Crime Watch

Awards dinner recognizes Crime Watch volunteers, cops, supporters


Special to The Miami Herald

Close to 500 people attended our 38th annual Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade awards ceremony last weekend at the Doubletree Miami Airport Convention Center.

Thanks to Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz for being our event chair, and to former Commissioner Joe Martinez who came to turn over the “baton” to Commissioner Diaz. We also want to thank commissioners Diaz, Javier Souto, Dennis Moss, Audrey Edmonson, Lynda Bell, Sally Heyman, Rebecca Sosa and Juan Zapata for sponsoring tables for the crime watchers and police officers in their districts.

We especially want to thank Miami-Dade Police Department Director J.D. Patterson for being an outstanding keynote speaker. As always, the Rev. Robert Moss and the Miami-Dade Honor Guard were inspiring.

We also want to thank Maj. Scott Masington, Ppresident of the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police and Chief Ian Moffett of the Miami-Dade Schools Police for assisting in the awards presentations. A thank you also must go out to Mayor Carlos Gimenez for the beautiful proclamation he provided for the event.

But our event could not have been complete without the charisma of Brian Andrews, anchor/reporter for CBS ,4 who delighted the audience with his great personality.

Now for the winners at our event, who truly deserved the recognition for their commitment and dedication:

• Citizens’ Involvement Award – Melanie Samuelson

• Chairperson of the Year (County) — Adrian Lorenzo

• Chairperson of the Year (Municipality) — Hal Feldman

• Crime Watcher of the Year (County) — Ralph Balkin

• Youth Crime Watcher of the Year – Saniorah Edouard, Michael Krop High

• Principal of the Year – Marta M. Mejia, Ojus Elementary

• School Resource Officer of the Year – Darryl Dunn, Michael Krop High

• Police Officer of the Year (County) — Ralph Pagan, South District

• Police Officer of the Year (Municipality) — Nick Wollschlager, Biscayne Park

We also should recognize those that were nominated for the above categories by their law enforcement partners and crime watchers:

• Citizens’ Involvement — Troy Fauerback, Sharon Sbrissa, Shardy Sanon

• Chairperson of the Year – Vito Tripi, Rebecca Watford, Chuck Ross, Daysi Gonazlez, Rev. Robert Moss, Janine Balkin, Patrick Morrison, Raquel Batista

• Crime Watcher of the Year – Murial McLean, Rose Alvarez, Yesenia Labrada, Delois Parker, Judy Johnson, Mireya Rodriguez, Ignancia Romerso

• Police Officer of the Year – Tom Carney, Jose Marin, Chris Goranitus, Javier Aluart, Dana Carter, Leyane Casa, Carlos Sanchez, Sandra Machin, Albert Perez, William Harrington

In closing, I want to thank all those that helped us in putting this event together — our Dinner Committee: Sabrina Toledo, Javier Aluart, Lori Pernia, Saddiqua Ali, Angela Berry, Adriana Cohen, Joseph Bermudez, William Del Oro, Jose Rios and Ronnie Hufnagel; and my great Staff: Joel Mesa, Alina Lopez, Joelis Saldana, Vivian Havlin and Kathy Rodriguez. Without them, it would have been almost impossible since we had no money to begin with and had to be creative. Soon I will have pictures from the event on our website,, and on our Facebook page: Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade.

Folks if any of these winners or nominees live in your neighborhood, give them a big “thank you” because they really make a difference in this community.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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