South Bureau Reserve Officer of the Year: William “Bill” Schwartz
Reserve Officer Bill Schwartz has been with the Los Angeles Police Department since June 22, 2019.
Reserve Officer Schwartz is assigned to Harbor Area Detectives and assists with major assault crime investigations. RPO Schwartz is a former deputy district attorney who has a vast understanding and knowledge of the law in terms of what is needed to file a successful case. He frequently shares his knowledge and does not hesitate to ask questions when a case is being discussed among detectives.
Reserve Officer Schwartz investigates violations of court orders, and he is Harbor’s subject-matter expert on filing cases with the DA’s Office. He has an organizational system that allows him to track cases that he has sent to the City Attorney’s Office for filing consideration. Bill recognizes the involved parties’ names and quickly advises the City Attorney’s Office of multiple reports to strengthen the seriousness of the violation of the court order.
The dedication of Reserve Officer Schwartz shows his commitment to the citizens of the Harbor Area in providing justice for many victims who have been threatened or harassed by their abusers. Bill also spends many hours working with the Harbor Area Community Relations Office during special events and projects. Always with a positive attitude, he is eager to learn new things and is rarely without a big smile on his face.
South Bureau is honored to recognize Reserve Officer Bill Schwartz as our 2023 Reserve Officer of the Year.
Valley Bureau Reserve Officer of the Year: Gary Kennedy
Level II Reserve Police Officer Gary Kennedy joined the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department in June 1999. He began his assignment at Pacific Area and has worked at various divisions (CTD, Rampart, WTD, Hollywood, PRS, STD and Training Division). From 2003 to 2010, Gary was the official drill instructor for new reserve officer training. He graduated 13 classes over seven years. In 2003, he graduated Reserve Class 3-03R as the first and only reserve class to graduate with a full-time class side by side.
In May 2005, Gary was assigned to Foothill Area, where he has been a part of this Division for over 14 years. He has been an integral part of the Foothill Community Relations and Senior Lead Office. Gary continues to make himself available to assist divisional and citywide patrol officers throughout the year. Gary has worked countless details over this time, including divisional parades, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, street racing and vendor task forces, the Students Run LA pre-marathon event at the Hansen Dam Recreation Center and much more.
Reserve Officer Kennedy has been recognized for his dedication and strong work ethic and has received several commendations over his tenure (Division Reserve of the Year six times, OVB Reserve of the Year twice and Department Reserve of the Year in 2008). He was selected (along with a small group of reserves) to represent and present LAPD best practices regarding reserves at a world auxiliary/reserve conference in Victoria, British Columbia, sponsored by the RCMP in 2005.
Over the last eight years, Gary has worked as a security specialist. Previously, he worked in the oil industry for over 34 years.
Foothill Area proudly selects RPO Gary Kennedy as our 2023 Reserve Officer of the Year.
Specialized Divisions Reserve Officer of the Year: John McCarthy
Officer John McCarthy has been a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department since 1988. In his 35 years of service, he’s worked assignments in Newton Area Patrol, Newton Area CRASH, 77th Area Patrol, Fugitive Section, North Hollywood Area Patrol and North Hollywood Detectives.
In 2020, Reserve Officer McCarthy was selected to work Robbery-Homicide Division’s newly conceptualized Cold Case Homicide Unit (CCHU). The CCHU is currently staffed by one full-time sworn detective supervisor and 12 Level I reserve officers, and has been up and running since August 2020. Reserve Officer McCarthy was chosen for this position after a rigorous and highly competitive selection process. Reserve Officer McCarthy is a leader among his peers, and his knowledge and commitment have had a direct impact on the success of the CCHU. To date, the unit has cleared nine cold case homicides, with several more in the final review process.
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 Division. 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, Officer McCarthy was able to link the crime to William Taylor, a career criminal with numerous arrests in Los Angeles for burglary and robbery. If not for Officer McCarthy’s tenacity and perseverance, the murder of Dale Harvey would remain unsolved.
As a homicide investigator, Officer McCarthy has embraced the advancements in forensic science and has successfully submitted two homicide cases for familial and genetic genealogy testing. If successful, Officer McCarthy will bring long-awaited answers to the victims’ families, who will finally see justice served. Additionally, the CCHU is routinely called upon to assist RHD detectives in warrant service, training and other detective-related tasks, for which Reserve Officer McCarthy is always first to volunteer.
An assignment such as homicide is usually reserved for the most tenured detectives. Reserve Officer McCarthy’s determination and tenacity allowed him to accomplish something few other reserve officers with the Los Angeles Police Department have accomplished.
Central Bureau Reserve Officer of the Year: Jerry Vergara
Reserve Officer of the Year honors are awarded for exceptional achievement, and no one better epitomizes extraordinary achievement than Officer Vergara, who has served his community through devotion of valuable time to create a safer community for over 35 years.
As a Level I reserve, Officer Vergara has worked various assignments, including Patrol, Gangs, Vice, Special Events and South Bureau Homicide. He retired from his full-time administrator role with the DMV in 2013, and for the last nine years he has worked full-time at Hollenbeck Area. Officer Vergara works at least 140 hours each DP, logging over 17,000 hours in the last nine years and 25,000 hours during his 35-year tenure with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Officer Vergara joined the LAPD as a reserve officer in 1987 and was assigned to Hollenbeck Area when he graduated from the Academy. Vergara exemplifies selflessness, empathy and strength of character. He distinguishes himself above the ordinary demands of service and has made countless contributions to the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles.
Since Officer Vergara works so many shifts, many officers in the division think of him as a full-time LAPD officer, not knowing that he is a reserve officer who chooses to work full-time. Those who work closely with him know him as a true partner who has a great attitude and is always willing to help anyone asking for assistance. He is truly an ambassador for the LAPD, always with a smile on his face, and someone many look to for guidance and mentorship.
Officer Vergara has shown tremendous support and dedication to the LAPD for over three decades. To say that he has gone above and beyond what is expected of a reserve officer would be the understatement of the century. Officer Vergara is genuinely selfless, always displays integrity, respect and professionalism, and routinely performs selfless acts in his commitment to public service.