Today we received a letter from Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper to all Oakland County chiefs of police reminding us that all sexual assault kits must be tested under a new law. I’m happy to report that we have no untested kits–this was true before the new law. We take this stuff seriously. But it reminded me that I have been remiss in not telling you about our Awards ceremony back in May. One of the aspects of the ceremony is a “Chief’s Award” that I give to a deserving member of our department whose work from the previous year was award worthy. This year I picked Property and Evidence Clerk Gloria Guy whose work for MANY years has been excellent. We don’t often recognize the work of our civilian staff but they do important jobs for us and make our place tick. Below I’ve copied portions of my speed about Gloria:
Every year the person receiving this award is carefully selected for their work as it relates to the mission and values of our Department.
The Auburn Hills Police Department’s Mission is to continually improve the safety and quality of life within our community, through a broad base of traditional and innovative services while protecting constitutional and basic human rights. All members of this department will at all times stand accountable for their conduct.
We enumerate several values one being: EMPLOYEES: We value all who demonstrate self-motivation, pride in work, performance, patience and a willingness to cooperate with others.
As you know, the Chief’s Award is mine alone and I determine its criteria but it is always related to our mission and values. Over the years I have chosen a variety of department members for this award. Each year I look at what has been achieved over the previous year or years. I look at what adds value to our organization and the community. This year I talked to Executive Command members and I thought carefully about whether I was overlooking important work that deserved recognition. Department members who did not make the headlines but made big impacts on department and our mission.
Internally we talk a great deal about giving value to the taxpayers for our salaries and benefits. We talk about the obligation we have to hold the guilty accountable; to protect the vulnerable, to secure property and to assure safe travel on our streets and highways. That mission has a lot of moving parts and many members contribute to getting the job done. The police officers are the most obvious among us in the eyes of the public as they go about service to the community.
However, there are folks in the background without whose contributions we could not achieve the mission in such an effective and efficient manner. Our civilian staff sometimes is overlooked.
This year’s award recipient is a long time employee. She contributes quietly every day in several ways and has done so for many years. When I arrived here in 1994 she was working in the tiny, crowded Records Bureau right outside my office. I could hear her meeting with the public at the window. At that point I was the deputy chief and when I became chief about 2 years later one of my bigger concerns was how we could improve our property and evidence function. We intake 1200-1500 pieces of property and evidence each year. These items must be cataloged, maintained according to type of evidence: blood evidence, sexual assault kits, guns, money, drugs a wide assortment of items to include the rock that broke the window on the property damage report. All kinds of things including hazardous waste and biohazardous items move through a police property room.
Therefore, this person was transferred to Property and Evidence as a civilian clerk with a goal of improving the situation. It is an extremely complex job. The law sets rules by which property must be disposed. Evidence must be maintained over long periods of time in a condition to retain its value to the case; other property must be returned to its rightful owner; all cases must be researched to determine the outcome of any items seized or given to us should be. She had to become an investigator herself. Most departments have sworn police officers as evidence custodians but why should we when we have such a competent civilian? Therefore, with the assistance of several Technical Services lieutenants, she worked and worked to improve our system and legally and ethically manage and dispose of all that stuff. And because I am such a stickler about the integrity of the property function, we called in an outside auditor about every 4 or 5 years to audit just this function. Moreover, he was REALLY a stickler (it was what I liked about him). Property audits are a rare thing in police property rooms – departments and cities sometimes choose to cut this cost. As a result police property rooms can become highly problematic as places rife with incompetence and even corruption. We are fortunate to have none of those problems over a very, very long period of time.
In addition to the audits the auditor taught classes in this region on the topic. And he was so impressed by our clerk and the condition and processes of our property room that he would suggest that departments call us to tour and learn what we do and how we do it. We always knew he was in town because of all the calls we got.
Although she has a full time job to manage the evidence room she also acts as a backup in our Records Bureau. In the past year that was more of a challenge due to a transfer and a medical leave which left her alone to manage Records and the evidence room. Through it all she remained her upbeat and friendly self under difficult circumstances. I never heard her complain.
A third role for us although not as frequent these days is that because she is a bi lingual person—she speaks fluent Spanish, we called on her to help us when we had criminals, witnesses or victims who could not speak English. For many years she served as a translator for officers on a variety of cases. This had huge value to us and to the individuals we were working with. It was not uncommon in those days for her to come in from off duty at all hours to perform this service.
By now the members of our department know that I am talking about Gloria Guy who was selected for this year’s Chief’s Award.
Without the dedication and excellent work of our support staff, we could not be as effective or efficient as we are in serving this community. You know, she had responded to the invitation to tonight’s dinner that she would not be attending but when Lt. McDonnell told her that we needed her help, she immediately changed her mind and agree to attend and help—that is Gloria.
The plaque to be awarded is entitled: “Excellence Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.”
Congratulations to Gloria Guy and to all of the award recipients. Thank you to our Awards committee: Lt. Jill McDonnell, PSO Stan Torres and Detective Jeramey Peters and to Elna who make this dinner possible. Thank you to City Council for joining us tonight and for your continued support of our mission in this community.
Thank you Gloria.