Apache Junction Police Department celebrates its finest

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and Apache Junction Police Detective Stephanie Jewell. (AJPD)

The Apache Junction Police Department on March 15 held its ninth annual awards ceremony hosted by Dolce Vita Retirement Community.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams was the keynote speaker. Chief Williams, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, delivered her comments challenging AJPD officers to continue providing excellence of service while striving to build trust in the department within the community, according to a release.

U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar attended the event and presented a prestigious Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award to volunteer Auxiliary Lt. Will Haynes.  As part of the award presentation, Lt. Haynes received a U.S. flag that was flown over the national capitol specifically in his honor.  Lt. Haynes has volunteered his service over many decades to the community, saving the citizens of Apache Junction tens of thousands of dollars, according to the release.

Additional awards were presented during the night that included recognition of four individuals who provided outstanding service, including:

  • The Volunteer of the Year award went to Paige Beville. She began a successful fundraising campaign for Paws and Claws Care Center. The event was named “For Pets Sake” and resulted in donations that exceeded $65,000.
  • The award for the Civilian Employee of the Year went to Lori Erlandson, manager of Paws and Claws Care Center.  She was selected in part for her outstanding leadership which resulted in an increase in the facility adoption rates from 60 percent to 85 percent.  Her effort in increasing the facilities visibility and advertising has brought in over $169,000 in donations.
  • The award for Police Telecommunications Officer of the Year went to Jessica Kelley. Ms. Kelley has been working for AJPD since September 2010 and has provided excellent service while at the same time taking on numerous additional responsibilities.
  • Detective Stephanie Jewell was awarded Police Officer of the Year for her extensive investigations involving sexual predators.  Her investigations have led to several successful prosecutions removing numerous offenders from the community.

“The personnel of AJPD who were present were recognized by the city for actions that saved a life, were heroic in nature, led to apprehensions of suspects through outstanding investigative abilities or had improved police operations.  While not every officer was presented an award, each department member was thanked for their hard work and dedication to the citizens of Apache Junction and the often difficult work they perform on a daily basis,” according to the release.

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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