Those who protect and serve in Merced County gathered Wednesday evening the recognize the best in their field at the 2013 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Awards Dinner.
The event was sponsored by American Legion Merced Post 83, and held at the groups Main Street hall. Those who received the awards were nominated by supervisors in their respective agencies.
Vince Cole, the acting commander of American Legion Merced Post 83, said his group is proud to organize the event every year as a show of gratitude toward law enforcement. These guys put their lives on the line every day to keep citizens safe, Cole said.
This year's honorees included UC Merced Police Officer Stephen Partridge, Los Banos CHP Officer Todd Perreira, Merced County District Attorneys Investigator Andrea Valtierra-Gongora, Sheriffs Correctional Officer John Hendon, Merced CHP Officer Michael Kolodziej, Sheriffs Deputy Lucas Hukill, Los Banos Police Officer Sean Bayard, Merced County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Serratto, Merced Police Detective Paul Johnson, Atwater Police Officer David Walker and Livingston Police Officer Patrick Radke.
The American Legion Merced Post 83 also holds a similiar dinner annually which honors firefighters.