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Pleasanton: Police detective, parks worker named Employees of the Year

Annual Rotary recognition event cites service above self

A Pleasanton police officer and a parks department maintenance worker have been honored by the Rotary Club of Pleasanton for its "Service Above Self" awards.

Detective Anthony Pittl and 15-year parks crewman Jason Annicchero received the club's City Employee of the Year plaques at a luncheon June 13.

"Detective Pittl has consistently demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and team-orientation across multiple disciplines during his 10 years with the department," City Manager Nelson Fialho said at the awards presentation program.

"Jason Annicchero," Fialho continued, "is committed to ensuring that turf and parks meet our high-quality standards and is always safe for the residents of Pleasanton, even in a dangerous situation that deserves this recognition."

Annicchero, a graduate of Amador Valley High School, played soccer at Santa Clara University, where he was a 1996 Second Team All-American. He went on to play professional soccer for the Seattle Sounders, California Jaguars, San Diego Flash and Atlanta Silverbacks. More recently, he has served as a coach for the Mustang Soccer League in Danville.

For the last 15 years, Annicchero has helped to maintain and improve Pleasanton's parks and trails, whether repairing irrigation, enhancing the landscape or making improvements to the local soccer fields at Val Vista Park.

It was there last February, Annicchero saw a man waving a large knife and threatening to kill himself. He called the police and then followed the man as he walked, mumbling out loud, along Dunker Drive and then Dorman Road toward the Lucky grocery store and the Val Vista Shopping Center, staying behind the man until police arrived and took him away for investigation.

"This guy is a true hero because without him things could have ended much, much worse," a Dorman Road homeowner who saw Annicchero tailing the man carrying the knife told police. "It would be great if you could recognize his great actions," the unidentified homeowner said.

"Jason's actions model 'Service Above Self' as he proceeded with caution, and knew that it was just the right thing to do to follow this person until Pleasanton police were on the scene, knowing that Donlon Elementary was in close proximity," Fialho said.

Fialho also gave Rotary's second City Employee of the Year award to Pittl, who was honored last year as the Pleasanton Police Department's 2018 Officer of the Year. Fialho said Pittl has consistently demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and team-orientation across multiple disciplines during his 10 years with the department.

He described Pittl as "a detail-oriented investigator who takes charge of his cases, ensuring they are thoroughly completed, and the suspects are safely taken into custody."

Fialho added: "Anthony's dedication and commitment to excellence were clearly demonstrated by the quick identification and arrest of an individual who assaulted one of our officers while fleeing the scene of a burglary, and again when he was the lone detective who responded to assist patrol. As a team leader, he was also responsible for a plan which required the coordinated resources of the tactical team, Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, and that resulted in a peaceful resolution when a robbery suspect barricaded himself in his own residence."

As a department instructor, Pittl led the 2018 Active Threat Response training for which he spent considerable time and effort coordinating with multiple agencies to ensure the successful execution of a realistic training exercise for all involved. This one day of training took nearly a year of coordinated planning, site inspections and close collaboration.

Well known for his leadership and expertise on the East County Tactical Team, Pittl also has worked with businesses in Pleasanton, including Clorox, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Workday to provide active threat-training geared toward helping them to identify vulnerabilities and response plans.

Despite his significant workload, Anthony takes the time to work at community events such as Cone with a Cop and the Veterans Parade, and participates with the Special Olympics torch run.

"Anthony is clearly dedicated to his profession, our police department and the Pleasanton community," Fialho said. "As described by one of his peers, he's an officer everyone enjoys working with."

"His personality, loyalty, sense of humor, and positive attitude have a ripple effect that bolsters the morale of his peers," Fialho added. "He truly exemplifies all the good traits we come to expect of our employees, and does so with honor, integrity, pride and professionalism."

Each year, the Pleasanton Rotary Club recognizes two outstanding city government employees who exemplify Rotary's motto of "service above self," said Nancy Pennell, this year's club president.

Besides Pennell and Fialho at the awards presentation were City Councilwoman Kathy Narum, Police Chief Dave Spiller and Capt. Larry Cox, parks superintendent Brandon Stewart and Kathleen Yurchak, the city's director of operations and water utilities.

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