By Joyce Rudolph
Doreen Wydra has her own story about being grateful to the Burbank Police Department.
When her 94-year-old great-aunt went missing from her home after an accident, Wydra turned to the police to find her and they did — in only about 45 minutes — at a local hospital.
So as president of the Magnolia Park Optimist Club, she wholeheartedly supports her group’s annual Respect for Law program.
This year five employees from the department were honored during a dinner at the Elks Lodge.
“This award is so little thank you for all they do. God bless them for all they do!” said Wydra. “We should even do this more.”
Police Chief Scott LaChasse served as master of ceremonies and told the audience what makes the department a success is teamwork.
“And that’s the approach we take at the Burbank Police Department,” he said. “We stay together, work together and prosper together and it is truly a team and I think the entire community benefits from the team effort of the department.”
Adam Baumgarten received the Detective of the Year. He is a Burbank native and graduate of John Burroughs High School. He was in the U.S. Air Force and served in Iraq. He joined the Burbank Police Department in 2005 and has served as a patrol officer and was a member of the Crime Impact Team and Gang Enforcement Team.
Baumgarten was promoted to detective in 2013. He is considered highly proactive in the enforcement of crimes involving gangs. He also is considered a department expert in surveillance technologies and is highly respected by supervisors and peers as a knowledgeable investigator and team player.
Michele Larson is the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year for the second time. She first received the honor in 2009.
She graduated from Burbank High School and is married to jailer Glen Larson. She joined the Burbank Police Department in February 1992 and over the years has served as Communications Operator, Data Entry Operator, Police Technician, Network Systems Analyst I and Network Analyst II.
In July 2004, she was assigned to the city’s Information Technology Department and returned to the police department in November 2007 as a Crime Analyst. She is the department’s Operational/Administrative Crime Analyst, and is the department’s leading expert of the Tiburon Total Command Computer System. Michele is also responsible for compiling, verifying and reporting the department’s crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Police Officer Cindy Guillen was named Co-Officer of the Year. She has a daughter, Natalia.
She earned a master’s degree in criminal justice and has served as a Police Explorer. She became a police officer in 2000 and has worked the park detail in addition to being a defensive tactics instructor and Explorer advisor.
She also served as a Community Resource Officer from 2011 to 2015. Community Resource Officers are liaisons between the public and the police department in helping to resolve community problems. In that role, she has assisted with organizing the Community Academy (in Spanish and English), National Night Out and Police-Fire Service Day.
Guillen is the contact person for neighbor disputes and mediation with the city attorney and other law enforcement offices. She is the public information officer for the Spanish-speaking media. She also is the Regional Occupational Program & Youth Academy Instructor, providing information about a vocation such as law enforcement to high school juniors and seniors.
The other Co-Officer of the Year is Police Officer Joshua Kendrick. He and his wife, Dawna, have two daughters. His brother, Aaron Kendrick, and brother-in-law, Neil Gunn Jr., are also in law enforcement.
Kendrick will complete a master’s degree in criminal justice this summer. He began with the Burbank Police Department as a recruit in January 2006 and became a police officer in June 2006. In 2011, he started as a Community Resource Officer performing such duties as recruitment, press information including social media, conducting the Community Academy, handling community complaints and event organizing for National Night Out, Police-Fire Service Day, Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop and others.
John Kemmerer is the Police Department Volunteer of the Year. He has lived in Burbank since 1971 and has been married to his wife, Lyn, for more than 50 years.
He attended one of the first Burbank Police Department Community Academies in 2001. He became a Burbank Police Department Volunteer in 2007 and has spent most of his volunteer time at the front counter helping the public. He also volunteers time to the Burbank Animal Shelter, the Hoof & Woof Walk to benefit the K-9 and mounted police units, Baker to Vegas Race and the Burbank Police Officer Assn.’s Golf Tournament. Recently, he began training new police department volunteers.
In 2015 alone, he logged 548 volunteer hours at the Burbank Police Department.