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For the first time in the city’s history, women have
earned the highest honors in all five categories recognized by the Apache Junction Police Department’s
“Women have always been valuable contributors to the
success of the police department’s mission and have won in several award categories,
but this is the first time women have occupied all five spots at the same
time,” Police Chief Thomas E. Kelly said.
The police department recognizes officers and civilians
in the categories of Employee of the Quarter, “Joe Sabitus” Volunteer of the Year,
Police Telecommunications Officer of the Year, Civilian Employee of the Year and
Police Officer of the Year.
Janine Samara was recently named Employee of the Quarter in
part for her attention to detail when she discovered that a person we had in
custody was falsely identifying himself and had felony warrants for his arrest
from another jurisdiction.
Paige Beville was honored with the Volunteer of the Year
Award. Beville was recognized for her selfless dedication as a volunteer at the
Apache Junction Paws and Claws Care Center. Beville created and directed a
fundraising event called “For Pets’ Sake,” which raised more than $60,000 to
help stray and abandoned pets find “fur-ever” homes.
Jessica Kelley was named Police Telecommunications Officer
of the Year. Kelley was recognized for outstanding work performance,
initiative, leadership, effective interpersonal relations, and for presenting
suggestions that resulted in significant improvement of department operations.
Lori Erlandson was chosen as Civilian Employee of the
Year. Erlandson was selected for her work with Paws and Claws Care Center. She
has been the facility’s manager since 2016. She made significant organizational
improvements. Her leadership style increased the center’s visibility and her
advertising efforts brought in an excess of $169,000 in donations.
Detective Stephanie Jewell was chosen as AJPD’s Police
Officer of the Year. Jewell is assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division
and specializes in sex crimes. Her professionalism and dedication to her work
has led to several successful prosecutions, including one high profile case in
which the primary suspect received a 160-year sentence.
“I am extremely pleased and proud when staff performs
their services above and beyond the normal expectations, which is high,” Chief
Kelly said. “Again this year, we have had the pleasure of witnessing our city
employees excel in all areas of public service.
When this happens, we, as a community all benefit. My congratulations to
all these women for a job well done.”
The portion of space on the wall dedicated to honoring
AJPD’s top employees is pretty small, but the impact these women have made on
our department and the city of Apache Junction is immeasurable. Their
leadership and dedication to the department and to the community has launched
them to the top of their respective fields of service. Apache Junction Police
Department and the citizens we serve are better off because of these