Police, Fire Departments Present Awards

4 Lifesaving Medals Given for Rescue at Med Center

Four police officers in uniform, wearing medals and holding certificates; posing with police chief.
UC Lifesaving Medal recipients, from left, officers Jose Pinedo, Shawn Bowers and Thomas McGee, and Sgt. Moaz Ahmad, with Police Chief Joe Farrow. (Paul Henoch/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Police ceremony also includes swearing-in of new captain, 2 sergeants and 2 new officers
  • 20 students graduate from Cadet Academy; four earn scholarships for regular training — and job offers with the department
  • Fire chief recognizes Firefighter of the Year, Student Firefighter of the Year and Student EMT of the Year

The campus Police Department recently presented UC Lifesaving Medals to four officers for a rescue at the UC Davis Medical Center in April 2018.

Chief Joe Farrow and Capt. Mark Brunet, the department’s new second-in-command, presented the medals during the department’s annual Employee Recognition and Swearing-In Ceremony and Cadet Graduation.

UC Lifesaving Medals

The UC Police Chiefs Association approved Chief Farrow’s nominations of Sgt. Moaz Ahmad, Cpl. Thomas McGee and officers Shawn Bowers and Jose Pinedo for UC Lifesavings Medals, recognizing the foursome for preventing a medical center patient from falling from a third-floor window. The patient had kicked out the window and started to climb out.

“Your quick decisions and professional response saved the life of a patient in distress,” Brunet said. “You demonstrated wonderful team effort and sincere compassion while handling this life or death situation.”

Bowers, the first officer on the scene, heard yelling coming from the area of the west stairwell ramp and located the patient. Ahmad arrived at the west entrance, and from ground level saw the patient hanging part-way out the window.

Ahmad raced up to assist Bowers, who was trying to pull the patient inside.

The patient resisted and started to break free from the officers’ grasp. Ahmad then used his Taser on the patient, allowing the two officers to gain control. McGee and Pinedo arrived as the patient started to resist again, and the four officers successfully pulled the patient inside and got the person to treatment.

Sendoffs and welcomes

The Police Department ceremony, held in the Activities and Recreation Center Ballroom, also included official sendoffs for new retirees and the official introduction of a new professional employee.

The retirees: Manuel Guerrero (42 years in law enforcement, including 32 years in the city of Davis), officer Ray Holguin (during his 19 years with the campus Police Department, he served as outreach officer and helped establish the Cadet Academy and Community Academy) and officer Mark Tingley (40 years in law enforcement, the last five with the campus Police Department).

The new professional employee: Jessica Saldana, a UC Davis graduate (Bachelor of Science degree in human development in 2017), dispatcher.

New captain

Mark Burnet speaks from podium.
Brunet at the podium for the Employee Recognition and Swearing-In Ceremony.

Capt. Brunet (pronounced broo-nay), who joined the Police Department in March, took the oath of office and received his badge, pinned on by his wife.

Brunet came to UC Davis after a 30-plus-year career with the California Highway Patrol, the last four years as a deputy chief in charge of the Personnel and Training Division. He participated with the executive leadership of both the CHP and the California Association of Highway Patrolmen on building public trust in the CHP.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and is a graduate of the Naval Post Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Program. 

Also sworn in

Sergeants and officers, in uniform
Sworn in, from left: Carl Walter and Doug Voska, sergeants; and Rickardo Lee and Justin Williams, officers.

●︎ Sergeants — Doug Voska and Carl Winter, both promoted from within the department and whose wives pinned on their badges. Voska joined the campus Police Department in 2013 and has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, while Walter has been with the campus department since 2015 and has more than 28 years of experience in law enforcement.

●︎ Officers — Rickardo “Rickie” Lee and Justin Williams, both of whom are UC Davis graduates who completed the Police Department's Cadet Academy in 2018 and earned UC Davis Police Department scholarships to attend the Sacramento Police Academy — from which they graduated last December.

Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology (biology emphasis) a year ago. He worked for the Police Department’s Aggie Host Security Division as a student, besides attending the Cadet Academy. Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 2017, and played on the Aggie football team.

Cadet graduation

The Police Department continues to sponsor outstanding campus cadets in the regular police academy, awarding four scholarships this year — not only scholarships but offers of employment upon graduation. The 2019 recipients: Gustavo A. Ochoa, Ali Haider, Chaeeun Park and Benjamin M. Saxe.

They were among 20 cadets who successfully completed the campus academy that ran from January through April, and included classroom work one night a week and Saturdays; and physical fitness training one night a week.

Police cadets, lined up

The cadet class of 2019, from left, back row:

  • Mark A. Harris
  • Clark Q. Chan
  • Aida Anahi Rangel
  • Allison Dodds
  • Juanita Cerrillos
  • Geena Urton
  • Harjeet Kaur Cheema
  • Taylor B. Hopkins
  • Kimberly Lopez
  • Chaeeun Park
  • Gustavo A. Ochoa
  • Henrri R. Gutierrez

Pictured from left, front row:

  • Capt. Mark Brunet
  • Tyler W. Green
  • Liam S. Todd
  • Benjamin M. Saxe
  • Matthew S. Lowery
  • Ali Haider
  • Tabbasum Malik
  • Sri Hari Priya Kanuparti
  • Ruby Tapia
  • Cpl. Mikio McCulloch
  • Chief Joe Farrow

Fire Department awards

Fire chief presents certificate to firefighter.
Rizzo, left, and Chief Trauernicht

In an awards program sponsored by American Legion Yolo Post 77 of Woodland, UC Davis Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht recently honored the following personnel, nominated by their peers (who are quoted):

Ben Rizzo, Firefighter of the Year — “Ben is an effective leader and has great problem-solving skills. He does an awesome job of overseeing the department’s apparatus maintenance program, often taking care of phone calls and emails on his off days to keep our fleet ready at all times. Ben’s knowledge of the campus and city geography is exceptional. He is a dedicated member of UCDFD who can always be relied upon.”

Jack Gordon and Avery Asera mugshots
Gordon and Asera

Jack Gordon, Student Firefighter of the Year — “Jack has a contagious attitude to learn and train. He has been pivotal in guiding and teaching new student firefighters and planning events. Jack’s support and guidance during the 2018 Student Firefighter Academy highlighted his patience when explaining new concepts, skills and scheduling. He is seen as a role model for other student firefighters.”

Avery Asera, Student Emergency Medical Technician of the Year — “She is a leader among her peers and has helped advance the student EMT and event EMT programs. Avery … volunteered countless hours to help students in the EMT program learn their skills outside of class, mentored her fellow event EMTs, and most recently has taken the lead role in creating and implementing a Stop the Bleed program on the UCD campus. Through her efforts, Avery has and will continue to make our community safer.”

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Media Resources

Dateline Staff, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu

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