The 38-sworn officer department was recognized during the 23rd annual Los Gatos/Monte Sereno police recognition luncheon at the Los Gatos History Club for its investigation of the Nov. 30 home invasion robbery that led to the suffocation death of Monte Sereno businessman Raveesh "Ravi" Kumra.
Within a month of the shocking crime in the upscale all-residential community of Monte Sereno, skilled department investigators had suspects arrested in connection to the death of the former Mountain Winery owner.
Kumra's sordid past came to light in court documents and police reports detailing his involvement with prostitutes and other illegal activities that took place in his Withey Road mansion.
The department's SWAT team received a certificate of commendation for its outstanding work developing and presenting realistic and innovative active shooter training for all department members.
The ceremony also recognized members of the Santa Clara County Fire Department Arson Unit, led by investigators Jeremy Davis and Dennis Johnsen, who received certificates of commendation for their work in the Britt arson case of October of 2011.
"... They are furthering the department's objective of reaching out and knowing everybody in our community," said Los Gatos Mayor Barbara Spector.
Los Gatos community outreach coordinator Jackie Rose was recognized for having "team spirit, positive attitude and eagerness in all assignments, including the Los Gatos Youth Commission, community outreach programs and Neighborhood Watch."
Monte Sereno Mayor Curtis Rogers praised the department as one of the best in the state.
He called the Kumra homicide investigation "precise, accurate and thoughtful" and thanked the department for staying on top of the increasing number of home burglaries in the community.
"This is indicative of the type of police department we have," Rogers said. "They don't just police, they're partners with the community."
The other honorees and their acts of service are as follows:
- Probation officer Katie Boyd, certificate of commendation, for addressing the unique needs of Los Gatos youth.
- LGMSPD Sgt. Kevin Elliott, certificate of commendation, for professionalism, outstanding investigative skills and diligent follow-up in the Britt Arson Case of October 2011.
- LGMSPD Det. Jamie Field, certificate of commendation, for professionalism, outstanding investigative skills and initiative in implementing and updating department programs including The Parent Project, Explorer Program, juvenile diversions, social media and the investigation and prosecution of a major sexual predator case.
- Jeffery Scales, loss prevention officer, Safeway stores, for professionalism, diligent follow-up, and invaluable assistance in the Britt Arson Case of October 2011.
- John Zore, certificate of commendation, for outstanding work as the LGMSPD’s network administrator and diligence in problem solving and maintaining department’s equipment and special projects, including the latest police computer-aided dispatch, or CAD installation, upgrading all equipment in police vehicles and maintaining all IT related equipment in the department.
- Leyton Howard, certificate of commendation, for professionalism, dedication and outstanding skills as LGMSPD's school resource officer, collaborating with educators, students, parents and the community to reduce crime, drug abuse, violence, and to provide a safe school environment.
- Jim LaTorre, principal at Raymond J. Fisher Middle School, certificate of appreciation, in recognition of dedication and commitment to the safety and education of Los Gatos and Monte Sereno youth through the Safe Routes to School Program.
- Karen Briones, parent, Fisher Middle School
- Lisa Reynolds, principal, Blossom Hill School
- Wendy Doty, parent, Blossom Hill School
- Vivian Martin, principal, Van Meter Elementary School
- Tim Boyd, parent, Van Meter Elementary School
- Kit Bragg, principal, Dave’s Avenue Elementary School
- Donna Leu, parent, Dave’s Avenue Elementary School
- Joe Connolly, principal, Hillbrook School
- Dr. Diana Abbati, superintendent, Los Gatos Union School District
- Thomas Cook, parent, Los Gatos Union School District
- LGMSPD Sgt. Stephen Walpole