The Prescott Valley Police Department recently recognized exemplary employees who strive to make the Town of Prescott Valley a safe place to live. Take a look at this year’s heroic individuals who showcase just how many great people are making Arizona cities work!
Civilian of the Year – Geni LeQuesne
Geni LeQuesne is a vital member of the Prescott Valley Police Department. She handles all aspects of training and travel for employees of the Department, monitors and tracks training reimbursements and scheduling, maintains the Police Department website, manages Administrative Review/Personnel Complaint/and Use of Force records, provides backup for Administrative Staff, in addition to many other additional tasks. In 2014 alone, Geni arranged and completed over 250 different training/travel requests for Department personnel.
Geni is always pleasant to work with and extremely helpful to everyone. She has a positive attitude towards both her work and her fellow employees that makes working with her truly a joy. Geni is always willing to step in and help wherever necessary to accomplish Department tasks, and does so with a smile on her face.
Geni consistently demonstrates a professional and helpful attitude that is noticed by all of those around her. She is truly a valued member of the Prescott Valley Police Department and very deserving of the Civilian of the Year Award for 2014.
Community Policing Award – James Tobin
Detective James Tobin has been in law enforcement 18.5 years and served with the PVPD Family Violence Unit for 3 years. He has a clear understanding that criminal incidents are a much broader issue that can’t be addressed solely by a single call for service; however Detective Tobin takes every call for service as an opportunity to make a difference for the community he serves. In working closely with other community agencies and law enforcement professionals, Detective Tobin provides leadership and insight to a variety of community policing programs. Detective Tobin is a community steward and frequently participates in programs that help promote community policing, community outreach and education.
Detective Tobin is a leader with the Coordinated Community Response Team, whose mission isto end domestic and sexual violence in Northern Arizona. He is also part of the Yavapai County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, and has coordinated an intergovernmental study with the Northern Arizona University to study and develop advanced domestic violence threat assessments to further combat domestic violence related issues impacting our community. Detective Tobin helped facilitate the “Take Back the Night Candle Light Vigil” the community awareness program that honors Domestic Violence homicide victims from Yavapai County, as well as the “Start By Believing” campaign in support of sexual assault victims. He also participates in the “Teen Maze” educational event, Hopefest, Salute to Heroes, and the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy to represent the PVPD Family Violence Unit. Finally, Detective Tobin has become a community leader on the MATFORCE Coalition to reduce substance abuse in our community.
Over the past 6 years, the number of Domestic Violence incident calls for PVPD has increased by 53%. Due to community outreach, more careful statistical capture, as well as education in the community that creates a supportive environment in which victims feel safe to report domestic violence, family violence crime has been addressed assertively by our Family Violence Unit. Community policing, community outreach and education have become synonymous with the nationally recognized PVPD Family Violence Unit through the efforts of Detective James Tobin. On April 21, 2015 the PVPD Family Violence Unit was recognized by the State of Arizona Attorney General’s Office for distinguished service to victims. This award was largely due to the outstanding work of Det. James Tobin and his community policing efforts with the PVPD Family Violence Unit.
Medal of Valor – John VanGundy
On March 09, 2014 at 2:55PM hours, Officer VanGundy and other Prescott Valley Police Officers responded to an in progress domestic violence call at 9420 Magma Drive. During the call to dispatch, a female caller said her husband fired a weapon inside the house during a domestic argument, and that he had assaulted his father who was also inside the residence. It was reported that a child was possibly in the home when this occurred. The female caller reported that her husband, the suspect, was possibly outside of the residence; however his whereabouts were unknown.
Upon arrival, officers set up a perimeter of the residence. Officer VanGundy was one of the first responders on scene as he was acting as a field training officer for that shift. Officer VanGundy stationed himself on the south east corner of the residence behind a wall and a tree while waiting for additional officers to respond. While Officer VanGundy was at his perimeter location, he observed a male subject walk from behind the south side of the residence towards the front of the residence where other officers were arriving. Officer VanGundy observed that the suspect had a long gun in his hands and challenged the suspect to drop the weapon. The suspect pointed the long gun in the direction of Officer VanGundy. Officer VanGundy fired two rounds from his patrol rifle striking the suspect with both rounds. Officer VanGundy used proper approach tactics to detain the suspect and get him medical attention. Subsequent investigation indicated the suspect had exited the residence upon police arrival and may have been trying to obtain a position of advantage in ambush of responding Officers.
Officer VanGundy’s decisive and effective response to this situation resulted in the elimination of potential further harm to three victims in the residence as well as multiple responding Police personnel and civilians in the area. It should be noted the residence in question is across the street from the George Anderson Park.
Officer VanGundy handled himself as a true professional from start to the end of the call. We would like to fully commend Officer VanGundy for his ability to handle himself in this type of serious incident in such a professional manner. This type of behavior is deserving of a Medal of Valor.
Officer of the Year 1 – Brad Penner
Officer Brad Penner has provided over 20 years of dedicated service as a police officer in Arizona. With his years of service, he possesses vast experience and knowledge to draw from and is always willing to share his knowledge to assist fellow officers. Officer Penner is truly selfless and always gives freely of his time to help and mentor others.
Officer Penner displays compassion, kindness and genuine empathy for the citizens he encounters each day. He has a special talent for defusing and de-escalating tense situations with confrontational subjects in a calm, patient and practical manner.
With his many years of excellent service, Officer Penner shows no signs of slowing down. In 2014 Officer Penner responded to 765 calls for service, investigated 29 traffic crashes, issued 528 traffic citations and warnings and made 86 arrests. His unrivaled work ethic is just one of the many ways in which Officer Penner provides an excellent example for other officers to follow.
Officer Penner is a role model in the community and within the Prescott Valley Police Department; he is the embodiment of what a law enforcement professional should be.
Officer Brad Penner is very deserving to be named as the 2014 Prescott Valley Police Department “Officer of the Year.”
Officer of the Year 2 – Jennifer Watson
In just over two years at the Prescott Valley Police Department, Officer Jennifer Watson has distinguished herself as a hardworking, dedicated and highly productive patrol Officer.
In 2014 Officer Watson responded to 318 calls for service, issued 230 traffic warnings, issued 65 traffic citations and made 98 arrests. She works tirelessly to help crime victims and provide excellent service to the community. She is always willing to assist fellow officers and brings a positive and enthusiastic energy to every task and assignment.
In addition to her outstanding work on patrol, Officer Watson has taken on numerous additional responsibilities throughout 2014, including working with a multi-agency task force to target sexual predators. She is a member of the Family Violence Unit adjunct team, is a member of the Yavapai County Coordinated Community Response Domestic Violence Task Force, and was a valued contributor at the Take Back the Night candlelight vigil, Teen Maze and Shop-With-a-Cop. Officer Watson also volunteers her time to assist as a Big Sister for Yavapai County Big Brothers-Big Sisters.
In 2014 Officer Watson received numerous letters of appreciation from community members and numerous commendations from supervisors, detectives and peers who have recognized the quality and professionalism of her work.
Officer Jennifer Watson is a tremendous asset to the citizens of Prescott Valley and is very deserving to be recognized as the 2014 Prescott Valley Police Department “Officer of the Year.”
Rookie of the Year – Ryan Spriggs
Officer Ryan Spriggs joined the Prescott Valley Police Department in August 2013 and was accepted into NARTA class 35. He joined the department as a reserve police recruit and attended the academy for the first several months as an unpaid reserve. Officer Spriggs knew he wanted to be a police officer and felt becoming a reserve would help him in his quest to reach his goal. Several months into the academy, he accepted the offer to become a full time employee. Officer Spriggs graduated the academy in December of 2013 as a well-respected recruit, and was also chosen as the NARTA class Treasurer.
During field training, Spriggs showed how much of a dedicated employee he is. Throughout his field training, he worked very hard to excel and learn what it takes to be a solo police officer. During many of Officer Spriggs’ shifts, he worked very long hours to complete his cases. Officer Spriggs has been known to dedicate over 17 hours to complete a single in-depth case. He progressed along through training at a solid rate and finished his required training and became a solo police officer.
Once assigned to a full time squad on the graveyard shift, Officer Spriggs became very proactive by making traffic stops, field contacts, going on as many calls as possible and learning as much as he could in his first year. During his first year, he wrote 155 reports, issued 266 citation and warnings and made 61 arrests. He also took it upon himself to complete several SARA projects which directly impacted the community in a positive way. Officer Spriggs continuously makes an effort to attend trainings to help further his career. He has shown to have a very positive attitude and is an asset to not only the Prescott Valley Police Department, but the Town of Prescott Valley as well.
When asked, fellow officers said that Officer Spriggs has shown his willingness and motivation to learn this difficult, yet rewarding career. Officer Spriggs constantly steps up when both challenges and opportunities present themselves, and always involves himself in conversations among the squad as they pertain to our line of work. Officer Spriggs, in his first year of service has shown to be an officer of great quality and character. He has shown his ability to not only be a leader, but also a well-respected teammate. Officer Ryan Spriggs deserves and has shown to have earned the award of Prescott Valley Police Rookie of the Year.
Unit of the Year – Patrol
In 2014, the Patrol Section of the Town of Prescott Valley Police Department was comprised of 2 Lieutenants, 6 Sergeants, 6 corporals and 31 officers. Last year, the Patrol Division responded to over 23,000 calls for service, made more than 2,000 arrests, and wrote over 7,100 documented reports along with an additional 4,400 supplemental reports. Additionally the officers responded to over 600 accidents, wrote over 3,100 citations, issued over 4,900 warnings and more than 1,600 repair orders for minor equipment violations.
2014 was a challenging year for Patrol, with multiple retirements and turnover of officers, along with numerous injuries. The Patrol Section worked efficiently, responding to both major and minor crimes and accidents in a timely manner. While the community continued to grow, the number of officers remained constant. The Patrol Division truly overcame and learned to do more with less, while providing a high level of service to the community.
The patrol officers of our department work 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Each day our officers encounter agitated, aggressive criminals and have to take action to protect the community and maintain law and order. Our officers interact with community members in need of help, and deal with major and minor issues, always solving the problem. Our officers ensure the Town of Prescott Valley remains safe and as a result, our community is thankful that they have such a dedicated and professional group of officers upholding the laws of the state and country.
Volunteer of the Year – Bob Jensen
Robert Jensen, or K-Bob as all of us know him, has been a volunteer with our agency since 2007. K-Bob was nominated by his Police Department family as the 2014 Volunteer of the year, for his work as a Patrol VIP. You will most likely never see K-Bob without his ball cap on, a Pepsi in his hand, and a smile on his face! He always has a good sense of humor and a positive demeanor. K-Bob has always stressed that he does this job because he wants to help, not for the recognition.
K-Bob is quick to help in any area he can, and always finds tasks that need to be completed, with little or no direction. He was instrumental in transporting vehicles to Phoenix during the redesign of the patrol vehicles and also assisted in getting additional drivers to assist. K-Bob has never wavered in his enthusiasm to the agency and does his job with the utmost dedication and consistency.
K-Bob has been a vital part in the upkeep, maintenance and design of the Mobile Command Post. He is the main driver and operator of the Mobile Command Post, in which he takes a great deal of pride. K-Bob is always reliable for anything from a midnight call-out to assist Patrol with a critical incident or a chili cook-off at a local church.
K-Bob gave 976 hours in 2014 as a volunteer, the most of all VIPs. This averages out to over 80 hours a month that he is donating for the greater good of our agency and community. K-Bob is a great example of the benefit and necessity of having the VIP Unit within our agency. Having VIPs like K-Bob make not only the daily operations of the Police Department run smoother, but he completes beneficial tasks that would otherwise go undone. Thank you for your enthusiasm, commitment and ongoing dedication to our agency.