DENVER — Five Denver police officers were awarded for going above and beyond their police duties to help others Wednesday morning.
Citizens Appreciate Police (CAP), a nonprofit formed in 1978 to recognize Denver officers who service the public outside the call of duty, has awarded more than 400 officers with the CAP Award.
On Wednesday, these officers became the newest additions to that list:
- Jerami Chavez was nominated by his supervisor. On Dec. 16, 2017, Chavez was dispatched to a report of suspicious items. He spoke with the reporting party, who said she had stood in line for four hours at a toy drive in hopes of getting a Christmas gift for her son. When she got home, she realized the items were soiled and riddled with holes. The woman told Chavez she was facing difficulties — she was unemployed, her mother was ill, she was relying on food banks and her funds were very limited. Using his own money, Chavez went to a local shopping center and purchased Christmas gifts — some clothes and a basketball — for the woman’s son. He also bought notebooks and other school supplies for the woman, who had said she was trying to finish her degree.
- Sean Cronin and Matt Dane were nominated by their supervisor. On May 16, they were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on a Vietnam veteran who served as a combat medic in the Air Force. The officers learned while talking with him that he had severe depression because of his health problems. They called an ambulance for him so he could be taken to the hospital and evaluated. After the man was transported, the officers borrowed a lawnmower from a neighbor and mowed the man’s front and back yard. Dane contacted a friend who worked in landscaping and paid him to finish trimming and picking up the grass, trash and debris in the yard. They also purchased a new American flag to replace the old one the man hung outside his home.
- Monica DeOssie was nominated by a nurse with Visiting Angels who cares for a 98-year-old woman named Helen. DeOssie and Helen were old neighbors who became friends. Helen and her husband, who had dementia, had no family in Colorado. DeOssie would visit with her wife and help them with chores around the home. They made a point to include Helen in their lives when her husband passed away in 2016. DeOssie and her wife hired Visiting Angels to help keep Helen company. Helen is included in their family dinners, birthdays, holidays and their wedding.
- Gregory Lee was nominated by a community member and a supervisor. On Aug. 15, Lee was dispatched to a call of theft from a motor vehicle. The elderly caller said suspects had stolen a gas can and jumper cables from his truck, but ultimately declined to file a police report. After the call, Lee drove to a nearby auto parts store to buy the items for the man. The store cashier asked Lee what the items were for and Lee described the situation. After Lee left the store, Oscar forwarded the interaction to the Office of the Independent Monitor to thank the officer.
"Nothing makes me prouder to be a Denver police officer than hearing stories of officers, out of the kindness of their hearts, making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve," said Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen. "I thank these officers for their selflessness and generosity, and thank the Citizens Appreciate Police board for bringing awareness to these types of stories that often escape the public spotlight."
The CAP board, consisting of 16 citizen volunteers, meets four times a year to review nominations, select recipients and present awards. Each award winner receives a pin that is worn on the officer's uniform, and a plaque.
Nominations for the CAP Award come primarily from letters to from private citizens applauding officers for their actions while either on or off duty. Nomination letters should be sent to Chief Pazen at Citizens Appreciate Police, 1331 Cherokee St, Denver, CO 80204, Attn: Chief of Police Office. Nominations can also be emailed directly to the CAP board at CAPBoardDenver@gmail.com .