CPD bestows awards on officers, one named in federal lawsuit

CPD bestows awards on officers, one named in federal lawsuit
From left to right are Capt. Paul Mendes, officer Samantha Alexander, interim Police Chief Neil Galluci, network engineer Sean Reese, interim Lt. Kevin Lehan and Capt. Mickey Williams after honoring several members of the Carlsbad Police Department with awards on Feb. 4. Courtesy photo

CARLSBAD — A Carlsbad police officer named in a federal lawsuit accusing him and others of brutality received the Driving Under the Influence Officer of the Year Award from the department on Feb. 4.

Officer Jody Knisley, along with several other Carlsbad officers, were sued by Cindy Hahn last fall after a video surfaced of her allegedly being beaten following a traffic stop. The incident took place nearly three years ago, but the witness’ video was discovered within the last year and the suit was filed.

CPD spokeswoman Jodee Sasway, though, said the award is a product of Knisley’s work at stopping DUI’s. She declined comment on the timing of the award, as the case is ongoing.

Despite the controversy, the CPD named its 2016 police officer, police supervisor and civilian employee of the year.

Officer Samantha Alexander was named the 2016 Police Officer of the Year. She is a nine-year veteran of the department and was honored for her continued superior performance.

“Alexander regularly exceeds all expectations in pursuit of the department’s goals to reduce crime and ensure the utmost quality of life for all those that live, work and play in the City of Carlsbad,” the release said. “Alexander embodies the true spirit of a patrol officer as she goes out on patrol each day and provides the highest level of service to the community of Carlsbad and her fellow officers.”

Interim Lt. Kevin Lehan was named the 2016 Police Supervisor of the Year. He is a 19-year veteran of the department and was honored for his professionalism, dedication and tireless efforts to promote and encourage those he supervises.

Lehan leads by example as he works hard and is dedicated to motivating those around him.

“He is a gifted instructor and takes the time to help others gain the training and resources they need to reach their goals,” the statement said.

Network Engineer Sean Reese was named the 2016 Civilian Employee of the Year. He is an eight-year veteran and works with the Information Technology Department. Reese was honored for his technical expertise, persistence and pride in solving even the smallest of problems.

He is tirelessly committed to supporting the technical needs of the department, which are essential to the department’s mission. Reese provides exceptional service with a positive attitude, industrious persistence and an unmatched patience for those he assists, the statement said.

Linda Padilla was named the 2016 Station Volunteer of the Year. She was honored for her dedication to the department.

Padilla is described as always being ready, willing and able to volunteer when needed. She helps with the Juvenile Justice Program and is committed to the ideals it advocates. To Padilla, no assignment is too big or too small when it comes to ensuring the effectiveness of the diversion program to influence the future of some terrific kids, the statement read.

Senior Volunteer Patrol Staff Sgt. Rosa Knight was named the 2016 SVP Member of the Year. Since 2007, Knight has recorded more than 3,000 hours of service to the department.

She is a gifted, natural leader that demonstrates unparalleled guidance and knowledge that is invaluable to the volunteer patrol, the release said.

Also honored at the ceremony were Patrol Officer Cody Green as the Auto Theft Recovery Officer of the Year and Patrol Corporal Travis Lambert and Patrol Officer Edward Ramirez with lifesaving awards.

“We congratulate this year’s award recipients and we are grateful for their exceptional service,” said interim Police Chief Neil Gallucci. “We are proud of all the men and women who have chosen a career in service and who work hard every day to ensure the Police Department can provide the best possible service to the Community of Carlsbad.”

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