Police officers recognized at Gilbert Community Excellence Awards

Gilbert police officers
A group of Gilbert police officers who aided in the capture of a suspect who killed Chandler Police Officer Chris Farrar are recognized at the 25th annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

A group of Gilbert police officers who aided in the capture of a suspect who killed Chandler Police Officer Chris Farrar are recognized at the 25th annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

A group of police officers who assisted in stopping a felony suspect’s attempted escape received the Tim Dorn Public Safety Award on Nov. 18 at the 25th annual Gilbert Community Excellence Awards.

The officers included Rico Aranda, who was severely injured in the incident last May, which started in Eloy when the suspect fired a shot at an officer who had pulled him over in a stolen vehicle. The subsequent pursuit ended near the SanTan Motorplex in Gilbert, but Chandler Police Department Officer Chris Farrar was killed when his vehicle was struck in the chase. Aranda's vehicle also was struck.

The Gilbert officers cited in the award are Sgt. Mikel Curtis, Sgt. Kyle Peterson and officers Aranda, Philip Adami, Scott Carner, Bryan Heppel, Sean Johnson and Brandon Larrate.

A Maricopa County grand jury indicted Jonathon Altland Jr. in the case.

Also winning municipal awards were Budget Director Kelly Pfost as Employee of the Year and the Citizens Transportation Task Force as the Municipal Volunteers of the Year. The task force largely put together in an advisory capacity the $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond package approved by voters earlier this month.

Other award winners included:

Community Awards

Geneva Clay Community Volunteer Award: Deb Carr

Beautification Award: Gilbert Parks and Recreation Department for the Gilbert Regional Park

Education Awards

Higley USD Educator of the Year, Rebecca Rodriguez, Williams Field High School

HUSD Support Staff of the Year, Kristen Ramos, Higley Traditional Academy

HUSD Volunteer of the Year: Travis Smith, Williams Field High School

Chandler Gilbert Community College Educator of the Year: Brad Bates, Chemistry

CGCC Staff Member of the Year: Nadia Faucon, technology support specialist

Gilbert Public Schools Dr. Walter Delecki Educator of the Year: Shawn Abele, instructional technology coordinator

GPS Mrs. Sharon Orr Support Staff of the Year: Ellen Baird, equipment specialist

GPS Mrs. Shelia Rogers Uggetti Volunteer of the Year: Sarah Bunn, PTSO president, Settler’s Point Elementary

Business Awards

Spirit of Business Award: Nova Home Loans

Visionary Award: Bryce Bunker, Gilbert Memorial Park Cemetery and Funeral Home

Leon Uhlhorn Chairman’s Award: Chris Spear, Traction Point
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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