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Newport Beach Police Department
Wednesday March 29th, 2017 :: 11:47 a.m. PDT


Press Release: Police Department Employees Honored

Pictured left to right in attached photo: Chief Jon T. Lewis, Marcia Strack, Bryan Moore, Wendy Koudelka, Anthony Yim, and Nick Ott

The 46th Annual Police Appreciation Breakfast was held this morning at the Hyatt Regency, Newport Beach.  The event was hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Commodores Club, and sponsored by the Maseeh Family, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, and Newport Beach & Company.  Members of the Police Department were honored at the breakfast, which was also attended by city staff, community leaders, and members of the local business community.
Nominations for the Police Department Annual Awards are collected by committees for each award category.  Members of the Police Department who receive award nominations are discussed by those committees and then recommendations are submitted to the Chief of Police for consideration.  The following members of the Police Department received recognition in the listed categories:
Officer Anthony Yim, Officer of the Year
Sergeant Bryan Moore, Sworn Supervisor of the Year
Communications Manager Wendy Koudelka, Civilian Supervisor of the Year
Animal Control Officer Nick Ott, Civilian of the Year
Volunteer Marcia Strack, Volunteer of the Year
Additional awards were received as listed below:
Award of Merit presented to Officer Kyle Markwald
In 2016, while working as a member of the Crime Suppression Unit, Officer Markwald identified an ongoing issue with a specific home that was greatly affecting the quality of life in the Newport Heights neighborhood.  The home was involved in more than 30 police incidents over a year-long period, and Officer Markwald himself responded to numerous calls for service and made several narcotics-related arrests there.  He brought the home to the attention of the City Attorney’s Office in an attempt to address the problem through civil remedies.  After countless hours working on this project, Officer Markwald secured a judgment from the Orange County Superior Court declaring the property and related drug activity a “nuisance”, and obtained a permanent injunction prohibiting drug activity on the property and restricting certain persons from being at the home.  Officer Markwald’s efforts resulted in the owners moving out of the residence.  He is commended for his diligence and persistence, which ultimately restored peace and a higher quality of life to the neighborhood.
Award of Merit presented to Sergeant Justin Morouse and Officers Mark Fasano, Steven Oberon, and Kelley Scheafer
When leaving work in the early-morning hours of July 2, 2016, Justin Morouse (who was an Officer at the time) saw a vehicle with improper license plates and registration.  He immediately called the Department’s Dispatch Center and Officer Fasano was dispatched to perform a traffic stop.  The driver claimed to be in the area to visit his girlfriend at a local hotel.  He was found to be armed with a handgun and was arrested for the weapons violation.  Officer Oberon and Scheafer subsequently found that the woman the driver was intending to visit was actually his ex-girlfriend, and that she possessed a restraining order against him because he had threatened her life on a number of occasions.  Officers Fasano and Oberon wrote and secured a search warrant, which revealed that the arrestee was in possession of several other firearms and was actively following the woman’s movements though a tracking device placed on her vehicle.  All four employees are commended for their observation and excellent investigation skills, which likely prevented a serious crime from occurring and brought peaceful resolution to a situation that could have developed into a horrific tragedy.
Award of Merit presented to Sergeant Court Depweg
While working as a Detective assigned to the Orange County Regional Narcotics Suppression Program, Court Depweg began a seven-year investigation into a money-laundering scam tied to a Western Union remitter in Monterey Park.  He wrote numerous search warrants, organized multiple undercover operations, conducted hundreds of interviews, and reviewed over 100,000 documents.  His investigation revealed that the remitter aided and abetted criminal organizations in laundering over $52,000,000, which was transferred from the United States to the People’s Republic of China between 2005 and 2010.  These funds were the result of profits from human trafficking, prostitution, drug trafficking, sales of illegal firearms, intellectual property rights violations, fraud, and illegal gambling.  As a result, the business owner was arrested in Federal Court, and Western Union has been required to make substantial regulatory changes and to forfeit $586,000,000.  (This is the largest forfeiture in by local law enforcement in Orange County history, and the largest forfeiture on record for a money remitter.) Sergeant Depweg is commended for the thoroughness of his investigation and his perseverance, which resulted in a significant impact on the money laundering capabilities of numerous criminal organizations, and in securing forfeiture money to assist with reimbursement for victims of fraud and other crimes.
Lifesaving Award presented to Officers Bryan Gregson and Scott LaRuffa
On the morning of September 14, 2016, Officers Gregson and LaRuffa responded to a series of noise complaints at a local hotel.  When they arrived, they located the involved subjects in the pool area.  The officers contacted the group, asking them to exit the pool so that they could discuss the noise complaints.  One man, however, remained under water and did not appear to be moving.  When his friend attempted to bring him to the surface, it became apparent that something was terribly wrong and that the man was in need of assistance.  Officer Gregson immediately grabbed a nearby rescue hook and was able to pull the unconscious man to the surface; Officer LaRuffa then pulled him onto the pool deck.  The man was blue, unconscious, not breathing, and the officers could not locate a pulse.  They worked together to administer CPR and clear his airways until the man was able to breathe again on his own.  The officers stabilized the victim until Newport Beach Fire Department personnel arrived and transported him to a local hospital, where he made a full recovery.  Officers Gregson and LaRuffa are commended for their heroic and decisive actions, which saved this man’s life.
Lifesaving Award presented to Officers Cynthia Carter, Nathan Farris, and Eric Rosenberg
On May 22, 2016, Officers Carter, Farris, and Rosenberg were dispatched to a request for medical aid.  The caller reported that her father, a passenger in her vehicle, had become unresponsive while she was driving.  Following instructions from MetroNet (the Fire Department’s dispatch center), the woman pulled her vehicle to the side of the road and began to administer first aid.  Officers Carter, Farris, and Rosenberg were the first emergency personnel to arrive on scene, and quickly removed the man from the vehicle.  They found that he was not breathing and did not have a pulse.  Officer Carter administered chest compressions while her partners retrieved an Automatic External Defibrillator from their patrol vehicle.  After administering two shocks from the AED, the subject’s heart restarted and he began to breathe on his own.  Newport Beach Fire Department personnel arrived a short time later and transported him to a local hospital for further treatment.  The Officers are commended for their heroism and teamwork in saving this man’s life.
Lifesaving Award presented to Officer David Sarega
On April 11, 2016, Officer Sarega was off-duty and completing his workout at a gym in Irvine.  As he prepared to exit the building, he heard an announcement to the Fitness Staff that a man was having a medical emergency in the treadmill area.  Officer Sarega immediately responded and found the man lying unresponsive on the floor.  Although several other people were on-hand, no one had begun to provide treatment to the man and they seemed unsure of how to proceed.  Officer Sarega stepped in, quickly assessed the situation, and began to administer CPR.  He continued providing chest compressions until medics arrived and transported the man for additional medical treatment.  Three weeks later, Officer Sarega received a call from the man whose life he saved, and that man also attended today’s Appreciation Breakfast to thank Officer Sarega in person.  Officer Sarega is commended for his quick and decisive actions, which saved this man’s life.
Lifesaving Award presented to Sergeant Bob Bennett
On May 8, 2016, Sergeant Bennett (who was a Detective at the time) was off-duty and celebrating Mother’s Day with his family in Huntington Beach.  While walking on the beach near the mouth of the Santa Ana River flood control channel, he observed three children playing in the water there.  The smallest – who was approximately four years old – lost his balance and fell into the current, surfacing to scream for help before being pulled back underwater.  Knowing that the child was in significant danger of drowning, Detective Bennett immediately dove into the water.  He located the boy, who was now unresponsive, and brought him back to the surface.  Treading water, Detective Bennett began to slap the child’s back until he was able to cough up the water he had ingested and begin to breathe on his own.  Detective Bennett then swam back to the channel bank, reuniting the boy with his family.  Sergeant Bennett is commended for his exceptional actions and timely administration of proper techniques to save this child’s life.
At the Awards Breakfast, the Police Department also premiered a video entitled “Your Police Officer”.  The video can be accessed at

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Newport Beach Police Department
870 Santa Barbara Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Emergency: 9-1-1

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