The Anti-Defamation League held its annual Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate luncheon and awards ceremony on March 11 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The nationally recognized prize goes to law enforcement personnel who go above and beyond the call of duty to fight hatred and protect the community from hate-motivated violence.
This year, the honorees included two individuals and three groups from across Southern California. “All three group nominees demonstrate a high level of commitment to reducing hate crime and increasing cultural awareness,” said ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind. “Both individual honorees have made exceptional contributions to investigation and prosecution of extremists, making a tangible difference getting these vicious haters off the streets.”
Honorees included the Compton Varrio 155 Gang Investigation and Prosecution multi-agency task force that included personnel from the FBI, LA County Sheriff’s Department, United States Attorney’s office and the US Department of Justice. This task force was responsible for getting this violent street gang that terrorized African American residents off the streets of Compton.
LA County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant David Auner, who coordinated the task force, spoke of the countless hours “working outside the box” and using “enhanced technology” to get the arrests and ultimate convictions, the first in Southern California under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Mayor Aja Brown spoke on behalf of the city of Compton, expressing the impact this kind of police work has on her city: “I know all too well how important law enforcement is to the fabric of our community.”
The LAPD Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau was honored for its proactive community policing strategy to prevent hate crimes through meaningful discussions and education about different cultures. They have used innovative techniques including the world’s first Community Police Terrorism Facebook page dedicated solely to outreach, resulting in a an internationally recognized effort for taking unique approaches to educate both law enforcement and the public about hate, terrorism and intolerance.
Nirinjan Khalsa, speaking on behalf of the Sikh community, discussed the importance of these “community policing” models. “It is called ‘community policing,’ but I call it ‘enlightened law enforcement,’” he said, thanking LAPD for their work with Sikh, Muslim, Arab American and other communities.
Honorees from other ADL regions included:
IMPACT, a unique partnership between the Long Beach Police Department and the Long Beach city Prosecutor’s Office, who work cooperatively to combat the criminal organizations responsible for hate crimes in the community; Senior Deputy district Attorney John Barrick of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for his commitment to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes; and Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel for broadening the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office approach to hate crime prosecutions to include race-motivated crimes between inmates at the Santa Barbara County Jail.
The celebration ended with special birthday wishes to prize founder Joseph Sherwood on the occasion of his 97th birthday and his thanks to all the honorees who join the special group of Sherwood Prize recipients “who serve as role models to your departments and law enforcement.”
The honorees were:
2014 GROUP HONOREES
Compton Varrio 155 Gang Investigation and Prosecution
FBI, LOS ANGELES FIELD DIVISION
Special Agent Matthew R. Coit, Special Agent Randy R. Gonzalez, Supervisory Special Agent Salvatore Randazzo
LA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Lieutenant David Auner, Detective David Duran, Deputy Marissa Farias, Detective Michael Hernandez, Detective Christopher Keeling, Detective Mario Magdaleno, Detective Richard Sanchez, Crime Analyst Stephanie Valenzuela
US ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Asst. US Attorney Reema El-Amamy
US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Trial Attorney Saeed Mody
The Los Angeles Police Department Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau Liaison Unit
Police Officer James Buck
Police Officer Gary Crump
Sergeant Chand Syed
Police Officer Susan Torres
Police Officer Yvonne Whiteman
LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT
Detective Christopher Zamora
LONG BEACH CITY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
Deputy City Prosecutor Calvin “Ray” George
Senior Prosecutor Assistant Tracy McGee
2014 INDIVIDUAL AWARD HONOREES
SENIOR DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOHN BARRICK
Ventura County District Attorney’s Office
SENIOR DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY KIMBERLY SIEGEL
Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office
The honorees were selected from many nominations received from throughout Southern California by the distinguished Sherwood Prize Selection Committee: Chair, Chief David L. Maggard, Jr., Irvine Police Department; Chief Dan Bower, California Highway Patrol; Interim Chief Jarrod Burguan, San Bernardino Police Department; Sheriff Geoff Dean, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department; Sheriff William D. Gore, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; Chief Robert Handy, Huntington Beach Police Department; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden, ATF, Los Angeles; Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis, FBI, Los Angeles; Chief Jim McDonnell, Long Beach Police Department; Assistant Chief Michel Moore, Los Angeles Police Department; Chief Camerino Sanchez, Santa Barbara Police Department; Sheriff Stanley Sniff, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department; Chief Greg Williamson, Bakersfield Police Department.
The Sherwood Prize was created in 1996 by Joe and Helene Sherwood, founders of family owned and operated Daniel’s Jewelers, to recognize those in the law enforcement community that go above and beyond their job descriptions in combating extremism, bigotry, and hatred.
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