Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dunwoody Police Achievement Awards

Once a year, we pause to recognize some of our highest achievers, those officers and civilian staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to our citizens.

******For Immediate Release******

Incident: Dunwoody Police Achievement Awards
Date:  January 31, 2019
Location: Dunwoody, GA

The entire staff of the Dunwoody Police Department is committed to serving the citizens of Dunwoody throughout the year.  We appreciate the continued support of our community and know that without our community’s support, our job would be much more difficult.  Once a year, we pause to recognize some of our highest achievers, those officers and civilian staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to our citizens.  It is important for us to recognize excellence amongst our staff.

“Our staff is dedicated to providing the highest level of service to the citizens in our community and our award recipients reflect that dedication.  Every call is important to us and every incident is a priority”, said Chief Billy Grogan. 

The Dunwoody Police Department recently recognized 14 members of the department and one volunteer for their outstanding achievements in 2018.  They were recognized as follows:


Officer Bryan Castellanos (Officer of the 3rd Qrtr 2018)

Officer Castellanos has distinguished himself throughout 2018 in the areas of productivity, volunteerism, teamwork, strong work ethic, and dependability.  Officer Castellanos made a significant arrest in July, 2018, when he initiated contact with a group of suspected shoplifters at Target.  Immediately after making contact, the suspect rammed the officer’s vehicle and fled the parking lot.  The suspects led Officer Castellanos on a vehicle pursuit into adjoining jurisdictions.  The suspects were taken into custody without harm to themselves or anyone else. Further investigation into these suspects revealed that they were involved in a multi-state shoplifting ring and responsible for the theft of thousands of dollars in merchandise from multiple department stores.  Officer Castellanos takes pride in contributing towards the department’s success and is especially fond of participating in community outreach events.


Crime Scene Technician Sybil Warner (Employee of the 2nd Qrtr 2018)

Sybil has been an instrumental figure in solving criminal cases for the Dunwoody Police Dept for nearly 10 years. This hard working individual has processed hundreds of crime scenes for detectives and officers and has conducted countless AFIS searches on latent prints recovered from vehicles and other property.  She’s had numerous AFIS positive returns where suspects have been identified.  In addition to her regular responsibilities, this outstanding civilian has consistently volunteered her time and expertise for a number of Community Outreach efforts such as the Citizens’ Police Academy, The Griffin Project, Truck or Treat, and Cops on Donut Shops, just to name a few.  She is highly regarded by her peers and supervisors for her wonderful attitude and strong work ethic.


Bailiff and Citizen on Patrol Member Jim Sturgis

Mr. Sturgis is a Dunwoody resident and a former member of the Dunwoody Citizen's Police Task Force. He has also served as a volunteer Bailiff since the Dunwoody Municipal Court opened its doors in February 2009, and is one of the inaugural members of the Dunwoody Police Department’s Citizens on Patrol team. During the year 2018, Mr. Sturgis dedicated a total of 471 hours of service to our City. He contributed countless hours assisting with The Griffin Project’s school visits; distributed hundreds of Child ID kits to parents at City events; and participated in many other acts of service to our City throughout the year.


Officer Bryan Castellanos

The Rising Star award is presented to an officer that has less than two years of service with the Dunwoody Police Department and exemplifies outstanding qualities, characteristics, and effectiveness as a new officer with the department. 


Chief of Police Billy Grogan

Chief Grogan had the highest firearms qualification score during the department’s Spring Firearms training.


Sergeant Patrick Krieg

Top Cop is a multi-discipline competition which includes physical fitness, mental aptitude, and shooting drills. Sergeant Krieg had the fastest overall time during this competition in 2018.


The Medal of Meritorious Service is awarded to an officer for outstanding performance during a lifesaving event. There were five recipients of this award for 2018.

Officer Roger Halstead

On a summer evening in 2018, Officer Halstead responded to the parking lot of Perimeter Mall in regards to a young child who was unconscious and not breathing. Upon arrival, Officer Halstead observed vomit on the pavement between the parked vehicles and the child laying on the ground. The child was lifeless and no signs of breathing were detected.  Officer Halstead immediately attached an AED to the patient, which advised “No Shock”, so he began administering CPR. In the midst of chest compressions, Officer Halstead rolled the child onto her side to clear her airway of mucus/blood/vomit. DeKalb Fire and AMR responded to the scene and took over life-support care, transporting the child to a hospital, where she underwent emergency brain surgery and survived. This child is alive today because of Officer Halstead’s quick actions and life-saving skills.

Officer Ethan Taffar, Officer Olajide Yakubu, Sergeant Michael Cheek

On a December evening in 2018, several officers were dispatched to a medical call at a residence in Dunwoody. Upon arrival, the officers found a male on the ground, not breathing and unconscious. A quick assessment of the patient determined he needed CPR. One Officer immediately began chest compressions while another officer applied an AED. The AED advised “No Shock”, so the two Officers began taking turns with chest compressions, during which time the patient’s friend notified the officers that he had just “shot up heroin”. Upon this discovery, an injection of NARCAN was administered by the Sergeant on-scene. Moments later, DeKalb Fire and EMS arrived on scene and took over care of the patient. Officers continued to assist medical personnel with CPR after their arrival. The patient was able to be revived and left for St. Joseph’s Hospital alert, conscious and breathing.

Officer Juan Lopez

On a summer evening in 2018, Officer Lopez responded to a Dunwoody residence in reference to a medical call regarding an unresponsive child. Officer Lopez arrived on scene and quickly attended to the child after realizing something was wrong. He began life-saving measures by giving chest compressions, to which the child quickly responded to. He continued with sternum rubs and other stimulus to keep the child awake until fire rescue could arrive on scene and take control of the patient’s care. Officer Lopez’s Sergeant met with the parents of the child, who told him that when Officer Lopez arrived, their child was not breathing, had no color and was starting to turn purple. They credited Officer Lopez for saving their child’s life with his quick life-saving actions and deemed him a “Hero”.


Police Service Representative Diane Sanford

PSR Diane Sanford quickly established herself as a highly competent employee who is extremely resourceful in her role as a Police Service Representative. During the first quarter of 2018, she received multiple commendations regarding her ability to work quickly and efficiently.  Diane was praised for her ability to process and enter over 60 stolen items onto GCIC from one single case and all without error.  She demonstrated a keen ability to prevent and solve problems. In addition to her regular duties, Diane assists as an associate Police Explorer Advisor and mentor with our Police Explorer Post #702.  Her supervisor noted that, “Diane has been very excited and honored to be able to assist with the Explorer program.” Diane has taken the challenge and responsibility as a mentor very seriously, and the Police Explorers think highly of her.


Guinevere Wiencek

Officer Wiencek distinguished herself during the first quarter of 2018 with her strong work ethic, positive attitude and ongoing participation in Community Outreach events.  Officer Wiencek received several commendations during the first Quarter for her efforts in improving traffic safety in Dunwoody.  In addition to her regular duties, she serves as an on-call crash investigator and committee member on the Risk Analysis Board.  She is noted for her meticulous investigations into traffic accidents involving serious injuries or death.  Officer Wiencek has been commended on multiple occasions during the first quarter for her proactive traffic safety and enforcement efforts. Officer Wiencek regularly participates in The Griffin Project where she helps children with special needs and autism spectrum disorder.  Officer Wiencek’s actions demonstrate her dedication and commitment as a police officer. 


Robert Ehlbeck

During the second Quarter of 2018 Detective Ehlbeck investigated several Elder Abuse and exploitation cases and made arrests on seven of those cases. These cases are often extremely challenging to investigate due to the victim’s mental and/or physical state as well as the lengthy paper trail that is typically involved in financial exploitation investigations.  Detective Ehlbeck was also commended by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office, Elder Exploitation Division, for his outstanding efforts. Detective Ehlbeck maintains a high clearance rate percentage and is considered by his peers as someone you can count on. On multiple occasions during the second quarter, Detective Ehlbeck was contacted after-hours to respond and assist with complex investigations. Detective Ehlbeck is always eager to help when there is a need, and always does it without hesitation and with great enthusiasm. 


Police Service Representative Cynthia Gary

Cynthia Gary is an exceptional employee and has mastered her role as a Police Service Representative. Cynthia received several commendations from her supervisors.  These commendations repeatedly mentioned that Cynthia consistently goes above and beyond in the area of teamwork, customer service and dependability.  Cynthia regularly requests additional responsibilities and is eager to take on more complex assignments.  She was commended during the third quarter of 2018 for her efforts in completing the task of Georgia Crime Information Center’s (GCIC) Record Restriction audit and did so without error.  Cynthia is a strong supporter of the department’s Community Outreach efforts and is a regular participant in organized events.


Property and Evidence Technician Katharine “KC” Tate

During the fourth quarter of 2018, KC Tate worked tirelessly preparing and arranging staff training for a smooth transition to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which required great knowledge and expertise with crime data collection and the department’s current use of its mobile field reporting system. Also during this time, KC learned how beneficial the Yellow Dot program could be to responders in the event of a medical emergency and agreed to coordinate our department’s participation in the program. This involved countless hours of hard work, not only to secure the Yellow Dot packets and train our staff, but to also work closely with the GA Dept of Public Health to educate our community on the program and its benefits. The department launched the Yellow Dot program for Dunwoody in September, 2018 and by December, the program had its first use when officers discovered Yellow Dot at the scene of a medical emergency. The information contained within that Yellow Dot packet was instrumental in the patient’s treatment and eventual recovery. KC was also instrumental in the success of our Christmas for Kids program in 2018.  She assisted in the massive toy drive collection and organization efforts, which helped to make this year’s event successful.


Juan Lopez

Officer Juan Lopez spearheaded an initiative in order to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for the residents and business owners who live and work in a specific neighborhood in Dunwoody. He gathered information on the types of illegal activity occurring in this neighborhood, and those people responsible for committing them.  He coordinated efforts with fellow officers on this initiative, which resulted in numerous arrests for drugs, loitering, drinking in public and criminal trespass.  He worked with property managers to initiate a major cleanup of trash and litter in the area.  The people who live and work in this neighborhood are now safer because of Officer Lopez’s initiative, hard work, and dedication.  In addition, Officer Lopez initiated several I-285 traffic details for speed enforcement and has motivated fellow officers to join him.  His efforts have resulted in numerous citations and many arrests for reckless driving and, most importantly, he helped make Dunwoody’s roads safer.  Lastly, Officer Lopez was also commended for his work as a training officer.  He has done an outstanding job, and his work ethic shines through in the staff members he has been training.



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