Gila River Police Department holds Awards Banquet
Gila River Indian News
On Dec. 13, 2023, the Gila River Police Department (GRPD) hosted their 2023 awards banquet at the GRPD training headquarters in Chandler, with 94 GRPD officers recognized for their diligence and commitment to public service.
“We are celebrating all the awards that our different officers have done this past year. This is the first year we are celebrating since the pandemic,” said GRPD Chief of Police Jesse Crabtree.
The awards distributed throughout the evening ranged in four categories extending from the 2019 Chief’s Unit Citation Awards to the 2023 Supervisor of the Year, all requiring certain criteria for an officer to be selected for their excellence and bravery.
GRPD Lieutenant Celestina Perez was awarded the 2022 Community Service Award recognizing her significant contribution in representing GRPD as a police officer and as a Community member.
Through her time, actions, talents and dedication outside of her work hours, Perez wanted to establish a better connection of support between the Community and GRPD.
“In that time, I was able to show a lot of support in the Community, attend a lot of the Community functions and represent the department at the same time,” Perez said, “It was important to be seen in the Community; for me, as a Community member to be there, as well as be a representative of the department.”
Perez is a former sergeant, who was promoted in September of 2023 and is the first female Community member to be promoted as Lieutenant Officer.
“I love serving the Community, I feel like it is my home now, working here for 12 years,” said GRPD Detective Rachelle Rodriquez, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Rodriquez currently serves as acting sergeant for the special victims’ unit and was nominated for Officer of the year in 2021.
In 2020, Rodriquez began her career as a detective. Sharing that the support she had from Sergeant William Faulkner, and the learning experiences she gained from that year is what she recognizes as the stepping stones of how she received her award.
“It was just a year of a lot of learning and hard cases, that ended up with good results and justice,” said Rodriquez who explained she’s motivated to help the youth that are mistreated and hopes to continue her work in the justice system with GRPD until she retires.
The award banquet evening ended into the night with GRPD and their families congratulating one another for their accomplishments in public service.