CHIEF-GA LEO AWARDSMiami-Dade Schools Police Department officers were honored during the 14th Annual Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) Awards Gala held at Jungle Island on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

The Law Enforcement Officers Charitable Foundation, Inc. was established in 1998 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization by Donald Carlin, a non-law enforcement individual who saw the need to support our Miami-Dade County law enforcement community for their tireless effort in protecting and serving this community. Its mission is to honor the dedicated and courageous men and women within the law enforcement community of Miami-Dade County, as well as to provide funding for the Police Officers Assistance Trust (POAT) and other charitable organizations. The LEO Foundation works in conjunction with the Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police whose members include federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecuting officials.

This year, the LEO Gala Awards Committee selected Captain William Tagle, Detective Steven Hadley, Detective Tracey Moore, Detective Gylmar Ochoa, Officer David Thompson, Officer Gregory Williams, Officer Ronald Ferguson, and Officer Bernise Charley as finalists for an Investigative Services Award. The Investigative Service Award nomination for our team of law enforcement professionals comes as a result of their efforts in the location and arrest of a violent sexual attacker and robbery suspect, who brutally beat his female victim. The victim refused to become an easy target and her efforts helped officers arrest the subject.

Captain Carlos Fernandez and Lieutenant Raul Correa were nominated for an award in the Support Services category for their professionalism and effective management of the Administrative Division of the agency. Fernandez and Correa have been charged with the training, hiring, fleet management and operating procedures among other areas.

Captain William Tagle, Lieutenant David Rodak, K-9 Sergeant Rey Perez, K-9 Officer Victor Hernandez and Detective John Messenger were chosen as finalists in the Multi-Agency Task Force category. The “Tagle Team” successfully investigated and arrested several suspects dealing in the sale and distribution of ecstasy drugs. Their investigation led to the further arrests of felons for narcotics sales, firearm possession by felons and criminal enterprise.

Our biggest winner of the night was Officer Gerardo Alayon, who received the Uniform Services Award. Thanks to his keen intuition and interviewing skills, Alayon was able to establish a rapport with a teenage student involved in a fight, only to discover that the young girl was a victim herself of “human trafficking” and forced prostitution. The ensuing investigation led to the arrest of the male subjects for their exploitation of the young victim.

We say congratulations to everyone who was nominated and those who won the awards. However, we want to thank everyone in our department because without the cooperation of every single member of our Miami-Dade Schools Police, none of these tasks would have been possible. Thank you and congratulations.

Published by the Public Information & Community Affairs Office, M-DSPD