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Police staff lauded

Citing DUI suspects, responding quickly and more help members of Newport department earn top honors from chief.

March 24, 2010|By Joseph Serna

As Newport Beach interim Police Chief Robert Luman said, you probably don’t want to meet Officer Tracy McKenzie while he’s on the job.

That’s because McKenzie’s good at what he does — finding impaired drivers.

McKenzie, who has been with the department since 1998, was named Tuesday morning as Officer of the Year at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 39th annual Police Appreciation Breakfast at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort.

McKenzie is the department’s designated DUI enforcement officer. His sole duty is patrolling the streets on busy nights to find people driving under the influence of intoxicants. He’s a complement to the regular patrols in the city and funding for his position comes from a six-month state grant.

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Being good at your job is one thing, but Luman described McKenzie as also a good person who shows initiative and dependability.

“He’s the consummate team player,” said Lt. Rob Morton.

The number of DUI citations McKenzie has issued was not immediately available Tuesday, a police spokesman said.

Lt. Craig Fox described McKenzie as a positive role model with a great attitude. The recognition adds to a growing list of accomplishments for the officer, who was previously an Orange County marshal. He’s also earned a merit award from his work with the department and is one of the department’s defensive tactics instructors.

Other go-to officers were also recognized for their contributions to the city.

Jonathan Sunshine was named Reserve Officer of the Year. Last year, he witnessed the hit-and-run crash that killed TapouT founder Charles “Mask” Lewis on Jamboree Road and called for assistance. Blocks away, police arrested Jeffrey David Kirby, the driver accused of causing Lewis to crash. Kirby has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter.

Josh Comte and Mike Fletcher were given lifesaving awards for their efforts during a home invasion robbery in Newport Coast. When a group of men forced their way into the home and tied up the nine or so people inside and began pistol-whipping some of them in December, Comte and Fletcher were among the first on scene.

Emergency medical responders later credited the two with sparing one of the victims who suffered head trauma from the blows from further injury.

Honorees

Lifesaving Awards

Jeff Perkins

Jennifer Allen and Adam Gilbert

Jonathan Jarema

Keith Krallman and Kristen O’Donnell

Josh Comte and Mike Fletcher

Merit Awards

Matt Wood and Sam Sa

Charlie Beswick

Jay Short, Dave Miner, Scott Smith, Glen Garrity, Michelle Shean, Don Gage and Keith Krallman

Volunteer of the Year

Lisa Murphy

Reserve Officer of the Year

Jonathan Sunshine

Civilian of the Year

Dispatcher Anne Donnelly

Supervisor of the Year

Sgt. John Freeman

Officer of the Year

Tracy McKenzie


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