The 39th Annual H. Thomas Guerry Awards were held Thursday, May 29, recognizing local law enforcement officers for Valor and Superior Performance. The Santa Barbara Citizens’ Council on Crime, an organization made up of volunteers who help local law enforcement agencies honor their members, helped create this event to recognize officers’ outstanding performances.
Eight law enforcement officers were awarded with the Valor Performance Award and nine were awarded with the Superior Performance Award this year.
Corporal Robert Ortega and Corporal Frank Medina, from the Guadalupe Police Department were awarded with the Valor Award. They were commended for rescuing a homeless person from the Amtrak station after it was discovered that he lit the historic caboose on fire in an effort to stay warm.
From the Santa Barbara Police Department, Officer Michael Claytor, and Officer Kenneth Hushner were awarded with the Valor Award for protecting civilians from an armed intoxicated suspect. Sergeant Donald “Marty” Ensign and Officer Keld Kove were awarded with the same award for the restraint and patience they showed while distracting an armed suspect at the downtown Ralphs grocery store from harming anyone, including himself, until the SWAT Team showed up to take him into custody.
Senior Deputy Johnny Langehennig Jr. from Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department and Officer Eric Andreasen, from Lompoc Police Department received the Valor Award for saving a man suspected of carjacking and sexual assault and his intoxicated passenger from the burning car in which the suspect sped away from the police.
Recipients of the Superior Performance Award included Agent Milt Baldwin from the Lompoc Police Department, Officer Daniel Barba from the Santa Barbara division of the California Highway Patrol, Deputy D.A. Mary Barron from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Detective Jose Borrayo from the UCSB Police Department, Sr. Juvenile Institutions Officer Erin Cross from the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, Officer Ryan DeJohn from the Santa Barbara Police Department, Officer Steve Fulmer from the Buellton division of the California Highway Patrol, Commander Thomas Jenkins from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, and Officer Gary Steigler from the Santa Maria Police Department.
The H. Thomas Guerry Valor and Superior Performance Awards are given annually in honor of Santa Barbara City Police Officer H. Thomas Guerry, who died on January 3, 1970 at the age of 29 in the line of duty during an armed robbery near State and Ortega Streets.