On Thursday, June 6, the Long Beach Police Department honored city law enforcement members at the 51st annual Police Awards Ceremony presented by the Long Beach Police Foundation.

The event recognizes exemplary work performed by LBPD officers and civilian employees in the last year. 

"Although we are giving awards to specific employees, all of our employees and volunteers are putting in the hard work 24/7," Police Chief Robert Luna said. "This is an opportunity to take a pause and look at the kind of work that has been going on over the last year, even if it is only a small percent of the work being done all year long."

Sworn Employee of the Year winner Detective Eric Hubbard has been a member of the LBPD for 17 years, and is just one of the many officers and civilian employees recognized at the ceremony. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach, he entered the LBPD academy, and since 2017, he has served as a detective in charge of robbery investigations, grand thefts, extortion and vehicle theft.

"I am extremely humbled to be selected because I work among some of the smartest men and women, and they all deserve to be honored," Hubbard said. "I'm really lucky to serve this community."

Hubbard's recognition this year at the awards ceremony is largely due to his work in identifying the perpetrators of an armed robbery in April 2018. The masked and armed suspects had entered a restaurant during operational hours and demanded personal items from employees and customers, Hubbard said, adding that it took weeks of interviewing victims and reviewing security footage to track down those suspects. Five weeks later, Hubbard was able to identify and arrest them.

But, Hubbard said, he thanks God for any professional success he has, as well as bringing him home safely each night.

"Everything I do and where I am now is because of Him," he said.

In addition to his detective work, Hubbard is on the Board of Directors for the California Peace Officers' Memorial Foundation, the associate pastor at Calvery Chapel North Long Beach and is the Police Department Chaplain. As acting chaplain, Hubbard says that he hosts prayer groups for police officers as well as lends a listening ear for anyone on the force who may need it. 

His ministry has taken him outside of Long Beach to provide physical and spiritual help in disaster areas. He traveled to Houston during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas and the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks.

"I'm originally from Thousand Oaks, and that shooting was very close home," he said. "But we showed up and we sat with people and we prayed."

But as much as Hubbard has accomplished, he is only a small piece of the police department puzzle.

Anna Reyes, LBPD administrator, is a civilian employee and recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award for her part in distributing and implementing the field technology for AB953, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015. The program instructs officers to log data (like individual demographic information) for all stops made and submit it to the Attorney General's office each year.

Reyes worked as a mediator between Long Beach's Technology and Innovation Department and LBPD's internal Information Technology Section, to design the platform and distribute mobile devices, which would be used to log the data, to every officer. She also facilitated training sessions and now oversees new officer training for the program.

"it's been a great honor to work with the department," Reyes said. "I think this is a positive shift and we're moving in the right direction, and I'm glad that I could be a part of it."

Hubbard and Reyes were joined by more than two dozen officers, civilian employees and police volunteers who were recognized for their individual contributions to the department. 

For more information about the foundation, go to lbpolicefoundation.org. For information about the Long Beach Police Department, go to longbeach.gov/police.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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