The Houston Independent School District Police Department gathered Tuesday to celebrate the outstanding customer service and achievements of officers and personnel during their 21st Annual Awards Luncheon.
Each year, a committee consisting of both sworn and civilian members reviews the nominations submitted by the law enforcement agency. The committee selects the recipients for all but one of the awards.
“These individuals have exhibited courage, innovation, tenacity, leadership, and value the importance of community service and teamwork,” HISD Police Chief Paul Cordova said during the event held at the Federal Reserve Bank Houston Branch.
The event highlighted the work of officers who go above and beyond in their daily duties. Those gathered for the luncheon thanked the officers for their commitment to the job.
“You are the unsung heroes of our district,” HISD Business Operations Officer Eugene Salazar said.
HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said there is no greater sacrifice than the job of a police officer.
“You protect our most precious resource — our students,” Skillern-Jones said. “When I send my child to school, I know he’s safe. For that, I thank you.”
During the ceremony, the Chief’s Eagle Award was given to Detective Hector Gonzalez. This is the only award whose recipient is chosen solely by the police chief.
Last year, Gonzalez single-handedly addressed cybercrime, solving 250 threats received on social media. Gonzales, who joined the district 20 years ago and has held his current position for more than two years, said he was pleasantly surprised when his name was announced.
“This is an award we all look forward to getting,” Gonzalez said. “It only happens once a year so it’s a great privilege.”
This year’s award recipients also include:
• Outstanding Service Award: Janice Lakey
• Crossing Guard of the Year: Joann Mamie Chavira
• Dispatcher of the Year: Deborah Miranda
• Support Services Employee of the Year: Janet Villamater
• Supervisor of the Year (Civilian): Michelle Dixon
• Supervisor of the Year (Sworn): Sgt. Karl Brown
• Rookie of the Year: Officer Christopher McIntosh
• Campus Officer of the Year: Officer Mark Atkinson
• Life Saving Award: Officer James Cavitt
• Unit Citation Award: Gang and Investigations Unit