The Federal Way Police Department recently presented its 2017 awards its annual recognition ceremony.
Each year, Chief Andy Hwang and his command staff recognize police employees and community members who exceed expectations. The ceremony is an opportunity for members of the department to share their recognition with their colleagues and families.
Life Saving Awards
• Officer Hilary Brehm – nominated by Cpl. Oscar Villanueva
While in training, officer Hilary Brehm responded to a report of CPR in progress. Brehm quickly arrived and when she entered the apartment, found a frantic woman directing officers toward the kitchen area to an unconscious woman. The woman had stopped breathing and her skin was a bluish-gray color. Brehm immediately began administering CPR, which continued for approximately two minutes before the woman gasped. Brehm checked for a pulse, but none was detected, so she continued CPR. About a minute later the woman began breathing. South King Fire & Rescue and medics arrived on scene and continued medical treatment. It was later learned the woman had overdosed on heroin.
• Officer Andrew Sederberg – nominated by Deputy Chief Kyle Sumpter
On Dec. 17, 2016, officer Andrew Sederberg was dispatched to a CPR in progress. The 70-year old victim had suddenly collapsed and appeared to be having a heart attack. The victim’s wife called 911 and attempted CPR until Sederberg arrived. Sederberg used his automated external defibrillator, which advised a shock was necessary. Sederberg successfully resuscitated the victim prior to the arrival of paramedics. The victim, who had an unknown heart condition, was transported to St. Francis Hospital for further treatment.
• Officer Scott Parker – nominated by Ray Bunk
On Jan. 11, 2017, Stacy Kahape’a was headed to a local Starbucks when he experienced cardiac arrest. He lost control of his car, which ran into a chainlink fence and a tree, which stopped the car from crashing into a house. Officer Scott Parker arrived within seconds of the crash, recognized the driver had experienced a medical episode and pulled him from the car. Kahape’a had no pulse, so Parker began CPR. After several minutes, firefighters from South King Fire & Rescue arrived. Medics took over CPR. Kahape’a survived. Later, his cardiologist explained that while the CPR resulted in bruises, Parker’s immediate actions and the extended CPR saved Kahape’a.
Police Chief’s Certificate of Merit and Medal of Distinguished Service
• Cpl. Steven Wortman nominated Officer Zachary Rockseth for the Police Chief’s Certificate of Merit, and the Awards Committee nominated Cpl. Wortman for the Medal of Distinguished Service.
On Feb. 11, 2017, just before 11 p.m., officers were dispatched to a call of a car stolen from Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street. Officers attempted to stop the car, but it sped away, eventually hitting a guard rail on Peasley Canyon Road. The female driver jumped from the stolen car and fell into Mill Creek. Officer Zachary Rockseth jumped in the creek to help save the woman. Due to the force of the water, Rockseth was not able to keep his footing and was washed downstream where he grabbed a branch and climbed out of the creek. A nearby Auburn police officer jumped into the creek and grabbed the woman. Wortman jumped into the creek to help the Auburn officer rescue the woman. Rockseth jumped back into the creek and assisted the officers. Wortman saw the woman was face down in the moving water and pulled her head out of the water. The Federal Way officers and the suspect were treated for injuries including hypothermia. The woman also had a fractured leg.
Police Chief’s Citizen Citation Awards
• Robert L. Mason, U.S. Bank manager – nominated by Chris Norman
On April 6, 2017, the U.S. Bank in Federal Way was robbed. The suspect pointed a firearm at the teller and said, “I need money.” The suspect fled from the bank and was observed by the bank manager, Robert Mason, entering a dark colored sedan. Mason looked at the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle and provided the number to responding police officers. That information led officers and detectives to quickly identify a suspect and locate him at a nearby apartment where he was detained. Mason arrived at the apartment and positively identified the person being detained by officers as the robber. The suspect later confessed to the robbery. The weapon used in the robbery was located in his vehicle, and more evidence was found in his apartment.
• Volunteers Frank Gabreluk, John McMahon, Mari Ikeda-Gomes and Tim Lehnherr – nominated by Chief Andy Hwang
For more than seven years, a group of dedicated volunteers with the Federal Way Police Department’s Cart Recovery Team have canvassed the city streets on a weekly basis retrieving abandoned shopping carts and returning them to their retail owners. The team’s primary purpose is to keep the city looking neater, with and added benefit to retailers: their carts being recovered at no cost. Between 3,000 and 4,000 shopping carts are returned annually to local retailers. That’s more 300 carts per month throughout the city. To the department’s knowledge, this is the only program of its kind in the country.
“I cannot think of any individuals more deserving of this recognition,” Hwang said. “These people – Frank, John, Tim, and Mari – are truly unsung heroes of our community, performing this labor-intensive work simply to make our community a better place. From time to time people inquire about applying for this position and quickly fade away when they realize that it is all volunteer work … and hard work.”
In October, Mike Tierney retired from this service and was recognized.
Police Chief’s Commendation Award
• Detective Ray Unsworth – nominated by Tom Robinson
In November 2012, Ray Unsworth was selected as a detective in the criminal investigations section. He was assigned as a special assault detective, investigating cases of child physical and sexual abuse. Unsworth has a masters of arts degree in criminal justice, with a focus on the sexual abuse of women and children. In 2014, Unsworth reopened a case which eventually revealed that children were being brought to the area from Mexico to be used as slave labor. Working with the FBI and other federal agencies, four suspects were eventually arrested, convicted and sent to federal prison. In 2015, during a meeting with local and federal human trafficking investigators, then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, personally recognized Unsworth’s work in this case, and called the investigation a model to be used in other jurisdictions. During his tenure, Unsworth has cleared more than 454 child abuse cases. In January, he returned to the patrol division.
• Detective Jeff VanderVeer – Nominated by Tom Robinson
In 2009, Jeff VanderVeer was selected as a detective and assigned to the criminal investigations section. He has cleared more than 554 felony investigations during his tenure with CIS, including two homicide investigations, many serious assault cases, serial bank robbery cases, armed robberies, burglaries and domestic violence cases. He has processed more 25 homicide scenes, as well as more than 100 major crime scenes, including other death scenes, officer involved shootings, serious assaults and robbery/home invasions. VanderVeer manages the registered sex offender program in Federal Way, and he is one of two detectives who conduct forensic cell phone examinations. He also recently spearheaded the refurbishment of the unit’s crime scene van. He is a founding and longtime member of the Valley Investigations Team, responsible for the investigation of officer-involved shooting incidents in the region.
• Cpl. Joshua Haglan – nominated by Steve Arbuthnot
Homeless issues in Federal Way have continued to draw significant attention over the past two-plus years. The police department was tasked with working toward a solution, and the special operations unit became the primary group assigned to address these problems. Cpl. Joshua Haglan immediately began working the issues by visiting transient camps. He developed and strengthened inter-departmental relationships with code enforcement and public works to aggressively target numerous properties around the city. In spite of the filthy conditions in the camps, Haglan led the unit in repetitive visits until many of the camps were cleared and the property cleaned up. He also provided a comprehensive weekly update on all known camps in the city. This commitment to address these issues has led to significant changes in the community and a noticeable reduction of property crimes in the areas surrounding the camps. A good example is the Kitts Corner property, which had a daily population of at least 30 transients. The property was recently cleaned up, cleared and the associated crime issues mitigated.
Detective of the Year Award
• Detective Michael Coffey – nominated by Tom Robinson
Michael Coffey was assigned to the criminal investigations section in May 2011. Last year, he led several successful major cases, including a homicide and an armed robbery, resulting in multiple arrests and charges. He also served as the crime scene manager on three separate homicides last year, and he was the lead detective in Valley Investigation Team officer-involved shooting. As one of two forensic cell phone examiners assigned to mainstream crimes, Coffey processed more than 40 cell phones for other detectives in 2017. Data extracted from these phones helped solve about 25 felony cases.
Officer of the Year Award
• Cpl. Steven Wortman – nominated by Ray Bunk
“At the beginning of the year, I gave Cpl. Wortman several tasks and responsibilities and he excelled in every detail,” Lt. Ray Bunk said. “Steve was my ‘go-to-guy’ when I was unable to run the shift. Steve ran each scene in a professional and competent manner.”
Throughout the year, Wortman regularly attended community events, even when it was not during his regularly scheduled shift. These events included Coffee With a Cop, National Night Out, and Movie Night at Downtown Square. Last year, Wortman instructed several student officers while serving as a field training officer.
Supervisor of the Year Award
• Lt. Keith Schmidt – nominated by Chris Norman
Lt. Keith Schmidt was selected to fill-in as the acting D squad lieutenant in November 2016. He was also asked to supervise the firearms training program during this transition period. Schmidt was formally promoted to the rank of lieutenant in August 2017. Due to his outstanding performance as the interim firearms training unit supervisor, he was formally selected to supervise the unit. He was selected as the special operations unit supervisor beginning Jan. 1.
MVP of the Year Award
• Officer Tyler Turpin – nominated by Ray Unsworth
In July 2017, a wanted bulletin was distributed to patrol officers concerning four sexual assault suspects, who, despite ongoing efforts by detectives, had not been located. Officer Tyler Turpin, along with his fellow officers on F squad, took the initiative, conducted surveillance and eventually arrested two of these suspects. Throughout the year, Turpin continued to look for and arrest additional sexual assault suspects. He took another elusive sexual assault suspect into custody.
Civilian Employee of the Year Award
• Marie Byer – nominated by Chris Norman
Marie Byer has performed above and beyond in her new position while taking on significant projects that impact the entire police staff. In October 2017, she undertook PlanIT training for the entire agency fighting through her phobia of public speaking through multiple training days. Her working relationship with every member of staff she has contact with is positive and professional. Byer suffered the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband on Jan. 30, 2017. Although devastated by the loss, she returned to work serving the department.