Military

Denver Police Officers Foundation honors officers who served in military

DENVER — The Denver Police Officers Foundation honored 12 members of the Denver Police Department who have also served in the military Wednesday.

“In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, thousands of reservists and National Guard members across the country were mobilized and deployed,” Chief Paul Pazen said.

Pazen told the audience he would not be where he is today had it not been for his time in the U.S. Marines.

“The Marine Corps absolutely instilled the discipline that I needed as a young person in order to fulfill this role,” Pazen said.

Below are the officers who were recognized:

• Ret. Officer Dennis Awe, who currently serves as a civilian crash report technician in the Traffic Bureau. Awe served in the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Colorado Air National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Lt. Kenneth Chavez, currently assigned to District 6. Chavez was mobilized on three separate year-long mobilizations in the aftermath of 9/11.

• Det. Jon Crowe, currently assigned to the Investigative Support Division. Crowe served in the rank of sergeant first class in the 220th Military Police Company, Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Det. Eric Denke, currently serving in the Major Crimes Division, Safe Streets Task Force. Denke was mobilized on two separate occasions for Operation Enduring Freedom and for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Lt. Kevin Edling, currently assigned to District 3. Edling was mobilized on two separate occasions, for Operation Noble Eagle and for Operation Inherent Resolve.

• Officer John Ha, currently assigned to District 6. Ha served in the rank of staff sergeant in the 302nd Forward Support Squadron, U.S. Air Force Reserve during his deployment to Kuwait for Operation Inherent Resolve.

• Officer Robert Martinez Jr. currently assigned to District 1. Martinez Jr. served in the rank of sergeant in the 793rd Medical Detachment, 18th Airborne Corps, U.S. Army Reserves during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Det. John Robledo, currently assigned to the DEA Front Range Task Force. Robledo served in the rank of master sergeant in the 140th Security Forces Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard during his deployment to Qatar for Operations Freedom Sentinel and Inherent Resolve.

• Cpl. Karl Roller, currently serving in District 1. Roller was mobilized on two separate occasions for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Sgt. Joseph Vasquez, currently assigned to District 6. Vasquez served in the rank of hospital corpsman, 2nd Class with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Division during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

• Tech. Brian Wallace, currently assigned to Denver International Airport. Wallace served in the rank of sergeant first class in the Counter-intelligence Detachment, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

• Det. Michael Wheeler, currently assigned to District 4 Investigations. Wheeler served in the rank of specialist – flight medic in G Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

They also took a moment to recognize and honor Denver police Officer Larry Wayne Pankey, who died on Oct. 3, 2005 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while undergoing medical treatment after his deployment to Iraq. Pankey died from complications of a rare disease while on military deployment and serving in the U.S. Army.

“Military service is extremely important in the police department in leadership, responsibility, stewardship, taking care of your officers, accomplishing a mission are all important factors you learn in the military and you can directly correlate to the police department in service to your community,” said Chavez, who serves as the president of the Denver Police Officers Foundation.

That carries over to his work with the foundation.

“Our mission is to assist officers when they need it most in times of great need, medical emergencies and death. Our officers are always there to help the citizens. Our group helps officers when they need it most,” Chavez said.

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