. Next, in 2006, the club extended recognition for excellence awarded to an El Cajon CHP officer. Following that, in 2010, a plaque award was initiated to honor a Santee Sheriff’s community service officer.
The Kiwanis Club of Santee has been meeting for over 42 years and gathers for regular breakfast meetings each first and third Saturday at the Edgemoor Multipurpose Room AB in Santee. Kiwanis itself as an international organization is celebrating its centennial year in 2015. The group consists of business professionals united for networking and service in their local communities, in a spirit of fun and camaraderie. More information on the Santee club can be found by perusing the website at santeekiwanis.org.