CVPD honors those who went above and beyond duty

The Citizen Exceptional Service Award went to James Moore and Nicolas Castro. (Courtesy)

The Chula Vista Police Department held a ceremony on May 2 to honor officers and community members who performed above and beyond in 2023. This ceremony takes notice of the daily efforts of men and women who serve others with exceptional efforts for the great good of the Chula Vista community.

The Life Saving Award went to Officer Donald Truong and Officer Daniel Hernandez. On Oct. 13, 2023, the CVPD received several 9-1-1 calls about a vehicle fire on Interstate 5 in Chula Vista. Though freeway calls are normally transferred to the California Highway Patrol, this incident caught the attention of a CVPD sergeant listening to calls for help in real time through Live911.

Knowing Chula Vista police officers would be more likely to be closer that CHP, the sergeant asked the dispatcher to send a CODE 3 to Chula Vista police officers. A CVPD drone was launched as a Drone as First Responder, providing officers with a more accurate location.
CVPD officers arrived at the scene to find a man screaming for his life, trapped in a burning car on the side of the freeway. They acted quickly, battling the flames by breaking the back window to reach the man, pulling him to safety seconds before the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. This man is alive in part because of the men and women of the Chula Vista Police Department and innovative technology which played a vital role in his rescue.
When the man awoke from a coma four weeks later, he learned what the officers did to save him. He expressed gratitude and acknowledged how differently things might have ended if not for the actions they took. He said, “I feel like a got a second chance. I’m so appreciative that they were able to get there in time and do what they did. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be here today,” said officials.

Chief Roxana Kennedy said in a press release, “I want people to see how police officers put their own lives at risk every single day to save people they don’t even know. I’m grateful this man survived and so proud of my officers for what they did to rescue him.” A video titled “Man Rescued from Burning Car” can be found on the Chula Vista Police Department YouTube page, which shows footage of the intense rescue:
The Crime Stoppers Enough is Enough Award was presented to Detective Eddie Chavira, who was instrumental in recovering several firearms and baggies of fentanyl pills after the arrest of a violent criminal who assaulted and seriously injured his girlfriend. Chavira is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit, became involved I the investigation after the arrest when the department learned the suspect was known to carry firearms.

According to officials, Chavira did not stop there. He continued his investigation uncovering a larger network of criminal activity with multiple suspects. Chavira’s efforts led to the seizure of multiple firearms, including AR-15 rifles, ghost handguns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, with five more suspects being arrested, of which four pleaded guilty to felonies.

The Citizen Exceptional Service Award went to James Moore and Nicolas Castro. On Oct. 6, 2023, a single vehicle collided with a tree on East H Street, catching fire in the process. These two separate residents in the area, as 9-1-1 call began coming in at 2:30 a.m., walked out of their homes, saw the car on fire, when Moore noticed the driver was trapped in the vehicle, unresponsive. Moore and Castro worked together to free the man before the flames reached him by removing the windshield, pulling the man out to safety shortly before the vehicle became engulfed in flames. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the rescued man and the burning car. The CVPD recognized both for their selflessness and quick thinking to save a man’s life.


Other individuals honored included:
MADD/DUI Award: Agent Ryan Culver, Officer Carson Tabor.
Proactive Narcotics Officer Award (Top 3) – Officer James O’Mahony, Officer Roman Buyson, Officer Kevin Havrincea.
Joshua Cox DUI Award – Officer Tanner Winslow.
Field Training Officer of the Year – Officer Tanner Winslow.
Cadet of the Year – Diego Nava.
Community Service Officer of the Year – CSO Emily-Grace Haus.
Senior Volunteer of the Year – Marilyn Shelton
Auto Theft Advisory Committee Award – 10851 Officer of the Year – Officer Daniel Santana.
10852 Awards (Auto Theft) – Officer Daniel Hernandez, Officer Tanner Winslow, Agent Carlos Marques, Officer Gavin Baptiste, Officer Daniel Santana.
Department Exceptional Service – Parking Enforcement Officer Monica Medina, Officer Alex Guevara, Officer Seth LaMonica, Sergeant Chris Fisher, Sergeant Evan Linney.
San Diego Police Officer’s Association Officer of the Year – Officer Donald Truong.
Dispatcher of the Year – Dispatcher Issac Jeitler.
Civilian Employee of the Year – Police Support Services Manager Shannel Honore.
School Resource Officer of the Year – Kiwanis Club – Officer Jose Aguayo.
Citizens Exceptional Service – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Officer Jumel Moises, Brain Constante, James More, Nicolas Castro.
Rotary Award – Detective Tyler Wall.
Scottish Rite Award – Agent Freddy Dominguez.
Lifesaving Award – Agent Natalie Garnsey, Officer Donald Truong, Officer Daniel Herandez.
VFW Officer of the Year – Officer Alfonso Perdomo.