Rocklin PD members honored for service

Placer County Law Enforcement awards ceremony recognizes dedication
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Four of Rocklin’s law enforcement personnel were honored last week for going above and beyond the call of duty in ensuring residents’ safety.

Rocklin Police Officers Mike Gandy and Melissa Murphy, Dispatcher Michelle Buckland and volunteer Rebecca Kanowsky were honored at the Placer County Law Enforcement Agencies Honors and Awards ceremony, held Nov. 8 at Destiny Church and hosted by the Rocklin Police Department.

Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence praised all law enforcement agencies in Placer County, saying that they all work together to keep our county safe.

“It’s a very collaborative effort, and it’s a wonderful model for others in the state to follow,” he said.

The keynote speaker for the event was retired Sacramento County Sheriff John McGuiness, who remarked on the bravery of all people involved in law enforcement.

“It is honestly a profound honor and privilege to be here tonight – an honor to be in the company of heroes,” he said, adding, “They’re willing to insert themselves directly in harm’s way, with no regard to their personal safety, in order to protect others – oftentimes others who they don’t even know.”

The event was emceed by Bob Hilton, noted for his voice work on several television game shows including “Let’s Make a Deal” and “Truth or Consequences,” who introduced each law enforcement agency and the people receiving awards.

Gandy and Murphy received the Life Saving Effort Award for their actions on Dec. 30, 2011, when they were dispatched to a call about an unresponsive person. The officers arrived on-scene to find a person without a pulse. There were other individuals in the house who were suspected of illegal drug use, so while Murphy watched out for Gandy, he administered CPR for three minutes until he felt a pulse. All the while, Murphy was coordinating radio traffic for medical personnel, who arrived and took the subject to the hospital.

“Officer Gandy’s efforts in this incident helped revive a person who did not have a pulse, while Murphy remained vigilant and coordinated efforts,” the award description reads. “Had it not been for efforts of Officers Gandy and Murphy, the subject would not have received emergency medical treatment for at least several minutes, which may have resulted in his death.”

Buckland was honored with the Distinguished Service Commendation for her service on Aug. 12, 2011, when Lincoln 911 dispatchers received a call from a man who said he had just shot and killed his wife and was going to kill himself. Officers responded to the Lincoln home, and heard a gunshot from inside the house. The home was surrounded, Rocklin police and the Placer County SWAT responded to assist, and after several hours entry was made and officers found the husband and wife dead of gunshot wounds in an apparent murder/suicide.

Buckland was working for Rocklin 911 when this occurred, and when her shift was over the event was ongoing. She decided to stop by the Lincoln 911 dispatch to offer her assistance, knowing only one dispatcher was staffed at the time. She assisted the dispatcher, taking 911 calls and helping manage the incident.

“This dedication and willingness to assist another law enforcement agency is time of crisis goes above and beyond the call of duty,” the award reads. “Buckland took it upon herself to do the right thing and offer her unsolicited advice and expertise for the greater good of maintaining peace and order to a neighboring community.”

Kanowsky earned the Volunteer Recognition of Service for her more than 2,800 hours of volunteer service. She has been with the Rocklin PD since 2006, and in 2011 amassed 1,106 hours of service, becoming the first Rocklin Police and Fire volunteer to ever donate more than 1,000 hours in a year.

Kanowsky’s service to the department includes overseeing the child identification and child safety programs, building a program that has fingerprinted, photographed and prepared safety packets for more than 7,000 children. She also leads several fundraising projects, including Rocklin Patriot Day. In 2010-2011, she organized an event that raised more than $24,000 to purchase, train and feed a new Rocklin police K-9. She also serves as president of the Rocklin Public Safety Volunteers, a group she helped organize that is committed to supporting law enforcement and public safety here.

“Mrs. Kanowsky is well-liked and respected by the volunteer staff and paid employees,” the award reads. “She is a pleasure to work with, has a great sense of humor and an incredible work ethic. Her tireless efforts and dedication to the Rocklin Police Department make her someone who is very deserving of special recognition.”

Kanowsky said she joined the volunteer force just before retiring, and was surprised by just how many jobs there are for volunteers to do. She had always volunteered in some form throughout her career, she said, but found a special home with the Rocklin PD.

“I have never felt this appreciated, any place,” she said. “It’s really amazing.”

“It always make a police chief proud to recognize the heroic work of our staff,” Lawrence said. “I am very proud of them.”

Last year, Lawrence said, there were 500,000 calls for service countywide. At the PLEA ceremony, responders to 14 of those calls were recognized.

“Out of those half a million officer-initiated and calls for service events that happened in Placer County, I can tell you this: There were many, many more acts of heroism, bravery and acts of courage that you and I will never, ever hear about,” Lawrence said. “Because the law enforcement of Placer County are humble … they do it’s because it’s their calling. It’s a noble calling. They do it because it’s God’s work, and they are pleased to do it.”



Placer County Law Enforcement Agencies Honors and Awards 2012

Rocklin Police Department

Officers Mike Gandy and Melissa Murphy – Life Saving Effort Award

Dispatcher Michelle Buckland – Distinguished Service Commendation

Volunteer Rebecca Kanowsky – Volunteer Recognition of Service


Auburn Police Department

Officer Richard Blanco – Bronze Medal of Honor

Officer Joe Almeida – Life Saving Effort Award

Officer Chris Forman – Bronze Medal of Honor

Detective Dave Neher – Life Saving Effort Award

Volunteers Dave Albright, Fred Canning, Bill Chelonis, Ailene Cole, Steve Koltvet and Paula Leahy – Volunteer Recognition of Service


Placer County Sheriff’s Office (Joint Award)

Auburn Police Officer Chris Forman and Sheriff’s Office Lt. Andrew Scott – Life Saving Effort Award


Placer County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies Van Bogardus, Ashley Smentek and Josh Shelton – Bronze Medal of Honor


Placer County Sheriff’s Office and California Highway Patrol (Joint Award)

Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Poiesz, CHP Officer Jeff Bosnich and K-9 Partner Eros – Distinguished Service Commendation


Roseville Police Department

Reserve Office Tom Wright – Volunteer Recognition of Service

Officer Jed O’Rourke – Mark White Memorial Award


Lincoln Police Department

Dispatcher Terri Leedy – Distinguished Service Commendation


Chaplain’s Award

Roseville Police Department Records Clerk Ashley Gilleland