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Officers honored for investigating murders, aiding families

Top cop made more than 160 arrests and bought food for a homeless family.

May 17, 2012|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Glendale Officer Jeff Rivas walks to accept the Officer of the Year Award at the 17th Annual Glendale Police Awards Luncheon at the Glendale Hilton.
Glendale Officer Jeff Rivas walks to accept the Officer… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

A career detective with a knack for breaking down cases and a cop who had more than 160 arrests in the past year were honored Thursday with the Glendale Police Department’s top awards at the Police Dept.’s annual recognition ceremony.

Having made numerous felony and probable-cause arrests in the past year, Officer of the Year Jeff Rivas didn’t stop there. He came to the aid of a family of five who were living inside their car, buying them food with his own money. Rivas also helped a grandmother seek justice and medical treatment for her 6-year-old granddaughter, who had been molested.

Rivas’ dedication and drive to help others comes from a deep passion for police work, he said.

“I love this community,” Rivas said. “I love law enforcement. It’s the greatest thing on Earth and there is no greater benefit than knowing you are keeping the community and the people who live here safe.”

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Rivas was one of more than a dozen Glendale police officers who were honored at the 17th Annual Glendale Police Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Glendale for acts of bravery, community contributions and stand-out job performances.

“They do tremendous work day in and day out and sometimes that goes unnoticed; sometimes we tend to take it for granted,” Chief Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

Police veteran Det. Art Frank, who was honored with the “Chief’s Award of Excellence,” has held many assignments on the department’s various units, but his forte is for “intense detective work.”

He and other Glendale police detectives investigated a series of rapes of elderly women along the Foothill (210) Freeway. The women’s attacker was later identified as Clifton Hutchins, who was dubbed the “Foothill Rapist.” Hutchins is serving a 116-year prison sentence.

Frank and his partners helped take down 29 members of the Toonerville gang after he was able to get court approval to wiretap the suspects during an extensive murder investigation in 2008 of Mongols motorcycle club members.

He also aided in the conviction of a man who fled to Armenia after killing his girlfriend and stuffing her body into the trunk of a car.

Frank said the drive to continue working comes from “the privilege to have a job I love, work with people I respect, and ability to make a difference.”

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