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Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Public Safety Heroes Recognized

Life-saving efforts honored during annual Police Foundation's luncheon Thursday at the History Club of Los Gatos.

On May 25, at 8:15 p.m., police received a call about a man standing on a bridge on Blossom Hill Road over Highway 17 who was about to jump and end his life.

Los Gatos Monte Sereno police officer David Gregg responded, and began a long conversation with the 20-year-old to try to talk him out of a possible suicide, and got one of his friends to come to scene to avert the tragedy.

For such great police work, Gregg and Michael Small, the victim's friend, received a certificate of appreciation from Chief Scott Seaman during the 22nd police recognition luncheon Thursday afternoon sponsored by the .

"Not only did you save the life of a friend, you also helped me out during a very desperate situation," Gregg told Small after receiving the awards from the chief.

Gregg and Small were among 29 public safety personnel honored during the sold-out luncheon at the

Harris and his son, Matt, 21, were riding along in a patrol car the afternoon of Jan. 2 when they heard a 911 dispatch call reporting a "person down" at about 2:30 p.m. on Old Orchard Drive.

Harris performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation, and Matt applied an automated external defibrillator's paddles to the victim's chest. They quickly restored his heart rhythm and loaded him on the ambulance to be transported to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Also on the scene were Santa Clara County Fire Department Engine 3, also known as Los Gatos' Shannon Fire Station, and other Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police units. Within 40 minutes of the 911 call, the man's heart returned to a fairly normal beat, said Harris.

That saved victim was finally identified Thursday as 58-year-old Mike Newman, who was present during the event and called his life-saving crew "heroes."

"Thanks to these guys I got a second chance and for me every day is better, every day is good," he said.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Det. Katherine Mann was honored for outstanding police work and excellence in mastering the agency's complicated computer and data systems to find crooks and solve cases for victims.

She was particularly lauded for helping break an elder-abuse case where a senior was swindled out of $80,000. Mann is credited with putting together a case despite having thin information, leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

Mann was also recognized for unraveling an identity theft ring that involved 130 victims from Monterey County up to Los Altos. One example of her police detective expertise was taking a license plate number, which didn't come back to the actual robber, but using that information to identify the thief and solve a serial bank robbery case.

The chief also emphasized the quality of Mann's work in what he called the "open house burglar cases," which consisted of a string of burglaries two years ago committed by a group of women who would pretend to be mothers with young daughters and stole items while they toured real estate open houses.

Phillip Massaro with Comerica Bank of Los Gatos was saluted for helping police catch a bank robber after he left the premises of the business while the robbery was still in progress. He smartly positioned himself in a parking lot and wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle the robber was driving and got a good look at his persona. "This was critical information. Once you have that, it breaks the case wide open," Seaman said.

Retired Judge Jim Emerson, a member of the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club, was feted for his work during the past nine months to help those in need in the community. "I'm extremely humbled by this award," Emerson said, recognizing

Volunteers in Community Policing Colleen Murphy and Sandy Vaurs were recognized for their anti-graffiti work in town and proactive steps to prevent blight and other crimes from escalating. Because of their work, Seaman said, one of his officers prosecuted a graffiti artist responsible for 15 acts of graffiti in the community. 

Disaster Aid Response Team volunteer members Mark Coolidge, Bob Jenkins and Wesley Poate were honored for assisting local cops in times of  emergency and critical service functions.

Victim Services Unit members Anthony Augustine, Mary Badame, Daniel Cisneros, Kellin Dunne, Kathleen Eagan, Thomas Fahrenholz, Duino Giordano, Pascuela Huerta, Laura Kramer, Robert Land, Patricia Moore, Jane Odell, Fariba Soroosh and Kathy Williams were also noted.

Seaman said he believed the unit is the only one in Santa Clara County and acknowledged for its creation.

Forrest was commended for teaching the team, established last February, how to preserve the dignity and rights of crime victims.

"They contact every victim of crime," Forrest said of the unit's members. "You get a letter, a phone call or a personal visit from these folks ... They help victims get through whatever crime. You might think that if your car is burglarized, it's not a bid deal, but to a victim, it is a big deal ... It makes a huge difference."

Since February, Forrest said the unit has contacted almost 500 victims, giving them referrals to legal and mental health services, community organizations, domestic violence advocacy and others.

Mayor Joe Pirzynski reminded the audience that, "It's really important that we get to know the individuals who protect our community, both police and fire ... I feel really proud to know that our community is so well prepared by the men and women of law enforcement and fire.

"What we have in this department is something that I don't think any other agency in the valley has ... and that's proactive [work]," the mayor added.

Pirzynski praised Seaman, hired to be the town's top cop in 2002, for inculcating community policing. "We're so appreciative of what you've done for us," he said. "We could not be the wonderful town that we are without your presence on our streets."

Monte Sereno Vice Mayor Susan Garner, a member of the police foundation, said her small city of about 3,000 people has heard "nothing but great praise from our residents for all the hard work of our law enforcement officers."

president of the police foundation, said it's been a privilege to serve the local department with "above-and-beyond resources" such as funding for many of the agency's community programs like the ice cream coupons given to town children for wearing helmets while bicycling, technology equipment for their patrol cars and the K9 unit.

Colleen Murphy October 21, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Congratulations to all of the honorees. Los Gatos-Monte Sereno P.D. provides excellence in policing.
Merlan October 21, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Great job and wonderful volunteers you have down there....We used to live there and it's nice to know that there are people that keep trying to make it a good place to live. Merlan Schwartz, Corvallis, OR
Colleen Murphy October 22, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Dear Merian, Thank you for your kind words. Los Gatos is a wonderful community and I enjoy volunteering my time to the town and citizens.

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