15th district honors officers, businesses at ceremony

Well-earned awards: Two officers and four businesses were honored during a Jan. 30 awards banquet at the Tacony Mayfair Sons of Italy Club. WILLIAM KENNY / TIMES PHOTO

Community leaders in the 15th Police District thanked two officers and four businesses for their public service during an annual awards banquet on Jan. 30 at the Tacony Mayfair Sons of Italy Club.

Officers Robert Bakos and John Lee were named Officers of the Year for 2016, while Friends Hospital, Avenue Chiropractic and Lorenzo’s Cafe and Espresso earned Business of the Year awards. In addition, Barbera Autoland received the 2016 Special Recognition Award.

City Councilman Bobby Henon, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and state Reps. John Taylor, Jason Dawkins and Jared Solomon presented each of the awardees with city and state citations recognizing their accomplishments. 15th Police District Advisory Council President Joe Valeece and the district’s commanding officer, Capt. Anthony Luca, awarded custom engraved plaques to the winners.

Four more police officers — Stephen Burgoon, Joanne Kitz, Anthony Manes and Matthew Nodiff — also took home some hardware as Officers of the Month for December.

In an award nomination memo, Sgt. William Schmid of the district’s 5-squad wrote that Bakos and Lee jointly logged 78 major crime arrests, nine additional arrests for firearms violations, 383 vehicle investigations and 370 pedestrian investigations. They were the first responders for 528 police radio calls. Bakos and Lee used only two sick days during the calendar year.

The Business of the Year winners were each nominated by Community Relations Officer Matthew Crosson for their unique contributions to police related programs and activities in the district’s three geographic Police Service Areas.

Friends Hospital was recognized for PSA-1 in the southern end of the district.

“They are always willing to donate food, money or snacks to events being held in the community,” Crosson wrote. “Their community liaison, Lynn M. Truszkowski, always stops in the district (station) to check in with the officers just to have a friendly conversation, drop off some snacks or check to see if her services are needed in any way.”

Avenue Chiropractic was the honoree for PSA-2, which encompasses Mayfair, Tacony and Wissinoming. Last year, proprietor Ann Marie Muldoon created the Police Comfort Business program where stores place a dedicated placard in their windows to identify themselves as a police-friendly business. Patrol cops are welcome to step inside during their breaks for a bottle of water or cup of coffee and to get some relief from extreme weather conditions. In addition, Muldoon organized and assisted in charitable events throughout the year including a sneaker drive, Toys for Tots and police functions.

In the northern end of the district, PSA-3, Lorenzo’s Cafe and Espresso earned the Business of the Year award. Proprietors Mike and Lisa hosted the district’s Coffee with a Cop public outreach event. Separately, they donated their time to serve more than 100 meals to officers during a police appreciation day. In addition, they hosted a fundraiser for an officer whose son passed away.

Despite being located in the 2nd Police District, Barbera Autoland was a big donor for the 15th PDAC in 2016. Notably, the business bought 2,500 customized keychains for the district’s Lock It Up auto theft prevention program, which encourages motorists not to leave their cars unlocked and unattended. Police and PDAC members distribute the keychains for free throughout the community.

The December Officer of the Month awards went to Burgoon, Kitz, Manes and Nodiff in recognition of their teamwork in nabbing a man suspected of committing a series of commercial robberies. Using surveillance images, arrest records and victim complaints, the officers identified the suspect and were able to link him to the Dec. 22 robbery of a Lower Mayfair Wawa. Under interrogation by detectives, the suspect admitted to committing nine additional hold-ups, mostly involving convenience stores. ••