Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty recognized three fire fighters from the Alameda County Fire Department and two deputies, one retired and one active, from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office as the recipients of the 2010 Fire Fighter and the 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Awards at Haggerty's 14th annual barbecue Friday night.
The annual event, part of Haggerty's annual fundraising efforts, was held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds pavilion.
"I am humbled by the contributions and sacrifices, day in and day out, of our public safety personnel," Haggerty said. "This award is a small, but heartfelt way that I can recognize these people for their work."
Among those honored was Joe Davis of Pleasanton, who retired from the Alameda County Sheriff's office Aug. 3, 1984 after serving 30 years as deputy sheriff. He joined the Sheriff's office at the age of 24 after serving in the Navy during the Korean War. Over the years, he served in various roles including 16 years assigned to the County's Santa Rita jail in Dublin. He worked at every courthouse in the county including serving as civil and criminal Marshall in charge of the Livermore-Pleasanton courts and at the Fremont Hall of Justice. Davis was the last constable to serve in Alameda County and his record reflects never having taken a single day of sick leave. After his retirement He also was active in the Alameda County Retired Deputy Sheriff's Association with key roles organizing activities and events for its members over the years. Appointed by Haggerty, he also served on the County's Advisory Commission on Aging.
One of two recipients of the 2010 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, Davis was recognized for his many years of distinguished service as well as his many contributions to Alameda County and the community, his work ethic and unwavering commitment to service.
The second Law Enforcement award recipient, Sheriff's Deputy Derek Pope, is a 20-year veteran of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office currently assigned to the Airport Police Services at Oakland International Airport.
On March 21, 2009, Pope was on patrol when he and his partner responded to the "officer down call" on the day when two Oakland Police officers were shot during a routine traffic stop in the 74thAvenue and MacArthur Blvd area in Oakland. Two more Oakland SWAT team officers were killed in the attempt to apprehend the suspected killer.
Haggerty said that Pope's years of experience include service with Special Ops in the U.S. Army, the Sheriff's office as a firearms instructor, member of its Special Response Unit Team training in SWAT tactics and operations, and as a weaponry expert.
"These factored into Deputy Pope's methodical actions in evaluating the situation and working with the Oakland Police SWAT team," Haggerty said.
Haggerty said that Pope entered this dangerous situation without his SWAT gear, attired only in his regular patrol uniform and Kevlar vest.
Pope was recognized for his heroic actions in the course of a gun battle that successfully eliminated the continued threat of the suspect armed with a high-powered weapon. He also has been recognized by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the National Sheriff's Association for his valor during the call of duty.
The 2010 Fire Fighter of the Year Award recipients from the Alameda County Fire Department were Deputy Fire Chief Demetrious Shaffer, Captain Robert Bodnar, both formerly of the Newark Fire Department, and Captain John Whiting formerly of the Union City Fire Department. The Newark and Union City Fire Departments recently completed a merger with the Alameda County Fire Department.
Haggerty said Shaffer has moved through the ranks in fire service over the past 25 years starting as a reserve fire fighter with the city of Campbell before moving over to Newark. He was involved in advocacy for regional fire services before the merge and currently oversees fire services for the communities of Newark, Union City, Dublin and the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories for Alameda County.
Captain Bodnar has been involved in fire service since his teen years as an Explorer Scout in Hayward, becoming an EMT in 1986 for Regional Ambulance before being hired by Newark Fire Department in 1986. He was promoted to captain in 1996 and was recognized as Newark's Firefighter of the Year in 1996 and again in 2007.
Haggerty said Bodnar worked closely with the Newark City Council and management to ensure the merger between Newark and the Alameda County Fire Department was adopted and the transition a smooth one.
Captain John Whiting began his fire service in 2000 as fire fighter/paramedic with the Union City Fire Department. Prior to Union City, he was a reserve fire fighter with Alameda County and a paramedic with San Joaquin County.
In 2008 Whiting was selected as Union City's Fire Fighter of the Year.
"Deputy Chief Shaffer, Captain Bodnar and Captain Whiting are being recognized for their service to their communities and for their vision and support to deliver service efficiently and effectively to Alameda County communities while preserving fire fighting jobs," Haggerty said.