After a long delay, The University of Texas Police at Houston transitioned it's annual awards event to an online celebration. The awards had been presented during National Police Week in May, where employees and their families, as well as members of the community, were invited to the Annual Promotions and Awards Ceremony to celebrate the department's achievements.
This year, the first part of the awards was celebrated virtually during the department’s monthly town hall meeting held Wednesday, Oct. 28. Among the awards announced included the Medal of Valor to Officer Alondra Jones.
The community is invited to join in celebrating the first round of recipients by viewing the video celebrating the ODOP award recipients for team efforts.
“Due to Covid-19 the award ceremony has to look a bit different than we’re used to,” said UT Police Chief William Adcox to staff attending the Zoom event. “We could not let this year end without shining a light on all of your accomplishments, your promotions, your higher education and other external awards you’ve received over the past year."
The October town hall was the setting for the first of three virtual announcements recognizing recipients of Office of the Department of Police (ODOP) awards where teams were involved in the incident or recognition. The November and December events will recognize Of The Year awards, external awards and acknowledge promotions that occurred during the prior year.
Those receiving awards include Lead Police Telecommunicators Kelvin Ard and Monica Crist, and Senior Police Telecommunicators Verdia Boyce and Ashley DuRee, who were presented the ODOP Humanitarian Award for giving assistance to an MD Anderson employee who was left awaiting hours for a tow truck on a hot, Houston day.
For their participation in rescuing Houston residents during the high water event brought on by Tropical Storm Imelda, Officer Carlos Guzman, Sergeant Brodie Riner, Public Safety Officer Rolando Torres, Electronic Security Design Specialist Charles Simmons, and Asset Technician Jonathan Jackson were each awarded a Life Saving Medal.
Captain Michael Redmond and Lieutenant Gaudencio Arenas were presented Humanitarian Awards for their compassion toward a homeless man.
For their response to an incident with a man wielding a knife outside of the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center, Officer Alondra Jones was awarded the Medal of Valor for her use of de-escalation tactics and compassion toward an armed mental health consumer. For the same incident, Lieutenant Eduardo Rodriguez, Sergeants Darnell Bratton and Jimmie Jones, and Officer Thomas Laburt were each awarded a Police Commendation Medal.