Officer Tony Presgraves has been named the city's Police Officer of the Year for 2011. He has been with the Manhattan Beach Police Department for nine years.
“Officer Presgraves’ dedication to the police department, Manhattan Beach, and his co-workers is greatly appreciated," said Mayor Nick Tell. "He exemplifies our city’s commitment to community-based policing."
Presgraves, a patrol officer, is known for his effective interviews, the "Presgraves Cam," arresting DUI drivers, and his compassion, according to city officials.
"During one traffic stop, he was able to get the driver to admit that he was in possession of several hundred pirated DVDs," said City Manager Dave Carmany in a statement. "The suspect, who was a 'third striker,' wrote a letter to the Police Department to thank Officer Presgraves for his professionalism."
Pregraves' skills were also heralded for a investigation that led to the discovery of an alleged sexual assault and the arrest of a suspect, according to Carmany's statement.
"While investigating a missing person’s report of a 13-year-old girl, Officer Presgraves and his trainee, Officer Swanson, learned that the girl had returned home. During the interview of the juvenile’s mother, Officers Presgraves and Swanson searched the juvenile’s cell phone, which the mother had in her possession. Based on what he had discovered during this search, Officer Presgraves had some suspicions and initiated an investigation. Through the investigation it was discovered the 13-year-old was a victim of a sexual assault by an adult. The suspect was arrested and charged with several crimes."
As a patrol officer, Presgraves uses a scorpion camera to support his DUI arrests. The small camera is known to capture evidence that his in-car video may not. Los Angeles District attorneys who file the city’s DUI cases refer to the scorpion camera as the “Presgraves Cam.”
"Officer Presgraves is a huge asset to the Manhattan Beach Police Department, and most times, it goes unnoticed," said Carmany. "Countless times, Officer Presgraves has gone above and beyond to help someone else, without being asked, and most important, without looking for recognition."
Examples of Presgrave's concern for others are listed as follows:
On a cold night, when Officer Presgraves learned that a homeless man was sleeping on the cement with no blanket, shoes or socks, he brought him a sleeping bag, pair of own socks, and a duffel bag filled with toiletries and snacks.
And when the Hawthorne Police Department was grieving the death of Officer Andrew Garton, who died in a motorcycle collision on May 26 while escorting MBPD Officer Mark Vasquez' funeral procession from MB to Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, Presgraves volunteered his time and money to provide a BBQ dinner to members of the department, without telling anyone.
“Officer Presgraves is an exceptional police officer who is truly dedicated to the citizens and community he serves," said MB Police Chief Eve Irvine. "I can always count on Tony to do the right thing.”
Presgraves is also known for his sense of humor, his ability to make people laugh and his willing participation in practical jokes, according to Carmany.
Pregraves was selected by the police department's Merit Awards Committee, which consists of personnel from each division within the police department, according to Bernadette Gradney, executive secretary for the police chief's office.