Public Safety officials honor Officer, Firefighter of the year

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Aaron Mendoza was named the 2021 Firefighter of the year. Kyle Shadman was named the 2021 Police Officer of the Year. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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Public Safety and City officials gathered on Friday to honor top personnel and to celebrate the achievements of Winters public safety teams in 2021.

“Our police officers, firefighters and support staff have risen to the challenge, and remain focused on delivering exceptional service to our community here in Winters, as well as the communities throughout California,” Police Chief John P. Miller  said in his opening remarks.

Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez said the pandemic changed the way that public safety officials and first responders interacted with the community in 2021.

However, Winters Fire Department didn’t let the challenges that COVID presented prevent them from providing service to Winters or other areas of the state in need to support.

Lopez recognized volunteer reserve firefighter Aaron Mendoza as the 2021 Firefighter of the Year.

Mendoza joined Winters Fire as a Winters High School student in 2018.

Mendoza became a resident firefighter after graduation from WHS and attended the Solano Fire Academy and graduated in 2020.

Lopez said Mendoza recently filled the critical role of driver-operator at Winters Fire, and continues to build upon his leadership role by mentoring incoming volunteers.

“I have personally watched this person grow from a little boy to the young man he is today,” Lopez said. “I believe his character, qualities and determination is a testament to his parents.”

Lopez gave recognition to the Winters Volunteer Reserve Firefighters noting they work shifts of 12 or 24 hours. He said there were four notable volunteer reserve firefighters who “committed a tremendous amount of hours in volunteering for shifts” in 2021.

He gave honors to the following top performing volunteer reserve firefighters: Miguel Zaragoza (2,663 hours), Mendoza (1,392 hours), Cameron Simental (1,306 hours) and Kitsia Pelayo (1,297 hours).

Miller named Officer Kyle Shadman as the 2021 Officer of the Year.

Shadman’s peers noted he was dependable and worked additional days to assist fellow officers. In 2021, Shadman took the lead with Officer Gordon Brown of the Winters PD’s annual Shop with a Cop program.

Shadman joined Winters PD in November 2020. Prior to becoming a police officer, Shadman has owned and managed assisted living facilities for developmentally disabled adults with his wife since 2015.

Ofc. Shadman graduated from the San Joaquin Delta College Police Academy in March 2020.

Miller awarded Sergeant Jose Hermosillo a Meritorious Service Ribbon — which is awarded to personnel who have demonstrated initiative, diligence and perseverance in accomplishing duties or tasks in an exemplary manner in the  law enforcement profession.

In 2021, Hermosillo showed initiative by drafting a grant proposal for the California Highway Patrol cannabis tax fund grant program.  Miller said the grant was made to assist in enhancing an agency’s efforts for “driving under the influence” enforcement.

In 2020, Winters had three fatal driving under the influence collisions within city limits.

Hermosillo drafted the grant proposal and included the purchase and outfitting of a dedicated DUI enforcement vehicle for Winters PD, and additional training for officers.

The Winters PD received a grant totaling $106,643.

Hermosillo was tasked with administering overseeing execution of the grant, and an additional Office of Traffic Safety selective traffic enforcement grant totaling $50K. 

Miller said Hermosillo’s efforts of oversight for both grants include “countless hours” to communicate and coordinate with multiple state agencies.

“Sergeant Hermosillo’s efforts have demonstrated initiative, diligence and brought acclaim to not only himself, but to our department —  making him a worthy recipient of the Winters Police Department Meritorious Service Ribbon,” Miller said.

Miller also awarded Catherine Bernstein, Coordinator of the Davis Trauma and Grief Support, the Winters PD Meritorious Service Ribbon.

Miller said Bernstein was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Winters TAGS program. The TAGS program is a secular program created by Bernstein, and is intended to provide support to fire and police responders by assisting on scene and with secondary victims and witnesses experiencing grief and trauma.

According to Miller, Bernstein assisted the Winters TAGS program in  during the transition Officer Robert Duval and K-9 Kepi’s retirement in 2017.

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