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Posted on: June 5, 2019

Women Earn Honors

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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 awards committee. 


“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.

women of AJPD

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 extraordinary women. 

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