5 women at Apache Junction Police Department earn honors

For the first time in Apache Junction Police Department’s 39-year history, women are occupying the highest honors in all five categories recognized by an awards committee.

The categories of awards recognized by AJPD are: Employee of the Quarter, “Joe Sabitus” Volunteer of the Year, Police Telecommunications Officer of the year, Civilian Employee of the Year and Police Officer of the Year.  

Janine Samara

Janine Samara was recently named Employee of the Quarter in part for her attention to detail when she discovered that a person AJPD had in custody was falsely identifying himself and had felony warrants for his arrest from another jurisdiction, according to a release.

Paige Beville

Paige Beville was honored with the “Joe Sabitus” Volunteer of the Year Award, for her selfless dedication as a volunteer at AJPD’s Paws and Claws Care Center. She created and directed a fundraising event called For Pets’ Sake. The event raised over $60,000 to help stray and abandoned pets find fur-ever homes, the release states.

Jessica Kelley

Jessica Kelley was named Police Telecommunications Officer of the Year. She was recognized for outstanding work performance, initiative, leadership, effective interpersonal relations, and for presenting suggestions that resulted in significant improvement of department operations.  

Lori Erlandson

Lori Erlandson was chosen as AJPD’s Civilian Employee of the Year. She was selected for her work with Paws and Claws Care Center, where she has been the facility’s manager since 2016. She made significant organizational improvements. Her leadership style increased the center’s visibility and her advertising efforts brought in an excess of $169,000 in donations, according to the release.

Detective Stephanie Jewell

Detective Stephanie Jewell was chosen to be honored as AJPD’s Police Officer of the Year. Detective Jewell is assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division and specializes in sex crimes. Detective Jewell’s professionalism and dedication to her work has led to several successful prosecutions, including  one high profile case in which the primary suspect received a 160-year sentence, the release states. 

Police Chief Thomas Kelly

“I am extremely pleased and proud when staff performs their services above and beyond the normal expectations, which is high,” AJPD Chief Thomas E. Kelly said in the release. “Again this year, we have had the pleasure of witnessing our city employees excel in all areas of public service.  When this happens, we as a community all benefit. My congratulations to all these women for a job well done.” 

The Apache Junction Independent publishes a daily newsletter and website. A print edition is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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