Thursday, March 31 marked the 49th Annual Police Appreciation Breakfast, where the Commodore’s Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce honored the Newport Beach Police Department for their outstanding efforts on behalf of our city at the course of last year.
The sold-out event held at the Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport demonstrated how much businesses and residents of the city appreciate the efforts of the police department. The men and women of the police department are more than just officers of a law enforcement agency. They are ambassadors to our residents and to the multitudes of visitors who visit our city each year.
After two years of difficult circumstances, canceled events and online ceremonies, the excitement of the live event was palatable and felt like a big step on the way back to normal.
The morning began with a coffee reception hosted by local hot spot Dory Deli and owner-restaurateur Maro Marovic. Over 500 community leaders and police personnel and their families had the opportunity to mingle and learn about the canine unit police service dog Goose and his human partner, Officer Joe De Julio, the city’s mounted equine unit, and several vintage police vehicles on display.
The presentation began with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem sung by one of the police department employees, dispatcher Jessica Roberts.
Chamber CEO Steve Rosansky led the event, thanking major local sponsors Hoag Hospital, Newport Beach & Company, Julie Laughton Custom Homes and Orange County 5th District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett with special recognition to Pat and Jolynn Mahoney of West Coast Arborists for providing the decor for the event.
Chief of Police Jon Lewis, under whose leadership the police department achieved historically low crime rates, introduced master of ceremonies, Keith Morrison.
Morrison, an award-winning correspondent for “Dateline NBC,” is a local celebrity who has interviewed everyone from presidents and prime ministers to felons, teachers, artists and actors. Morrison has covered stories from around the world including the Orlando shooting, the Manson murders, the Oscar Pistorius trial, 9/11, Columbine, the Middle East peace process, wars fought by children soldiers in Africa, the struggle to “free Willy,” and the battle over the fate of once-headline-grabbing Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez.
Morrison started with the Lifesaving Awards which included:
- Kyle Cameron, Adam Daymude and Tyler Machado – quick assessment and teamwork to save a man from a fatal cardiac event.
- Timothy Langham, Alexander Shenasi and Michael Striek – providing calm, professional life-saving assistance as a man’s loved ones watch.
- Benjamin Arnett and Kyle Cameron – heroically removing an unconscious man from a burning car and providing life-saving efforts to prevent his overdose.
- Austin Laverty and Brian Park – providing vital assistance during a mental health call for a suicide attempt.
- Tyler Eisenhauer, Isaac Furnari and Steven Oberon – saving the life of another Newport Beach Police Department employee who suffered a heart attack while on duty.
Merit awards were given for service “beyond” an employee’s normal job responsibilities. These prizes went to:
- Kyle Markwald – disrupting the illegal sale of a loaded firearm near a school hours before students return, resulting in the arrest of a dangerous criminal and preventing future criminal activity.
- Christine Maroney – an experienced crisis negotiator, defusing two separate potential suicide incidents, one at the Via Lido Bridge and the other at the Goldenrod Bridge.
One of the highlights of the morning was the Merit Award given to Court Depweg, Michael Dugan, Michael Fletcher and Bryan McMahon for their determination, persistence and tireless pursuit of justice to solve a 40-year-old cold case and put an end to mourning. family.
In November 1980, 42-year-old Judy Nesbit was tragically killed while showing her family’s boat to an unknown assailant. The killer was never apprehended and the case remained cold for almost forty years. Generations of Newport Beach Police detectives continued to work on the investigation.
In September 2018, Depweg identified the hairs left at the original crime scene and, through cutting-edge DNA work, the first of its kind in the United States used to identify a murderer in a criminal investigation, a profile was extracted from the hairs.
Armed with the genetic DNA file, Depweg, along with Dugan and McMahon, identified a person of interest, Kenneth Elwin Marks, who died in 1999. Marks’ body was exhumed and, through DNA testing of the remains, Marks was identified as Judy. Nesbitt’s killer. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has ruled that if Marks were alive today, he would be formally charged with first degree murder under special circumstances.
Other awards went to “of the year” recipients, including volunteers, civilians, sworn supervisors, civilian supervisors, and officers.
- Volunteer of the Year – Laird Hayes of Volunteer In Policing has donated 152 hours to assisting the police service, including vital service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as one of the few volunteers to help the county personnel at SOCA University Vaccination Sites and the Orange County Fairgrounds. Laird appreciated his wife, Maggie, and her decision to also volunteer for the police department so “they could patrol together.” She sails and I drive; we haven’t lost each other yet,” Hayes boasted.
- Civilian Employee of the Year – Rangemaster Vincent Kyzer oversees the police department’s indoor firing range and arsenal of firearms, tasers and ammunition. Vince considers it his duty to provide training that will save lives. He has created new and innovative ways to train personnel on how to survive and protect public safety during life or death scenarios. His level of care for the safety of our officers and the community they serve is well above the basic standard.
- Civilian Supervisor of the Year – Senior Dispatcher Joseph Horton has been with the police department for 28 years and for the past 16 years has served as a shift supervisor in the dispatch unit, leading his team with a dependable work ethic and passionate.
- Sworn Supervisor of the Year – Sergeant Brandon Rodriguez oversees the Property Crimes Unit for the east side of town. His leadership is recognized as a model of how law enforcement should protect life and property and he is instrumental in achieving much of the 10% reduction in property crime in the city in 2021.
- Officer of the Year – Homelessness Liaison Officer Cynthia Carter has made great strides in finding long-term housing solutions for the city’s homeless population, coordinating her efforts with residents, businesses and service organizations to meet all needs at the highest level.
During the awards ceremony, the police department also presented a video called “Our Shift Never Ends”. The video can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJlsLZVP95o.
Kudos to all of the award-winning officers and the rest of the excellent Newport Beach Police Department for the very high level of service and dedication they provide to residents, businesses and visitors to the city of Newport every day. Beach.