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Public safety standout given honor
Greg Yotsuya was named Police Officer of the Year, while Juan Montes was named "Firefighter of the Year" at Saturday's annual Law and Order Night.

The event, hosted by the Ceres American Legion Post 491 at the Ceres American Legion Memorial Building, also paid tribute to "Support Person of the Year" Lilia Franco, and "EMT of the Year" Adam Martin.

Nominations were made anonymously within the departments and selected by the American Legion Post 491 after conferring with Public Safety command staff.

Yotsuya, a Ceres Police Department employee for nearly 19 years, has been acting supervisor and was even in charge of the entire department while administration was away for a brief time. Yotsuya has served as a dispatcher, police officer, field training officer, detective, and a member of Ceres HNT Team. He also helped start and create the Central Valley Gang Task Force.

"Greg is looked up to by younger officers and officers have learned by watching him," said Public Safety Director Art deWerk. "Greg pushes beat integrity when he trains new officers but still gives them the freedom to do what they want to do. Greg is a hard worker and will help out anytime he can when asked."

Firefighter of the Year Montes was selected as being an employee who is "always professional, courteous, and positive," said the chief. "He is always the first to offer a helping hand, goes out of his way to greet his coworkers and the public with a smile, and has great work ethic. His happy-go-lucky attitude is infectious and he's been a real stand-out at the fire department this year. He is a great role model for the new hires and his attitude is refreshing."

Romo, who has worked for the city for eight years, was selected as "Support Person of the Year" for being diligent in learning all aspects of record keeping as well as being a perfectionist who needs little supervision. When she was hired she was able to learn a new records management system quickly and gettig the department's records unit up to date from being a year behind in data entry. Her action enabled the department to redeem its records unit with the statistics unit at the state Department of Justice.

In about two years, Romo had been reclassified as a records clerk, since data entry and statistics now only took part of her day, and she was actively working on records duties. Since then she has learned every aspect of the records bureau - warrants, subpoenas, vehicle releases, parking citation management, and court liaison duties - all while excelling at them.

American Medical Response ambulance company serving Ceres honored Adam Martin as EMT/Paramedic of the Year.

DeWerk also honored some employees with the 2008 Chiefs Award. Police officers Joseph Wren and detective Derek Perry were bestowed with awards for lifesaving measures relating to an incident on Feb. 17, 2008. Officer Mike Perez was also honored for lifesaving measures, his on Dec. 24, 2008. For outstanding performance, the chief gave awards to detectives Tonya Smith and Keith Griebel and community service officer (CSO) Michele Houston.

DeWerk used the dinner as a chance to officially swear in a public safety employees hired over the past year. They include: police officers Pat Dayton, Jon Vera, Tom Niederreuther, Daniel Fairchild, Coey Henson and Dirk Nieuwenhuis; newly appointed sergeants Trenton Johnson, Dennis Perry and Pat Crane; first-ever lieutenant, Rick Collins; fire captains George Maroudas and Mike Miller; Battalion Chief Michael Lillie; firefighters Dominic Magagnini, Bret Presson, Joseph Spani, Jeremy Hackett and Felix Romero; intern firefighters Russell Bridges, Carlos Hampton, Shea Degnan and Matt Greene; and Battalion Chief Randy Wheeler.