APD honors volunteers, staff, officers
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:03 PM
ARLINGTON The Arlington Police Department honored a volunteer, two staff members and three officers during its annual meeting in the City Council Chambers Feb. 21.
Arlington Police Chief John Gray presented plaques to Support 42 Chaplain Dennis Sonsteby, support services technicians Loralie Carlson and Val Copeland, Lt. Edward Erlandson, and officers Jay Schwartzmiller and Peter Barrett.
Gray named Barrett the Employee of the Year, quoted his fellow department members who characterized Barrett as having unbelievable motivation levels, an unwavering commitment to the profession, his coworkers and his department, and a passion and determinations to fight crime, one suspect at a time.
Gray described Barretts achievement of leading the department in removing impaired drivers from the street as remarkable, since Barrett worked as a patrol officer for eight months before being assigned as a detective.
He maintains relationships that foster trust and inspire confidence, and an attitude that encourages others to utilize his willingness to assist in any way, Gray said. Peter gives 100 percent and the criminals pay for it.
Gray recalled that Sonsteby started the chaplain program to assist police and fire services staff during times of crisis, by aiding families who have lost loved ones or been displaced by tragedies.
His vision was to create a cadre of volunteers who are committed to providing essential services to those who have emergent needs that cannot be addressed by others, Gray said of Sonsteby. They provide emergency social services when everyone else has gone home. They have delivered food, bought car seats, stood vigil at memorials for fallen officers, helped make funeral arrangements, performed wedding ceremonies and conducted memorial services.
Gray noted that Sonstebys team of seven volunteers provides more than 100 hours of service to the community each month, before citing his leadership, care and compassion as having bettered the community.
Gray pointed to Carlsons five years and Copelands six years as the voices and the faces of the Arlington Police Department, pointing out that theyve each talked to literally hundreds of people on the phone and at the police station.
Gray commended Carlson for the level of customer service she provides, not only to the public, but also to the officers within the Arlington Police Department and its law enforcement partners.
Gray singled out Copeland for her work as a composite artist, whose contributions have helped solve several high-profile crimes.
Val brings to the department, and the community, a high sense of service and a desire to make them safe, Gray said. Loralie brings to us grace, humility and sincerity, in always being helpful, patient and calm. The customers and clients of the police department are often people who are in crisis and present special challenges to the staff whose duty it is to assist them.
Erlandson was praised for his leadership of the departments special operations team, and as acting chief during Grays absence.
Gray listed the departments challenges within the past year as diverse as the killing of a pedestrian in a hit-and-run crash, the kidnapping of two children during a carjacking and the kidnapping of another child by a suicidal parent.
All of these events had two common threads, Gray said. All were solved quickly by excellent teamwork, and Ed Erlandson provided crucial on-the-ground leadership. Leadership is nearly invisible when its effective. Good leadership is easy to expect but far more difficult to deliver.
Gray summarized Erlandsons 20 years of experience with the Arlington Police Department by lauding him for developing his professional skills and mentoring his fellow officers.
This award is a tribute to Eds leadership, Gray said. Hes provided clear directions, had appropriate expectations and brought out the best in his team members.
Gray introduced Schwartzmiller by conceding that a combination of increased workload and relatively constant staff resources have made the police department more reactive and less visible in residential neighborhoods and retail areas.
It became clear, during the analysis of our departments enforcement activities, that one officer had made a consistent and aggressive effort to be proactive, seek out offenders and take the crime-fighting campaign to the offenders, Gray said. This was all done while handling the typical workload that is a burden to every officer.
Gray explained that Schwartzmillers record of more than 100 subject stops, more than 650 traffic stops and 33 arrest warrants served equaled roughly twice as much proactive work as any other officer in the department.