CPF Police Officer of the Month Award Recipients
2018 CPF Police Officer of the Month Award Recipients
Recipients will receive a personal plaque in recognition of their good deeds, and perpetual plaques will be displayed at Cleveland Police Headquarters, the offices of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police Cleveland Lodge 8 where they will serve as an inspiration to others.
November Police Officer of the Month
Detective Chris Gibbons, Employee Assistance Unit
Detective Chris Gibbons has been a dedicated Cleveland Division of Police officer since 1997 and has been with the Employee Assistance Unit since December of 2004. He excels at his job description, which is to help fellow officers deal with traumatic and stressful situations. For those who turn to substance abuse, Detective Gibbons can offer an experienced hand. As a recovering alcoholic, he knows what it is like to battle these types of demons.
Detective Gibbons turned his life around and become an outstanding police officer like his father and grandfather. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Edna House, founded by his sister Erin. This program helps women recover from their addictions and has graduated over 300 participants.
When asked about Detective Gibbons, his former supervisor, retired Sergeant Lynda Marshall Dismuke stated, “I recruited Detective Gibbons for the job on the EAU because I knew from his days working the streets that he had a true feeling for the people he dealt with and for the community in general. He was what I called a ‘real’ officer – which means he wasn’t fake and always put a sincere and caring effort in helping his fellow officers.”
It is because of this devotion and dedication to both the officers of the Cleveland Division of Police and the community he serves that we recognize Detective Chris Gibbons as the Police Officer of the Month for November 2018.
October Police Officer of the Month
Patrol Officer Louis Kitko, First District
First District Patrol Officer Louis Kitko is a tremendous example of an officer who cares for his community and the people he serves. Officer Kitko, a 20-year veteran officer, always has badges, coloring books, and child identification kits on hand in the First District lobby to pass out to children who stop by with their parents. He recently reached out to the Cleveland Police Foundation and personally purchased over $600 in Cleveland Police teddy bears to pass out while on duty. Whenever Cops for Kids has a fundraising event, Officer Lou continually volunteers to sell tickets and helps support and promote the events.
When asked about Officer Kitko, First District Commander Daniel Fay stated, “Officer Kitko represents some of the essential traits of every police officer: he’s community-oriented, has a great work ethic, integrity, he’s a problem-solver and is service-minded. He is always willing to go the extra mile to assist a fellow officer or citizen in their time of need. Officer Kitko is an asset to the First District and the Cleveland Division of Police.”
The Cleveland Police Foundation and Cops for Kids want to thank Patrol Officer Lou for creating a better relationship between the Cleveland Police officers and the children we serve.
It is because of this devotion we recognize Patrol Officer Louis Kitko as the Police Officer of the Month for October 2018.
September Police Officer of the Month
Sergeant Jose Torres and Patrol Officers Rick Varnell, Albert Buccini, and Scott Floyd
The Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to honor our officers on a monthly basis who go beyond the call of duty when practicing Community Policing in their respective districts. Our September 2018 recipients are a prime example of this.
Fourth District Sergeant Jose Torres with Patrol Officers Rick Varnell, Albert Buccini, and Scott Floyd responded to an assignment for the death of a 21-year-old. The officers stayed on the scene to comfort the family, even purchasing lunch out of their own pockets. While on the scene, family Pastor Greg McCurry observed the officers and was so taken by their compassion and caring that he chronicled their visit on Facebook.
“I’ve never seen this before in my life. I’ve been around in the streets. I’ve seen (police) interact with people. But when I got there these four officers in the 4th District wrapped themselves around the whole situation. They didn’t have to do that. They could have gone on their runs and did what they had to do. But for them to come back and minister to this family, it changed everybody’s life. I didn’t look at them as police officers, I looked at them as serving the community. We do have some good police officers out here and today I witnessed four of them. These were people who were doing something from their heart that made the difference. It wasn’t a badge. It was his heart. That’s what made the difference today.”
It is because of this compassion and caring that the Cleveland Police Foundation recognizes Sergeant Jose Torres and Patrol Officers Rick Varnell, Albert Buccini, and Scott Floyd as the Police Officers of the Month for September 2018.
August Police Officer of the Month
Sergeant Evelyn Montalvo, Homicide Unit
Although her day-to-day work assignment in the Cleveland Division of Police Homicide Unit is somewhat different, Sergeant Evelyn Montalvo is a strong advocate of Community Policing. Evelyn participates every year in the Cleveland Police Foundation’s Plane Pull at Cleveland Hopkins Airport to benefit the Special Olympics. She also donates generously to our CPF and Cops for Kids events, is an advocate for the mentally ill, and she volunteers countless hours to persons with disabilities.
Sergeant Montalvo also cares about her community. Recently, while walking her dog Khali she noticed a suspicious male wearing a hoodie in 80+ degree weather walking across the lawn and down the driveway of a Kamm’s Corners neighborhood resident. The sergeant then noticed the suspect entering a rear window. She called out to the suspect that she was the police and the suspect immediately dropped from the window and froze, not knowing if Montalvo was a canine officer and if Khali was going to attack. The suspect fled on foot, at which time Sergeant Montalvo returned to the front of the house and called 911 for assistance, relaying the description of the suspect and vehicle to them. Sgt. Montalvo remained on the scene until police arrived and ensured SIU would respond for possible prints. Approximately a week later, Sgt. Montalvo followed up with the extremely grateful resident, who expressed as much by a letter of appreciation for Montalvo’s actions. The resident sent the letter to Cleveland Police Chief Williams and the Kamm’s Corners Development Corporation, who also expressed appreciation and gratitude for Sgt. Montalvo, as a Cleveland Police Officer, and a neighborhood resident.
It is because of this dedication to the Community Policing concept and her caring for the community in which she resides that the Cleveland Police Foundation is proud to name Sergeant Evelyn Montalvo as Police Officer of the Month for August 2018.
July Police Officer of the Month
Sergeant Steve Beckner and Patrol Officer Chris Lane
When Cleveland Police and the U.S. Marshalls apprehended an Athens, Ohio, father accused of abducting his children, Sergeant Steve Beckner jumped in with both feet to calm the children and mother. He immediately fed the infant child and then FaceTimed the mother to let her know that the children were fine. When the mom called the sergeant the next day telling him she could not find a ride to Cleveland to pick up the kids, he and Patrol Officer Chris Lane both volunteered to drive them the 3½ hours to Athens to reunite the family.
Athens Police Officer Andrew Reece says he and his fellow officers were touched by the kindness of the two Cleveland officers. “It’s a good 3½ hour drive each way,” Reece said. “They were off-duty. They weren’t getting paid to do this. It took my breath away.”
Sergeant Beckner, however, insists he did nothing out of the ordinary. “It’s an Amber Alert,” Beckner said. “You want to help any way you can.”
For their selfless actions in caring for the children and helping reunite them with their mother, the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Sergeant Steve Beckner and Patrol Officer Chris Lane as Police Officers of the Month for July of 2018.
June Police Officer of the Month
The N.I.C.E. Unit
Considering the short time the NICE (Neighborhood Impact and Community Engagement) Unit has been in existence, the officers have really shown a positive impact on community policing efforts in the City of Cleveland. The NICE Unit officers recently pitched in and donated much needed furniture to the 30 families displaced by a fire at CMHA’s Rainbow Terrace Estates. The officers also donated household items and toys and moved furniture into the new residences located at Garden Valley Estates.
The NICE Unit has also worked with New Jones Road Chapel in Building Community Cleveland and pitched in to clean up the neighborhood. The officers also make it a point to visit the Cleveland elementary schools to talk to the children and have lunch with them. It is because of their mission to promote Community Engagement, making Cleveland neighborhoods stronger, and creating lasting relationships that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize the NICE Unit with Police Officer of the Month Award for June 2018.
May Police Officer of the Month
Patrol Officer Sharon Davis, Community Policing
Patrol Officer Sharon Davis has led a career of service to the community. In her many years in Community Policing, she has worked with our Auxiliary Unit, crossing guards, and has helped at hundreds of community events and activities. Sharon is a certified Rape Aggression and Defense (RAD) instructor and has volunteered many hours to teach women and children self-defense techniques and tactics. Sharon recently donated the use of her photo booth to the Cleveland Cops for Kids fundraiser, helping make our event more memorable and successful. Sergeant Tim Higgins of the Community Policing Unit said of Sharon, “Her commitment to women’s safety and her dedication to the personal development of young women in the community is Sharon’s passion!”
It is because of this dedication to her sisters and service to the community that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Officer Sharon Davis as its Police Officer of the Month for May 2018.
April Police Officer of the Month
Patrol Officer Hubert Kidd, District Two
Officer Hubert Kidd is an outstanding officer and an amazing asset to the Cleveland Division of Police Second District’s Community Service Unit. Officer Kidd became a CPD Officer in 2002 and automatically became the go-to guy when it came to community outreach with a smile and kind word for everyone he encounters.
When asked about Officer Kidd and the role he plays in Community Policing in the Second District, his immediate supervisor Lt. Johnny Hamm stated, “Officer Kidd attends community meetings, takes underprivileged kids fishing, reads to them in schools and visits sick children in the hospital. He also delivers food to the elderly, is a loving husband and father and is the epitome of what a community oriented police officer looks and acts like in providing the best services to the community.”
It is because of this dedication to our children and devotion to the community he serves that the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Officer Hubert Kidd as its Police Officer of the Month for April 2018.
March Police Officer of the Month
Detective Lisette Gonzalez, District Four
Detective Lisette Gonzalez of the Cleveland Division of Police Fourth District has always shown a great concern for the community she serves but as of late, that concern for people has expanded. Detective Gonzalez has gone to Puerto Rico twice on her own time since Hurricane Maria devastated that island. She has assisted with the relief efforts to get things back to normal and on multiple occasions, personally spearheaded fundraising for the cause.
When asked about Detective Gonzalez’s work ethics, her immediate supervisor, Sergeant James Bryant stated, “Detective Gonzalez is a lead detective who never backs down from a challenge or hard work. Many neighborhoods in our city are a safer place because of her dedication and work ethic. Detective Gonzalez is an asset to the Fourth District Detective Bureau, the Cleveland Division of Police, and the City of Cleveland.”
For her dedication and devotion to community service, the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Detective Lisette Gonzalez as its Police Officer of the Month for March 2018.
February Police Officer of the Month
Patrol Officer Joseph Haggerty, District One
Patrol Officer Joseph Haggerty of the Cleveland Division of Police First District is not only a model officer in his everyday duties but excels in his longtime involvement with the Cleveland Police Athletic League. He has been a P.A.L. volunteer for over 15 years and is a driving force in dozens of P.A.L. activities involving the children in the community, and has served on their Board of Directors as a trustee and presently as secretary. When asked about Officer Haggerty’s role in the Police Athletic League, Executive Director Bob Kumazec stated, “Officer Haggerty has been deeply committed to the goals and mission statement of the Cleveland Police Athletic League throughout both his professional career and private life. He has constantly strived to enhance relationships between police officers and the youngsters in the community. He epitomizes the term ‘community police officer’ in his thoughts and actions.”
For his dedication to Cleveland Police Athletic League and devotion to the youth of the community, the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Patrol Officer Joseph Haggerty as Police Officer of the Month for February 2018.
January Police Officer of the Month
Sergeant, District 3 Downtown Service Unit
“Service” is in Sergeant Tom Ross’ DNA… first as a U.S. Marine, and after an honorable discharge, throughout his long career with the Cleveland Division of Police.
As a respected 17-year member of the Cleveland Police Honor Guard, he has represented the Division with distinction and pride at public ceremonies, civic events, and the funerals of officers who have died in the line of duty.
When advised of his nomination for this award, Commander Debra Cavett, the HG’s Commanding Officer stated, “Tom has represented us in an exemplary manner and has dedicated his time and talents in helping to develop our unit to be one of the best.”
Sergeant Ross provides behind-the-scenes leadership in the Honor Guard, including the HG’s 2016 trip to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial events in Washington, D.C., and this year’s trip for the addition of PO David Fahey’s name to the NLEOM in May.
For his dedication to excellence and exemplary representation of the Division in public ceremonies, the Cleveland Police Foundation is honored to recognize Sergeant Tom Ross as its Police Officer of the Month for January 2018.