"One of their own [forensic specialists] had been critically
injured [in the crash], so they were short-handed," Payson said of
the Glendale department. "They were looking for additional help."
Payson and Patchett collected evidence from inside one of the
derailed train cars. They also photographed and took evidence from
two places where Juan Manuel Alvarez was before and after the crash.
Alvarez, 25, was charged with 11 counts of murder and one count of
arson causing great bodily injury for allegedly placing his Jeep
Grand Cherokee on the railroad tracks, triggering the derailment.
For that work, the specialists were awarded the Professional
Esteem Award from the Burbank department.
The pair were surprised they received the award because they felt
they were just doing what they were trained to do, said Payson, who
has been with the Burbank police for four years.
"We did feel honored that Glendale called us to ask for our
assistance," Payson said.
Police Chief Thomas Hoefel handed out Professional Esteem Awards
and Police Medals at the March 1 City Council meeting. Six police
officers and three civilian employees received honors.
The department gives out the awards after an incident or situation
has been reviewed and evaluated, Burbank police spokesman Sgt. Jay
"It may be several months from the time of the incident until it
is recognized," Jette said. "The awards for the Glendale train
derailment are the fastest I've seen."
The Police Medal is given to recognize an officer's exceptional
judgment or tactics in a stressful situation. The Professional Esteem
Award recognizes judgment in a nonlife-threaten- ing situation.
Communications supervisor Michelle McCord received the
Professional Esteem Award for her handling of a 911 call in January
from Michael Beauregard, who was later charged with stabbing and
killing his mother, Cora Beauregard.
Officer Jeffrey Barcus received the Police Medal for chasing and
catching a burglary suspect in December 2004. While wrestling with
the man, Barcus removed a loaded gun from the man's hands.
Sgt. Tom Kister received the Police Medal for talking a man out of
committing suicide Jan. 22 as the man sat on a sign ledge above the
Golden State (5) Freeway.
Sgt. Kevin Grandalski received the Professional Esteem Award and
Officers Chris Canales and Fernando Munoz received the Police Medal
for their judgment in a September 2002 incident in which they shot
Carl Strunk after he pointed a handgun at them.
Strunk was later sentenced to life in prison for the attempted
murder of a police officer.
Det. Brent Dyrness received the Professional Esteem Award for his
help in the 1991 prosecution case of murder victim Lori Nieri.