Detective James Stenger, who takes the lead on some of Antioch’s most grisly crimes, was fêted as the Officer of the Year. Acting Lt. Diane Aguinaga noted that other officers look up to Stenger, who gives his all to get the job done.
“It’s a taxing position; it’s a very difficult and time-consuming position,” Aguinaga said. “He always makes himself available.”
Stenger has been a member of the Antioch Police Department for roughly 10 years. Motivated to join the police force after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Stenger started off on patrol, then joined the Police And Community Together team, which worked proactively to fight crime. Since January of 2010, Stenger has been a detective in the violent crimes bureau.
“For me, it was just a great honor,” said Stenger, who was voted Officer of the Year by his peers. “I was completely surprised and honored.”
The department also honored two officers who put their lives on the line to help out a man trapped under his car after it overturned. Officers Adrian Gonzalez and Martin Hynes were given the Life Saving Award for their efforts in a November car accident.
The two men responded to the accident on Deer Valley Road to find that a car had rolled over. The vehicle’s driver had been flung from the car and trapped under it. In addition to being crushed under the weight of the vehicle, the man was also being burned by exhaust.
Officers Gonzalez and Hynes, along with paramedics and a Brentwood Community Service officer, lifted the car off the man so he could be removed.
“They just did what needed to be done to save that man from further injuries,” Capt. Steve McConnell said. “They were deserving of that award.”
Other awards: Civilian Employee of the Year – Ashley Lehman; Citizen Service Citation – William Cook; Meritorious Service Award – Monika Helgemo, Andrea Sutherland, Alicia Pato, Ada Romero, Gabby Johnson and Marie Guerrero; Animal Services Bureau Awards – Lori Haywood, Christina Garcia and Matthew Urias; Meritorious Service Award – Officer Matthew Koch, Officer Wardell Carter, Officer Brian Rose, Officer Richard Martin, Officer John Fortner, Officer James Colley, Officer Robert Meads, Officer Kathleen Lopez, Officer Eric Johnsen, Officer Loren Bledsoe, Officer Adrian Gonzalez and Officer Rick Hoffman; Medal of Valor – Officer Steve Aiello, Detective Michael Mellone, Detective James Stenger, Detective Desmond Bittner, Detective Michael Mortimer, Detective Jimmy Wisecarver and Detective Joshua Vincelet.
Visit the Antioch Police Department’s Facebook page for a photo gallery of the awards ceremony at www.facebook.com/antiochpolice.