Today, I want to share with you the winners and nominees from our 40th annual Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade awards ceremony, held Oct. 2 at Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention Center.
Thanks to Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz for being our event chair. We also want to thank Commissioners Diaz, Javier Souto, Dennis Moss, Audrey Edmonson, Daniella Levine Cava, Sally Heyman, Rebeca Sosa, Jean Monestime, Esteban Bovo and Juan Zapata for sponsoring tables for the crime watchers and police officers in their districts.
We especially want to thank state Sen. Anitere Flores for being an outstanding keynote speaker. As always, Rev. Robert Moss with his invocation and the Miami-Dade Honor Guard were inspiring.
We also want to thank Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, president of the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police; Chief Ian Moffett of the Miami-Dade Schools Police; and Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson for assisting in the awards presentations. Our event could not have been complete without the charisma of Brian Andrews, former anchor/reporter who delighted the audience with his great personality.
Now for the winners at our event, who truly deserved the recognition for their commitment to our community:
▪ Citizens’ Involvement Award
Nominees: Sharon Sbrisa, Terry Donahue
Winner: Johnson Jean
▪ Chairperson of the Year (County)
Nominees: Barbara Kraus, Raquel Batista, Janine Balkin, Elizabeth Bornot, Wayne Russell,Robert Moss, Annie Ross, Duane Smith
Winner: Jeff Kaslofsky
▪ Chairperson of the Year (Municipality)
Nominees: Fortuna Smukler and Margaret Love
Winner: Margaret Love
▪ Crime Watcher of the Year (County)
Nominees: Jacob Arena, Ralph Balkin, Patty Harris, Carlos Amezaga
Winner: Brian Van Bower
▪ Crime Watcher of the Year (Municipality)
Nominees: Jim Frigo, Ramon Rodriguez and Shane Graber
Winner: Tamera Anderson-Hanna
▪ Youth Crime Watch Student of the Year
Winner: Cristian Lamas of Barbara Goleman Senior High
▪ Youth Crime Watch Principal of the Year
Winner: Todd Morrow of Gloria Floyd Elementary School
▪ School Resource Officer of the Year
Winner: Officer Hilda Hernandez
▪ Police Officer of the Year (County)
Nominees: Sabrina Toledo, Leyane Casas, Gina Hogan, Javier Aluart, Carlos Sanchez and Ralph Pagan
Winner: Officer Sophia Pollas – MDPD Intracoastal District
▪ Police Officer of the Year (Municipality)
Nominees: Peter Judge, Robbie Tate and Lt. James McCready
Winner: Michelle Verdin – City of Miami Police – Upper Eastside
In closing, I want to thank all those that helped us in putting this event together, from our partners, such as Galloway Nursery which donated the centerpieces to Madeline Orr, who got donations from Bal Harbour Shops; our dinner committee: Sabrina Toledo, Javier Aluart, Saddiqua Ali, Adriana Cohen, Joseph Bermudez, Jill Sanchez, William Del Oro, Jose Rios, Lori Pernia, Michael Gorsline, Mariangelli Fernandez and Ronnie Hufnagel; and my great staff: Joel Mesa, Alina Lopez, Vivian Havlin and Kathy Fernandez.
Without them, it would have been almost impossible since we had no money and had to be creative.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.