DPD Officers Receive ‘Citizens Appreciate Police’ Award

Published on April 14, 2021

DENVER – Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – Today, in a virtual ceremony, the nonprofit organization Citizens Appreciate Police (CAP) recognized seven Denver Police officers and one Mental Health Clinician who demonstrated extraordinary kindness and compassion in helping people in our community. Formed in 1978 by Mayor Bill McNichols and District Attorney Dale Tooley, CAP is a nonprofit organization that recognizes Denver Police officers who serve the public above the regular call of duty. Since its inception, more than 400 officers have received the CAP award.

“The Citizens Appreciate Police Board is thrilled to honor these police officers and clinician,” said President of CAP, Deborah O’Neill. “We know that Denver Police officers consistently take action for the betterment of the Denver community and recognizing these officers demonstrate the true essence of all Denver Police officers.”

Today’s CAP Award honorees are:

Officer Jared Feher – District Five

In September of 2019, Officer Jared Feher contacted a man experiencing homelessness. DPD received many calls about the man and his broken-down car. The man was frustrated with police who he felt were harassing him unnecessarily, even though residents kept calling police about the situation. Officer Feher built a rapport with the man and learned that he was living out of his vehicle, which was inoperable. Thinking outside the box, Officer Feher contacted Lincoln College of Technology – a technology college – and they agreed to fix the vehicle for the man – free of charge! The vehicle was repaired, returned to the man and the calls from residents about the man and his vehicle stopped. Thanks to Officer Feher, the man has a running vehicle and a friend at DPD.

Officer William Rider – District Five

In November of 2019, Denver Police Officer William Rider responded to a crash involving a juvenile who was riding a bicycle. While the kid’s bike was damaged, luckily the boy wasn’t hurt. Officer Rider took time to check on the boy and learned they had a lot in common. A few weeks later, he stopped by his house to check up on him and gift him with a DPD lanyard, which the boy loved. Around the holidays, Officer Rider stopped by again, but this time he gave the mom money for a new bike for the boy.

Officer Derek Hancock – DPD Airport Police Division

In March of 2020, Officer Derek Hancock was working at the Denver International Airport when he was alerted about a traveler who was causing a disturbance. The traveler was upset because he missed the flight that he was taking to attend a funeral out of state. While the airline agreed to refund the man the money for the flight, they refused to allow him to fly with them. Officer Hancock helped him find a new airline, but when the traveler tried to pay, his credit card was declined. Recognizing the importance of the traveler attending the funeral, Officer Hancock used his own money to purchase the ticket.

Officers Matthew Grimsley and Saira Mendoza and Clinician Heather Crawford – District Three

In May of 2020, Denver Police Officers Matthew Grimsley and Saira Mendoza were called to a person throwing objects at vehicles driving on Interstate 25. There they contacted a young man who lives with cognitive delays. Rather than arrest him, the officers reached out to Heather Crawford, a DPD co-responder and clinician with the Mental Health Center of Denver, for assistance. Clinician Crawford and the officers learned that due to COVID-19, the young man was not receiving the regular treatments he needed. They found some additional resources for him, including a gaming device to keep him occupied. The mom was moved beyond words that these three worked so hard to improve the quality of life for her son. She has since invited them back to visit.

Officer Patrick Smith – District Five

In June of 2020, a woman whose son who was murdered 25 years ago, reached out to the detective of the open case. She called to share that on the anniversary of her son’s death, a day of sadness, Denver Police Officer Patrick Smith from District Five brought her joy. Officer Smith stopped by to bring her flowers and a card, and to let her know that he was thinking of her and her family on this difficult day.

Corporal Noberto Ricardo – District Four

In August of 2020, Corporal Noberto Ricardo learned that a resident living in District Four had a birthday party for his son and no one attended it. Corporal Ricardo jumped into action – arranging a police parade with 10 police units and a Denver Health ambulance. After the parade, with the financial assistance of Police Officer Julian Simon, Corporal Ricardo and Officer Smith presented the birthday boy with gifts they purchased for his special day.

“Every day, Denver Police officers find means to enhance the quality of life of members of the Denver community,” said Denver Chief of Police Paul M. Pazen. “I thank the CAP Board for their continued efforts to ensure our officers are recognized for the positive impacts they make.”

The CAP Board, consisting of 16 citizen volunteers, meets four times a year to review nominations, select recipients, and present awards. Each award winner receives a pin that is worn on the officer's uniform and a plaque. Community members wishing to commend an officer for their actions, either on or off duty, can send a nomination letter to: Citizens Appreciate Police, 1331 Cherokee St. Room 202, Denver, CO 80204. Nominations can also be emailed directly to the CAP Board at CAPBoardDenver@gmail.com.