Early one Sunday morning this past summer, 60 head of cattle broke through a pen gate and wandered close to Brooks Road, posing a hazard for unsuspecting joggers or motorists, as well as the cows themselves.
Campus operator Bruce Boles got right on the scene.
For Boles, who provides emergency campus facilities response, the situation wasn't a big deal. He was familiar with the ways of large animals. Growing up, his family farmed and raised thoroughbreds. These cattle, which belonged to the animal science department, would be no problem.
"I just walked behind them saying, 'hee-yup, come on now,'" Boles said. Soon, the cattle stomped back to their pen.
Meanwhile, Officer Rosellyn Matranga looked on from her patrol car in amazement. "She couldn't believe I was so calm," Boles said.
Over the years he has corraled horses, repaired animal pens and reported suspicious people on campus.
10 honored for vigilance
For their vigilance over the past year, Boles and 10 other campus employees and students were honored last week by the UC Davis Police Department during its eighth annual Citizens Appreciation Ceremony.
Like many of the honorees, Boles says he was just doing his job. "I do a lot for everybody. It's position of an operator," he said. "It's a service we provide to the campus to be there."
Boles was nominated for the citizen's award by Matranga and Officer Ruben Arias. Though he has been teased mercilessly about the award (one co-worker growled into his radio during a Dateline interview), Boles said he was glad for one thing: recognition of the responsibilities of all operators. They work swing shifts to provide johnny-on-the-spot coverage for facilities emergencies.
Despite the recipients' modesty, their efforts are appreciated, said UC Davis Police Chief Calvin Handy. Whether it was alerting authorities to a suspicious person on campus or using medical skills to help save a life, all of the honorees play an important role in helping the Police Department do its job.
"It's a great thing to stop and recognize these people on an annual basis for what they do," Handy said.
Also at the reception, Officer Bruce Davidson received the Officer of the Year award.
Other citizen awards recipients were honored for the roles they played in the following incidents.
As an emergency room physician, Gary Roberts has treated patients arriving at UC Davis Medical Center after intentionally overdosing on drugs. He talks to the patients about why they want to end their life and helps them get treatment.
Last summer, he used his skills in aiding police coax a suicidal man down from the fourth floor of the medical center parking garage. Roberts, who perched along a retaining wall with the man, talked to him about the voices that were telling him to jump.
"The thing that I said that was probably most effective -- because this was July -- 'It's really hot out here. Why don't we go inside and talk about this.'"
The two went down to the emergency room. The man was medicated and sent to the Sacramento County Department of Mental Health for further evaluation.
Sgt. John Peterson recognized Roberts.
Roberts said he was glad to be able to help police in this one instance. He hoped that they would be recognized more for their regular efforts.
"The cops do this kind of thing every day," Roberts said. "They really need a pat on the back."
Will Davis, Amy Barrett and Nigel Allan
Teaching Resource Center analyst Will Davis, student Amy Barrett, and professor of environmental design Nigel Allan were honored for their team effort in coming to the aid of a graduate student who suffered a heart attack.
Allan, Davis and Barrett, who had days before taken a CPR class, started chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the student. Allan, who had been one of the first on the scene, also provided details of the situation to the police.
Davis sprung into action after thinking of his son, only a few years younger than the student, he said.
"If it were my son there, I would hope someone would take the initiative," Davis said. "It would have been easy to sit there and wait for help."
Officer John Jones nominated the trio, noting that Davis and Barrett were performing CPR so well, that he did not feel the need to intervene. The student, however, did die.
Barrett, a fourth-year biosystems engineering student, said she is now taking classes to be certified as an emergency medical technician.
Medical Center employee Mary Gannon made a call to campus police after spotting a man hiding in the bushes at the nearby DeVille Motel.
After campus police talked to the Sacramento Police Department, officers found that the man had earlier been spotted on the roof of a nearby home. He was wanted in connection with an assault earlier that day at McKinley Park.
After a foot chase by campus police, the man, a parolee, was caught and arrested.
Gannon, who works in nursing recruitment, was lauded by Sgt. David Robinson for her role in the suspect's arrest.
University Extension cashier Kris Hornof was honored for her work in tracking down a student paying for courses on-line using another person's credit card. The student had paid for two courses using his own credit, and then registered for others using the other account.
Hornof noticed the discrepancy and called police. Officer John Jones nominated her for recognition.
Grounds Manager Sal Genito was honored for his longtime commitment to keeping campus safe for motorists and pedestrians. He's worked closely with police to deter skateboarding, have bushes trimmed to make intersections safer and had pedestrian crossings striped.
"He's always been so responsive," Handy said. "Sal has a great concern for traffic safety."
Lawrence and Christina White
Lawrence White, a manager of the Medical Center's Ronald McDonald House, chased down a man trying to steal his family's red Ford Thunderbird parked in the house lot. White followed the car for several blocks, bringing the situation to the attention of the officers on duty. Officer Lisa Black nominated the Whites.
Student Kara Janiga was recognized for similar bravado in confronting a man following her in a truck as she roller-bladed through campus.
The man, who was also trying to expose himself to Janiga, became frightened when she turned back to confront him. He drove away, and Janiga called the police department with a description of the truck. The suspect was quickly arrested.
Officer Clarence Styers nominated Janiga.
Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, email@example.com