More than 40 officers, staffers and residents received awards for their volunteer services, shooting skills, community service and work dedication.
Gang Unit Sgt. Scott Bickle, detectives Rafael Quintero, Sean Riley and Eric Meyer, and Assistant City Atty. Carmen Merino earned the Distinguished Service Award for their work in acquiring a permanent injunction against the Toonerville gang, which terrorized south Glendale neighborhoods.
The unit worked on several leads, gathered evidence and made arrests to help support an injunction against the gang.
The group combed through hundreds of police reports to gather enough information to move forward with legal action against the gang.
“It was part of my job, but actually working with the gang unit was extraordinary because they are so dedicated,” Merino said.
The injunction, issued in March 2009, made it easier for authorities to arrest alleged gang members found selling or possessing drugs, possessing weapons and graffiti tools, using lookouts, trespassing, loitering and intimidating people who live and work within the designated zone.
The zone was defined as a 4.5-square-mile area that includes much of south Glendale into Los Angeles and a 1.25-square-mile area of Tujunga just north of Foothill Boulevard.
“It was a combined effort between all of the divisions . . . and it takes a department to really make the arrests,” Bickle said.
The takedown has led to a decrease in the number of crimes committed by Toonerville gang members, Bickle said. Whenever the gang receives media attention, its members tend to retaliate against the Police Department.
Members most recently sprayed their gang name and “What’s up GPD?” Bickle said.
The gang unit arrested ex-convict Sonny Peña in connection with the graffiti and possessing drugs and ammunition, he said.
The gang officers were among a group of 53 other service men and women who received a Toonerville 187PC Campaign Ribbon for their work against the gang. Section 187 of the California penal code relates to murder.
Det. Art Frank’s investigative work regarding the murder of a Mongol motorcycle gang member on the Glendale (2) Freeway in 2008, which was eventually linked to a Toonerville gang member, also earned him a ribbon and the Officer of the Year Award.