Police officer, firefighter honored

DOWNEY - Detective Javier Sanchez was honored as Downey Police Officer of the Year and Craig Petersen as Downey Firefighter of the Year by the American Legion Downey Post No. 270 at a pre-Memorial Day meeting Monday at the Rio Hondo Event Center.Sanchez began his career with the Downey Police Department in 1990 and in 2004, after serving 13 years as a patrol officer, earned his current assignment as a forgery/fraud investigator. He is the department's expert on crime relating to real estate fraud. "He is one of the most genuine people you would ever meet, and always puts the needs of others ahead of himself," said Police Chief Rick Esteves. "The expertise Javier has developed as a fraud investigator is a huge asset to the citizens of Downey. He is a tenacious detective that can always be counted on to conduct very thorough investigations." He and his wife, Maria, have been married for 18 years. They have three children. Sanchez is an active volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America and was recently selected as one of 12 persons in the Los Angeles area who will take 108 Boy Scouts to the 2013 Boy Scout National Jamboree in West Virginia. "His dedication to the department and the city of Downey is commendable and is appreciated by the citizens he assists on a daily basis," Esteves said. Petersen was born in Norwalk, raised in La Habra and was hired by the Downey Fire Department in 1981. He has been with the Downey Fire Department long enough that he has the title of being the first person to do a few things: In 1983, when the department purchased its first tiller aerial ladder truck, Petersen was the first firefighter certified tillerman. He was also involved in starting the Explorer Firefighter program and was the first explorer advisor. He was involved in the training of many explorers and participated in training at several Explorer Fire Academies that are held annually throughout California. Petersen has also volunteered for other responsibilities within the department. He maintained and purchased all station supplies for many years, was trained as a repair technician for the Scott SCBA air-packs and worked to make sure the packs were safe. He also doesn't hesitate to share his knowledge and experience with co-workers and new recruits going through the drill tower. Fire Chief Lonnie Croom said Petersen's experience as a firefighter "is extremely valuable to a young department with a large number of new firefighters." "There is no one better to have with you on a roof with a chainsaw in his hand than Craig Petersen," Croom said. Petersen is married with two daughters. He coaches girls softball and also spends time surfing, fishing and camping. The ceremony Monday was attended by several local officials, including Mayor Roger Brossmer, Mayor Pro Tem David Gafin and Judge Roy Paul.

********** Published: May 24, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 06