On Wednesday, January 23, the Wilshire Rotary Club of Los Angeles honored local first responders from LAPD’s Wilshire Division and LAFD Station 29. Police Officer Jessica Neal and her partner, Officer Carlos Vasquez, along with Engineer Chris Swailes of LAFD, were presented with the Rotary’s Public Service Award for going above and beyond the call of duty.
The officers were chosen by their superiors to receive the awards.
According to information provided by LAPD to the Rotary, Neal was born and raised in upstate New York and attended the State University of New York Oswego, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications. She moved to LA and joined LAPD in 2007. During her 11-year LAPD career, said the statement, Neal has received 44 commendations from the community and her superiors. During her tenure, she has worked a variety of assignments such as patrol, gangs and the juvenile unit; and is currently working Wilshire’s Division’s Domestic Abuse Response Team car, where her duties consist of investigating domestic violence restraining order violations, child concealment, and domestic violence/family violence. Neal “routinely assists domestic abuse victims who face hardship and emotional trauma,” said the statement. “She educates victims as to what support services are available, such as temporary shelter, therapy, and support groups. Jessica also takes on the leadership role by providing advice to patrol officers who respond domestic abuse radio calls.”
Meanwhile, Vasquez was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles and attended Daniel Murphy Catholic High School here in Wilshire Division. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served for eight years, including a deployment to Iraq. After his deployment, Vasquez continued his education at Cal State LA and received his Bachelors of Science degree. Vasquez also joined LAPD in 2007, and since then has received 40 commendations from the community and his superiors. He has worked a variety of uniform and investigative assignments and, with Neal, is currently working Wilshire’s Domestic Abuse Response Team car. The LAPD statement says about both officers that their “commitment to domestic violence victims is unwavering. Because of [their] outstanding efforts in effective investigations and prosecutions, which led to a reduction of domestic violence in the city, the Los Angeles City Domestic Violence Task Force presented [them] with the Outstanding Service to Domestic Violence Victims Award.”
And finally, LAFD Engineer Chris Swailes was awarded for his years of distinguished service keeping the apparatus ready for service and mentoring his fellow first responders. Captain Frank Larez also commended Engineer Swailes for choosing to commute from Saugus to serve the City of Los Angeles.
Larez and LAPD Captain Anthony Oddo made the presentations for their respective departments at the Rotary luncheon on Wednesday.