Ending 2020 on a high note, the Guam Police Department took the time to recognize the men and women in the ranks who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The event normally takes place in May but like many other events and celebrations, GPD had to wait to recognize the achievements of its officers and civilians on the force who had stellar performances in 2019.
The department recognized the employees in several categories.
Police officer two Susie Santos was named Police Officer of the Year; Police Sgt. Aida Pierce garnered Supervisor of the Year; Ernanita Lajato was awarded Civilian of the year, Lieutenant Ronald Taitano was named Manager of the year, and CVPR officer Alexander Chan garnered Civilian volunteer police reserve of the year.
In addition, Unit Citation of Excellence award went to the Juvenile Investigations Section, and the Silver Star Medal was awarded to Lieutenant Donald Flickinger, Police Officer 3 Ronald Corpuz, Steven Topasna, and Police officer two Sotero Olpindo.
PNC caught up with the police officer of the year, Officer Santos, who was more than thrilled to receive the prestigious award.
“As the Police officer of the year, I’m feeling like the underdog and I am now excited for it. I would say to everyone out there … don’t let your fears dictate how you’re going to move forward, don’t let COVID-19 hold you down! In the next few days, we’re going to be celebrating 2021, so let’s look forward to that,” she said.
Santos is a 15-year veteran on the force who was instrumental in GPD’s mission of increasing community engagement and outreach initiatives like Coffee with a Cop.
PNC also had the chance to speak with Ernanita Lajato, the Civilian of the Year.
“Of course, at first I’m shocked because I just started here at GPD just a little over a year ago. I started in January 2019 and I’m shocked to be chosen as Civilian of the Year. I know that the committee takes careful thought and consideration because there are a lot of very hard-working and deserving employees of GPD,” she said.
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero was present for the ceremony via video conference. She expressed her gratitude to the men and women in blue and reflected on their service.
“Good people sleep peacefully in their beds because brave men and women stand ready to protect them on their behalf. You are very important to the well-being of our people here and I do appreciate all the work that you do and the sacrifices that you make, especially in times of increased risk like COVID-19,” the governor said.