2023 Twice a Citizen Gala at the Skirball

Department Reserve Officer of the Year John McCarthy with Twice a Citizen Award honoree Norman Nixon

“A 15-acre site was acquired in the Santa Monica Mountains, and renowned Israeli-American architect Moshe Safdie was engaged to design the campus. In 1996, the Skirball Cultural Center opened to the public.” — Excerpt from the Twice a Citizen biography of Drs. Uri and Myna Herscher 

“Every city has its jewels, and the Skirball Center is one of the jewels of Los Angeles, this world-class city, and it’s a center that has welcomed this Department on a regular basis, to work with our communities, for us to celebrate, for us to learn, and I just want to thank Uri for opening these doors to us, for having us here, but also supporting this event.” — Chief of Police Michel Moore

The annual Reserve Officer of the Year/Twice a Citizen Gala was held on May 6, 2023, at the Skirball Cultural Center. The Gala has been held at the Skirball every year since 2017, except in 2020 during the COVID pandemic.

Retired Reserve Officers Eric Rose and David Bush, center, were presented with the Andrea Friedman Award by LAPRF Presidents Michael Sellars and Karla Ahmanson, with Chief of Police Michel Moore.

Screenshot of the William Parker Foundation Instagram Reel of the Gala, set to “Unstoppable” by Sia

The Department Reserve Officer of the Year honor was awarded to John McCarthy, Robbery-Homicide Division, Specialized Divisions. Officer McCarthy has served as a reserve officer for 35 years, having worked assignments at Newton Patrol, Newton CRASH, 77th Patrol, Fugitive Section, North Hollywood Patrol and North Hollywood Detectives. This past year, he was selected to work at the Cold Case Homicide Unit (CCHU). From his biography in the Gala program book: “Officer McCarthy easily assumed the role of homicide investigator, and in this capacity, he was able to solve the 1990 murder of Dale Harvey, who was brutally stabbed to death in his apartment in Northeast Area. The case remained unsolved until Officer McCarthy assumed investigative responsibility in 2022. Through DNA analysis, witness interviews and an exhaustive review of the case evidence, McCarthy was able to link the crime to a career criminal.”

The other bureau honorees were Central Bureau’s Officer Jerry Vergara (Hollenbeck Area), South Bureau’s Officer William Schwartz (Harbor Area), and Valley Bureau’s Officer Gary Kennedy (Foothill Area). Biographies of the bureau honorees and a list of all the reserve officers of the year can be found here. 

A list of officers awarded service pins can be found here. They include Stephen Whitelaw for 45 years, Richard Kanzaki for 50 years, and Dennis Zine for his 55 years of combined full-time and reserve service. 

Twice a Citizen community honoree Norman Nixon (second from right)

Reserve officers receiving service pins

Central Bureau Reserve Officers of the Year

Reserve Officer Dennis Zine (center) was honored for his 55 years of service, including full-time service.

The gala was hosted by Araksya Karapetyan, Mark Thompson and Chief of Police Michel Moore.

Chief Moore said, “Tonight, it’s an opportunity for us to honor, for us to celebrate; it’s an opportunity for us to recognize the dedication of hundreds of reserve officers.” Chief Moore spoke of the picture he has in his office, the famous meme that says, “You wouldn’t walk into that dark alley for a million bucks,” reminding everyone how much a reserve police officer is not paid for going into that alley.

He continued: “I can’t imagine to define the circumstances or the time in which I can make sense in my mind why people would do this for, except for the fact that every reserve officer has in their heart the same thing that every full-time dedicated professional works the job with, and that is they know they stand on that line … to stand in the face of evil, and to say, ‘No, not this time; we’re here to serve, we’re here to protect and we’re going to rise to the occasion, no matter the foe or the challenge.’ Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate that … it’s also an opportunity to recognize that the Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation, in its 40th year, has been a generous organization.” 

Chief Moore noted that the LAPD leads in policing across America, and that the reserve program has been around longer than many of the Department’s innovations, built in World War II when the country was fighting for its very existence. The city “looked to its community, and said, ‘We need you; we need you to step forward and be a part of public safety in Los Angeles,’ and the reserves were formed, and they’ve existed ever since, and as a Chief I cannot be prouder.”

Chief Moore recognized the attendance of Deputy Mayor Brian K. Williams and LAPD Commission Vice President Erroll G. Southers. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, in her Gala program letter and video, said, “Thank you for all you do for the City of Angels.”

Twice a Citizen community honorees Uri Herscher and Norman Nixon with Karla Ahmanson, Michel Moore and Michael Sellars

West Bureau Reserve Officers of the Year

South Bureau Reserve Officer of the Year

Reserve Officer Greg Oster, retiring after 28 years of service

On May 19, Councilmember John S. Lee of the 12th District, who attended the Gala, made a motion, seconded by Councilmember Traci Park of the 11th District, “to conduct a study in order to determine [the possibility of] an appropriate increase to the reserve officer stipend.”

This year, Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation Presidents Karla Ahmanson and Michael Sellars presented the Andrea Friedman Award to two veteran LAPD reserve officers, David Bush and Eric Rose, who both retired this past year. The award, which is not given every year, is for going above and beyond in leadership and support of the Corps: Dave Bush for his well-known leadership of the Sunshine Kids and Special Olympics LAPD events, and Eric Rose for years of service, particularly his leadership behind the scenes in support of the Corps, as well as his globally recognized crisis management, reputation repair and communications expertise at EKG.

The Twice a Citizen community leader honorees were Uri and Myna Herscher and Norman Nixon and Debbie Allen. Per the Gala program: “Uri and Myna Herscher have dedicated themselves to enhancing the life of the Jewish community and the community at large. Uri envisioned and founded the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and served as its president and CEO from its inception in 1996 until 2020. Partnering with Uri and the leadership team of the Skirball, Myna was instrumental in the development of content and programs for families and children, and played a critical role in the design, development and implementation of Noah’s Ark at the Skirball, one of the nation’s most renowned exhibition experiences for children and their caregivers.”

Department Reserve Officer of the Year John McCarthy

You could hear a pin drop at the Gala as Uri recounted his life’s experiences — of his parents, who fled Germany in the 1930s, and of the annihilation of his extended family in the Holocaust. Myna was unable to attend the Gala.

In his acceptance speech, Norman Nixon revealed there was a Lakers event that same night, but he chose to attend the Gala to support Los Angeles reserve police officers. Per the Gala program, “Norman Nixon is the chief financial officer of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) and previously served as executive director. He is memorialized as one of the greatest talents in National Basketball Association (NBA) history, as well as an accomplished businessman and humanitarian. Upon making NBA history as a two-time all-star and a member of the Los Angeles Lakers during two NBA World Championships, Nixon retired from the NBA in 1989 and concentrated on various business ventures. During his playing years, he was the vice president of the NBA Players Association… In his role at DADA, in addition to his financial leadership he has served as executive director and produced the first all-Black production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The musical featured an all–African American cast that broke box office records and went on to receive the Olivier Award in London. He has served as executive producer of the Emmy-nominated television show The Debbie Allen Special for ABC Television.

Specialized Divisions Reserve Officers of the Year

Valley Bureau Reserve Officers of the Year

“In a career that spans three decades, the name Debbie Allen is synonymous with dynamic energy, creative talent and innovation. For her vast body of work, Ms. Allen has earned three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, five NAACP Image Awards, a Drama Desk, an Astaire Award (for Best Dancer) and the Olivier Award. Ms. Allen holds four honorary doctorate degrees and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was appointed by President George W. Bush to represent the United States as a Cultural Ambassador of Dance. She has been artist in residence at the Kennedy Center for over 15 years, creating original works with the legendary Arturo Sandoval and James Ingram. She is currently an executive producer as well as a director and actress on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, as well as artistic director (and founder) of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.” Ms. Allen was unable to attend the Gala.

The Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation would like to thank all of the donors and supporters, including the Ahmanson Foundation; the Bilger Foundation; the A/H Foundation (Kari Friedman Parker); Mark Brooks; Judy and Tom Flesh; the L.A. Police Command Officers; Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Pamela and Jeffrey Balton; Donelle Dadigan/Hollywood Museum; MUFG Union Bank; Ambassador Frank and Kathy Baxter; the Skirball Cultural Center; the Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Family Foundation; Ira Krinsky; Steve and Alice Yslas; Patricia Glazer and Sam Mude; the Riordan Foundation; Eddie Cunningham; JPMorgan Chase; the L.A. PAMS Foundation; Steve and Nicole Fazio; the OPG Association of Los Angeles; Anheuser-Busch; Comcast NBC Universal; the L.A. Police Protective League; Steve Namm; Drs. Uri and Myna Herscher; KPMG; Kathleen Wyne; L.A. Police Federal Credit Union; Roger Andrews; Phillips Law Partners, LLP; Sloan, Offer, Weber & Dern, LLP; the Parker Foundation; Evan Meyer and Taylor Van; the KLM Foundation; the Milken Family Foundation; Charles Daniel; Gary and Linda Goldfein; Patty and Ken McKenna; Ashley and Andrew Lebowitz Family; Commander Billy Brockway; Bruce Meyer; Bernard Kahlili; Greg and Donna Ecoon; Safdie Architects; Ashley and David Frandzel; Straussner Sherman Lonne Treger; Industry Securities Services (ISS); East West Bank; Moriarity & Associates; Arsine and Gary Phillips; David and Ginny Sydorick; the Honorable John Lee; Scott and Michele McMullin; Supervisor Hilda Solis; Michele and Patrick Thibiant; the MLK Foundation; Roger and Angelle Grace; Howard Banchik; Dr. Edward Ines, DDS; Kiki Gindler; Paul and Anissa Balson; Chanida Walsh; Merle and Peter Mullin; Gloria Grube; Payden & Rygel; Mark White; Monlev; Deena and David Gussman; Dean Kay; Dennis and Tina Marie Ito; Mort Schwartz; and so many more. 

The top auction donors: LAPD Air Support, LAPD SWAT, Jeffrey Lehman/KB Collections, Somerset Winery, John Moriarity, Elite Island Resorts, Center Theatre Group, Pantages Theatre, Huntington Pasadena, Los Angeles Zoo, Petersen Automotive Museum, Hyman, Inc., and so many more! We thank our auctioneer, DawnMarie Kotsonis, and all of you for your support!

The evening was coordinated by Scherr Lillico and her team at The Proper Image Events. Development by Joan Ford.

The 2024 Gala is scheduled for May 4, 2024, at the Skirball Cultural Center.