San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli promoted seven people and recognized other special achievements, including giving the department's officer of the year award to Patrolman Neil Goodman.
"If you are a suspect you do not want to get interviewed by Neil," Spagnoli told more 200 people who attended the ceremony Thursday afternoon at the San Leandro Senior Center. "He gets confessions all the time."
Asked for his secret, Goodman said he tries to learn a little about each suspect.
"I try to be a good listener and to be fair," he said. "People want to tell their stories."
The event was attended by police chiefs from Alameda, Union City, Livermore and Folsom, along with many city officials in addition to the families of the officers involved and a handful of civilians who got awards.
- Captain Edward Tracey, who moved over to San Leandro after holding the same rank in Oakland, becoming the first outsider to become a captain here;
- Lieutenant Randall Brandt, who comes from a family with a police tradition and who has won medals in competitions for police skills;
- Lieutenant Richard DeCosta, a San Leandro native who played shortstop for San Leandro High School;
- Sergeant Isaac Benabou, who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice;
- Sergeant Annie O'Callaghan, whose badge was pinned on by her husband, SLPD Sergeant Mike Sobek;
- Police Officer Calvin Watson, who joined SLPD after working in San Jose; and
- Karine Manookian, an immigrant from Iran who speaks several languages, and who will be a police dispatcher.
These officers were sworn in by City Clerk Marian Handa.
Other recognitions or awards were issued to:
- Officers James Moss and Shane Nelson, who excelled at recovering stolen cars, which are plucked off the streets of San Leandro at an average rate of 1.5 a day;
- Officers Jonatham Remulla and Joshua Brum, who received standing ovations for their respective acts of and out the way of an onrushing train;
- Officer Louie Brandt, who led the effort to purchase bicycles and helmets for needy kids (FYI, there is a Bikes for Tykes spaghetti feed fundraiser Saturday night);
Spagnoli also thanked the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association for donating equipment to the K-9 unit and recognized Patricia Minnis, Gayle Hudson and Claudia McHenry for their work with Citizens for a Safer San Leandro.
In one emotional moment, audience members rose to applaud two residents of the Estudillo neighborhood who supplied police with video from their home surveillance system that led to in connection with the brutal rape on Bridge Road.