Officer of the Month for April 2013
Officer Derek Tirado
Officer Tirado works the Oaks Mall and is a very proactive Officer. Frequently the Oaks Mall Officer’s efforts are not often recognized, even though this zone can be one of the busiest areas in the agency. Officer Tirado takes this zone responsibility seriously and he consistently does a terrific job. He has made contacts with many businesses, employees and the community to protect assets and lives. He proactively has monthly meetings with the loss prevention Officers from many different stores to keep the communication flowing so that crime can be thwarted more easily.
During this last month he has had several terrific impacts on credit card crimes involving organized groups working these crimes. This is in part due to the cooperation and relationships between store personnel and Officer Tirado. During the last month he has completed thirteen investigations resulting in 20 different arrests and/or sworn complaints ranging from retail theft, Grand Theft, Trespass After Warning, Probation Violations, Resisting a Merchant, Scheme to Defraud, Use of a countermeasure device, Use of a Re-encoder to Defraud, Trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, Possession of credit card making equipment and Receipt of money / or goods obtained by fraudulent use of a credit card.
There are two specific cases I’d like to expound upon for this Officer of the month nomination.
The first case I’d like to share is when Officer Tirado responded to Victoria's Secret. He was advised by security that two hispanic males had attempted to use credit cards for gift cards in the amount of $200.00 but were subsequently declined. Within a few minutes the suspects entered Belks Dept Store and Ofc Tirado responded and watched the suspects via a video monitor in the LP Office. He had prior knowledge of fraudulent credit card usage with hispanic males buying gift cards from Walgreens on an earlier occasion. These suspects matched the description of the Walgreens suspects.
Officer Tirado detained the suspects when they used another credit card that would not swipe but when manually entered it went through for the amount of $462.16. A fictitious photo ID was located by Ofc Nicoloff in the name of Yordany;s Gonsalez. Ofc Tirado then contacted Victoria's Secret and learned that the suspects had attempted to use credit cards for the amount of $200.00 for gift cards but the cards would not read on the card reader. The suspects became nervous when asked for Identification and left the store. Ofc Tirado then contacted Express where he learned the same suspects entered and purchased $549.77 worth of merchandise on a Visa credit card. Ofc Tirado then contacted Solstice where it was determined that the same suspects had purchased $1362.10 buying sunglasses with the same fraudulent credit cards.
Once Ofc Tirado returned to Belks Officer Nicoloff had determined that the credit cards used had been verified as fraudulent via the credit card company. The suspects were transported to CID for Detective Decastro for a more thorough investigation. Upon arriving at CID the backseat was searched and another Fl fraudulent DL was located under the backseat of the police transport vehicle with the name of Luis Sanabria. Suspects real names were Boris Betancourt-Hernandez 03-04-86 and Yoandy Dedeno-Pena 12-03-82. Both suspects invoked their right to counsel and refused to cooperate with interviews.
Ofc Nicoloff located a car key to an Infiniti vehicle and the Oaks Mall security located the vehicle in the south lot of JC Penney and a laptop and two credit cards with bags of merchandise were readily visible in the vehicle. A receipt was also located on one of the suspects for the amount of $1076.90 from Kay Jewelers in Ocala which was also determined to be another fraudulent transaction.
An inventory search of the vehicle was conducted and a re-encoder/programming machine was located with six additional counterfeit credit cards and a computer that was locked by a password. A subsequent search warrant was obtained for the computer by Detective DeCastro and the results of the search are still pending. Charges to the suspects were Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, Scheme to Defraud, Possession of a Fictitious DL and Possession of a Counterfeit Credit Card. Pending charges from the S.A. Office include Use of a Re-encoder to Defraud, Trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, Possession of credit card making equipment and Receipt of money / or goods obtained by fraudulent use of a credit card. This was a terrific investigation that ended up taking two suspects to jail and the computer information might provide even more information for a more significant investigation to occur.
Specialty Unit Officer of the Month for January 2013
Ofc Jason Rarey
Officer Rarey is a tireless worker for NSCU. He ended September and started October working with the Southwest Command Post during the search for Christian Aguilar. He spent 14 days in a row, scouring county roads and thick woods in an effort to find Aguilar or any evidence of the crime. Officer Rarey was given the toughest assignments and always accepted them with a smile. Lt A. Adkins (Incident Commander) and Sgt J. Kurnick (Volunteer Coordinator) will attest to this.
Once the search ended, the team was reassigned to begin working residential burglaries. Officer Rarey jumped right in. He accepted his new challenge willingly and with excitement. Officer Rarey began chasing down leads and assisting others with complex burglary investigations.
Officer Rarey took the lead on two residential burglaries off of NW 55th Blvd. His due diligence paid off. The suspect tried to pawn a laptop in Ocala. Follow-up was conducted and Officer Rarey learned Davonta McNair was implicated. Ofc Rarey, along with team members, worked to track down McNair and his girlfriend. Ofc Rarey finally interviewed the girlfriend in Ocala and tied her into a burglary and some pawns. He worked to track other unreported pawns down which further ties her into some burglaries. Using this, he obtained a warrant for her arrest. He passed his intel onto Ocala PD, who eventually located both the McNair and his girlfriend in Ocala. He immediately went down to Marion County to interview McNair. With Ofc Rivera, they obtained a confession and co-def info. This ultimately led to the arrest of Travis Ivey. Ivey then confessed. This led the clearance of at least 4-5 residential burglaries and the recovery of a lot of victims’ property.
Supervisor of the Quarter
Sergeant Barry Kays
On August 24th, 2012, the Valuri family endured an extremely scary incident that would have undoubtedly ended quite differently, had it not been for Sergeant Barry Kays. Angelina Valuri received a telephone call from her (future) Father-In-Law, who told her that his 37 year old daughter had left home early in the morning, after she became distraught about child custody issues she was having with her ex-husband. No one had heard or seen from her Sister-In-Law for the remainder of the day, with the exception of a single text message she had sent out to her family that said, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please take care of my kids.” Upon receiving this text message, Valuri’s fiancé immediately tried to call his sister and surprisingly, she picked up her cell phone.
Unfortunately, all her fiancé could hear on the open phone line was heavy breathing and some slight moaning. Eventually, the line went silent and he could no longer hear his sister being responsive. After receiving this information, Valuri immediately contacted the Kenner Police Department (in Louisiana) and she requested to speak with a supervisor. After explaining to the Kenner PD that Valuri believed her Sister-In-Law had done something to harm herself, Valuri demanded that they “ping” her cell phone, due to that fact that the situation had literally become a matter of life or death. Unbelievably, she was told that none of their patrol officers were familiar with the process and that they were going to have to call out a Detective, in order to fulfill her request.
Knowing that she didn’t have much time to waste, Valuri quickly contacted the GPD Shift Commander, Sergeant Barry Kays. Sgt. Kays patiently listened to her as she explained the entire set of circumstances surrounding her Sister-In-Law’s disappearance. Without hesitation, he offered to help. Sgt. Kays agreed to process the paperwork required to “ping” her Sister-In-Law’s cell phone, in an effort to obtain her exact location. Not only did he drive to CCC to pick up the necessary forms, he filled them out and faxed them over to Sprint. A few moments later, Sgt. Kays was able to receive the longitude and latitude coordinates of where the cell phone had “pinged.” He then accessed the Google Map website and in doing so, he was able to determine that the phone was located near an exit off of I-10, in the town of Gonzalez, Louisiana. (This location is over an hour away from where her Sister-In-Law lives.) Valuri notified the Kenner PD about the information that Sgt. Kays had obtained. This information was immediately passed along to the Gonzalez Police Department. Their patrol officers were able to locate her Sister-In-Law’s vehicle in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express.
They verified that her Sister-In-Law had checked herself into the hotel, however; they were unable to get a response at the door of her room. After forcing entry, her Sister-In-Law was located on the floor, completely unconscious and unresponsive. She was surrounded by numerous empty bottles of prescription pills, along with several bottles of alcohol. EMS rushed her to the local hospital and subsequently, she remained in a coma for two days. Her medical status required her to stay in ICU for a total of six days. Only recently was she finally able to be transported to a mental health facility. The attending physicians at the hospital told her family that it was one of the most serious suicide attempts they had ever seen a person survive.
Saying the words “thank you” to Sgt. Kays is truly not enough to express the gratitude and appreciation the family feel towards him. Without his critical involvement and his quick actions during this incident, Valuri’s Sister-In-Law would not be alive today. Sgt. Kays represents all of the qualities that every employee at the Gainesville Police Department should have. Professionalism, honor, integrity,and most importantly, altruism.
Officer of the Year for 2012
Officer Paul Forsberg
During 2012, Officer Paul Forsberg exemplified the great work done by the Gainesville Police Department in many ways. He was routinely looked to as a guide and a mentor on Shift 1 by younger officers, by his supervisors and peers. Ofc. Forsberg brought an abundance of knowledge and experience to Shift 1 and regularly shared this with others through mentoring.
Despite having 30 years police experience, Ofc. Forsberg demonstrated zeal and productivity on many occasions. Below are a few examples of the many great things Ofc. Forsberg did in 2012:
- In February Ofc Forsberg contacted a suspicious person at 1921 SW 8th Dr which led to 5 burglaries being solved and a stolen gun getting recovered.
- In February Ofc. Forsberg contacted a suspicious person in zone D which had been plagued with residential burglaries. This person confessed to having just committed a burglary.
- Ofc. Forsberg was selected as officer of the month after coordinating with detectives and locating numerous wanted subjects with their assistance.
- In August Ofc. Forsberg located an arrested a subject wanted in connection with numerous burglaries at 200 NE 11th St. This subject is now facing 25 years in prison.
- In October, Ofc. Forsberg was on the periphery of a burglary call at 1400 NW 6th Pl when he recalled that a similar burglary method had been used by a subject about 2 years prior. Ofc. Forsberg provided the name of the subject to investigators which led to the subject’s arrest.
- In December, Ofc. Forsberg responded to a deadly force call involving a junior member of the department, Ofc. Perez. Ofc. Perez had been working closely with Ofc. Forsberg regularly and Ofc Forsberg was able to provide advice and mentoring to Ofc. Perez as he faced the investigative process after this call.
This list is not exhaustive...
Anyone who had the fortune to work with Ofc. Forsberg during the last year will attest to the fact that he is a leader and a great asset to the Gainesville Police Department and the citizens we serve.