The annual Reserve Officer of the Year/Twice a Citizen Gala returned to the spring on May 7 at the Skirball Cultural Center, following last year’s event, which was held in September 2021. September had been the first in-person gala in 28 months since the COVID pandemic.
The Department Reserve Officer of the Year honor was awarded to Bernard Khalili (Specialized Divisions, Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau/Major Crimes Division).
From his biography: “In 2021, Reserve Officer Khalili participated in several dignitary visit protection details, assisting the United States Secret Service and the State Department … [Officer Khalili] took the initiative to organize a cooperation public safety mission between Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.”
Officer Khalili took the opportunity to congratulate Reserve Officer Chris Hirt (NHWD) for being the first reserve officer to score a perfect 400 on the bonus course.
The other bureau honorees were Officer Catherine Euler (Central Bureau, Northeast Area), Officer Michael French (South Bureau, Harbor Area), Officer Kenneth Choi (West Bureau, Olympic Area) and Officer Howard Leshner (Valley Bureau, Devonshire 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 year pins is here. A 50-year pin was presented to Officer Gerald Holtz (Valley Traffic Division); 45-year pins were presented to Officers David Jacoby (Gang and Narcotics Division), Robert “Glenn” McConnell (North Hollywood Area) and Ben Lee (Training Division).
The Twice a Citizen community leader honorees were Wendy Garen and Joe Mantegna. Per the Gala journal from the evening:
“Wendy Garen has played an integral role in the life of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, becoming president and CEO in 2008 after working for the foundation for more than 20 years. Wendy is currently chair of the Los Angeles County Commission for Children and Families, serves on the advisory board of the Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy at USC, is vice chair of LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and serves on the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs. She is a founding member of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships and the Los Angeles County Arts Recovery Fund.”
“Joe Mantegna is a critically acclaimed actor and longtime philanthropist who lends much of his free time to a number of humanitarian endeavors. In May 2012, Joe was appointed the national spokesperson for the U.S. Army Museum. He’s also an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation, which builds homes for wounded veterans and has hosted the National Memorial Day Concert since 2006. In 2014, Joe received the Lifetime Achievement award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the community and craft of acting. His passions also include various autism-related charities, as well as being a longtime supporter of the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children.”
Joe has played notable roles in Glengarry Glen Ross, House of Games, Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Godfather Part III, The Rat Pack, The Last Don, Joan of Arcadia and the CBS TV series Criminal Minds. In April 2011, Joe received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He attended last year’s reserve gala to help honor his Criminal Minds co-star Shemar Moore.
Chief of Police Michel Moore served as honorary chair of the gala. He started his remarks by acknowledging the honorees and former governor of California Pete Wilson, who was in attendance as a guest of Ms. Garen. He thanked the governor (who served in office from 1991 to 1999) for his support of law enforcement “during a perilous time in our history.”
Chief Moore said: “I’m proud of every police reserve … who has played a critical role in our safety, now 400 of you … I could not be prouder during a perilous time when there was no vaccine; when there was little … personal protective equipment available — that our reserves worked shoulder to shoulder on the line, despite a disease that was costing lives. And I cannot imagine the families and friends of these reserve officers who allowed, permitted and encouraged … them to come to this job, with the risks that they took … I’m grateful for their service that is yet just another chapter in the dedication of what it means to be a police reserve … God bless you, your family and everyone who supported you during this time. You’ve been strong, you’ve handled it with grace and grit, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
In their welcome remarks, LAPRF Presidents Karla Ahmanson and Michael Sellars summarized the foundation’s funding initiatives. This included raising funds during the evening to equip reserve police officers with Taser 7 holsters and a new trade school grant as part of the scholarship initiative for reserve families, funded by donations from Reserve Officers Todd Moore (retired) and Jeff Nockett.
Presidents Ahmanson and Sellars also presented the Andrea Friedman Award to retired Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala “because of her dedication to the LAPD, personal and professional leadership of the Reserve Corps [and] her commitment to improving lives in Los Angeles.”
Sellars said: “Raise your hand, full time or reserve, if she has been there during your career at one, two, three or different times in your life … Look at all those hands.”
Accepting the award, Bea Girmala received a standing ovation.
For the second year, the newly authorized Exceptional Service ribbons for Reserve Officers of the Year were handed out to the honorees — Area, Bureau and Department. The new ribbons were funded by the LAPRF and are available to all active and honorably retired reserve officers who have received the award during their careers.
The LAPD Honor Guard presented the colors to start the evening, with Officer Rosalind Curry singing the national anthem. She closed the night by singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”
The Los Angeles Police Reserve Foundation would like to thank all of the donors and supporters, including the Ahmanson Foundation, Jerry Kohl, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, The Riordan Foundation, Gary and Linda Goldfein, Tom and Judy Flesh, Mark Brooks, Martin Luther King Community Foundation, Steve and Alice Yslas, MUFG Union Bank, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Ambassador Frank and Kathy Baxter, Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Afamia Financial, Industry Securities Services (ISS), KPMG, Patty and Sam Glaser/Mudie, L.A. Police Command Officers Association, California State University Northridge, East West Bank, Warren Dern, Los Angeles Police Protective League, Eddie Cunningham — SDS Media, Roger Andrews, Bernard Khalili, Rick and Debbie Powell, Donna and Greg Econn, Anissa and Paul Balson, 911MEDIA, The Parker Foundation, Bruce Meyer, Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union, Peter and Merle Mullin, Ashley and David Frandzel/Mid-West Wholesale Lighting Corporation, Los Angeles Police Academy Magnet School, Moriarity & Associates, Mayer Brown, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Straussner & Sherman, Dave Swartz, David and Ginny Sydorick, Councilmember John Lee, Miriam Muscarolas and Grant Abramson, John and Sarah Kobara, First 5 LA, Mark White, Paramount, Madeline Gussman, Christine Essel, Challen Cates, Patricia and Ken McKenna, University of LaVerne, Gloria Grube, Scott and Michele McMullin, Ralph M. Parsons Board of Directors, The Music Center, Steve Namm, Beckmen Vineyards, Craig Pfefferman, Steve and Nicole Fazio, Cindy and Bill Simon, Michele and Patrick Thibiant, Edward Ines, Jim Sarni — Payden and Rygel Investment Management, and with special appreciation to Wendy Garen and Susan Pollack for their unwavering support.
The top auction donors: LAPD Air Support, LAPD SWAT, SoFi Stadium, Geffen Playhouse Gil Cates Theatre, Peake Ranch, Musique, Alaska Airlines, The Diamond Bank, Jeffrey Lehman/KB Collections, Kali Restaurant, Elite Island Resorts, Center Theatre Group, Petersen Automotive Museum, Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Hyman, Inc., and so many more — we thank you for your support!
The evening was coordinated by Scherr Lillico and her team at Proper Image Events. Development by Joan Ford.
The next Reserve Officer of the Year/Twice a Citizen Gala is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the Skirball Cultural Center.