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Security, Fire Personnel Honored by LBPD

June 17, 2016

At the 48th Annual Long Beach Police Awards, held June 8 at Cal State Long Beach’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center, two members of the Port’s Security Division were honored by the Long Beach Police Department. In addition, six members of the LBPD’s Port Police Division and eight Fire and Marine Safety officers were recognized for bravery.

Harbor Patrol Officer Tyree Jones was honored with a Meritorious Award for Bravery for rescuing a driver from a burning car on the 710 Freeway in November 2015, and Office Systems Analyst Giovanni Sergi received the 2016 Community Partner Award for his work partnering with LBPD during the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Honored with a Meritorious Award for Bravery were LBPD Port Police Officers Gregory Jensen, Richard Lubchenko, Aaron Mascorro, Bo Pak, Ryan Peterson and Eddie Urquiza, along with Fire Captains James Owen and Mike Romero, Fireboat Operator John Knight, Fire Engineer Gary Schall, Firefighter Steve Tallosi, Marine Safety Sergeants Don Wetteland and Ian Wenger, and Marine Safety Office Trevor Wawrzynski. Their award came for their efforts in preventing a loose barge from colliding with an oil platform during high winds last fall.

Congratulations to these award winners for their outstanding work and thank you to all of our security and fire personnel for keeping us and the public safe each day.

Read the individual citations from the Police Awards below:

Harbor Patrol Officer Tyree Jones

On the morning of Wednesday, November 18, 2015, Harbor Patrol Officer Tyree Jones was driving southbound on the 710 Freeway at Anaheim Street when he saw a car on fire on the northbound side of the freeway. Officer Jones immediately exited the freeway and then got back on the northbound lanes and parked behind the burning car.

Upon his arrival, he saw the back end of the car was engulfed in flames and the driver was leaning into the backseat grabbing personal items and talking incoherently. The flames had moved into the passenger area and, without regard for his own safety, Officer Jones approached the car, physically removed the man from the car and moved him to a safe location. The flames from the car were so intense that the man’s hair had begun to burn, so Officer Jones used his hands to stop it from smoldering. When the man told him he was on his way to see his wife at the hospital, Officer Jones remembered seeing a wheelchair in the back seat of the car and feared there may be a disabled passenger still trapped inside. As Officer Jones grabbed his fire extinguisher, the man returned to the car to try and remove additional personal items. Officer Jones pulled him away from the fully engulfed car and double-checked to ensure there were no other occupants. Once he cleared the car, he attempted to extinguish the flames until Fire Department personnel arrived on scene.

Harbor Patrol Officer Jones is to be commended for his quick and decisive actions and for placing himself at risk to ensure the safety of the motorist.

Office Systems Analyst Giovanni Sergi

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the largest annual event held in the City of Long Beach attracting nearly 200,000 spectators to a massive venue around the downtown shoreline. The Long Beach Police Department is responsible for the challenging task of managing security for the event and relies extensively on partnerships in both the public and private sector to ensure the public’s safety. One our most critical community partners has recently been the Port of Long Beach and specifically, Giovanni Sergi.

For the past several years Giovanni (Gio) Sergi has been the Police Department’s liaison with the Port for this and other events. Gio works tirelessly on logistical and technical support that are critical in creating a safe environment at these events. During the long, exhausting week of the Long Beach Grand Prix Gio can be counted on to come in at any hour (and often on his own time) to fulfill all of the Police Department’s requests and ensure all of the Port’s assets are working properly. Despite sacrificing his own time away from his family, Gio always has a huge smile, a quick wit and an inspiring attitude.

For his continuing commitment to the Long Beach Police Department, we recognize Giovanni Sergi with the 2016 Community Partner Award.

LBPD Officer Gregory Jensen
Officer Richard Lubchenko
Officer Aaron Mascorro
Officer Bo Pak
Officer Ryan Peterson
Officer Eddie Urquiza

Fire Capt. James Owen
Fire Capt. Mike Romero
Fireboat Operator John Knight
Fire Engineer Gary Schall
Firefighter Steve Tallosi
Marine Safety Sgt. Don Wetteland
Marine Safety Sgt. Ian Wenger
Marine Safety Officer Trevor Wawrzynski

On November 16, 2015, Long Beach Port Police Division officers were patrolling the Port of Long Beach in their boat. They received a call that a loose barge, which had broken free of its anchor, was heading towards an oil platform, and was less than half a mile away. The approximate 300-foot-long by 40-foot-wide barge, which stood 30 feet out of the water, had broken free due to sustained high winds of 30 miles per hour and was drifting at 6 knots directly in the path of the oil platform.

When the Port Police boat and the Long Beach Fire Department’s Lifeguard boat arrived and assessed the situation, it was apparent the barge was going to collide with the oil platform. The Marine Safety officers on the Lifeguard boat notified the oil platform crew of the impending danger and began working to evacuate the crew. At the same time, the Port Police officers determined it would be worth attempting to use their vessel to stop or alter the course of the runaway barge. The officers reached the barge, and placed their vessel against the center of the barge. With the wind at a constant 30 mph and with 3- to 4-foot waves, they had difficulty keeping contact with the barge and were bounced off and around. Eventually they were able to make solid and consistent contact with the barge and slow its drift.

Eventually, the barge not only slowed, but was also re-directed away from the oil platform. Fireboat Challenger also responded and its crew assisted the police boat with helping to keep the barge in place until a responding tugboat arrived. The Marine Safety officers were able to safely evacuate all personnel from the oil platform.

Due to the quick thinking, coordinated efforts of all involved, and immediate actions of highly trained personnel, a near catastrophe was avoided and our environment was protected. For their extraordinary efforts while placing themselves at risk, the Long Beach Police and Fire Department personnel involved in this incident are recognized and presented with a Meritorious Award for Bravery.

Photo caption: Office Systems Analyst Giovanni Sergi, Commander Randy Allen, Port Police Division, LBPD, Harbor Patrol Officer Tyree Jones.

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