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News Release

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Media Relations

Chief Charlie Beck Presents Ten Officers with the Medal of Valor NA11122SF


Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck will present the Department’s 
highest honor to ten recipients at the 50th Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony. This year’s mistress of ceremonies will be acclaimed actress, Regina King who will vividly narrate and bring to life this year’s stories of heroism.        


Thursday, May 26, 2011
10:45 a.m. Media Availability  
11:30 a.m. Luncheon Begins
12:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony Begins


Kodak Theatre Complex Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland
6801 Hollywood Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90028                                                                       


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck
Actress Regina King, 2011 Medal of Valor Mistress of Ceremonies, TV Series Southland on TNT
Cecilia Glassman, Executive Director Los Angeles Police Foundation
Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Council District 2
Los Angeles Councilmember Dennis Zine, Council District 3
Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Council District 4
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Alan Skobin
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Richard Drooyan
Los Angeles Police Commissioner Debra Wong Yang
Los Angeles Inspector General Nicole Bershon
Actor Michael McGrady, TV Series Southland on TNT
Actor C. Thomas Howell, TV Series Southland on TNT
Actor GW Bailey, TV Series The Closer on TNT 
Actor Robert Gossett, TV Series The Closer on TNT
Actor Tony Denison, TV Series The Closer on TNT
Actor Jon Tenney, TV Series The Closer on TNT
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal
Actor Michael Pena

2011 Medal of Valor Recipients:

Retired Sergeant Dan Gardner
Police Officer Thorsten Timmermans, Southeast Division
Police Officer Owen Berger, Southeast Division
Detective Rafael Acosta, Hollenbeck Division
Detective Daniel Hanabusa, Hollenbeck Division 
Police Officer Custodio Ponce, Hollenbeck Division
Police Officer Rudolph Rivera, Hollenbeck Division
Police Officer Jose Salazar, Hollenbeck Division
Police Officer Benjamin Aguilera, Hollenbeck Division
Police Officer Roy Reza, Hollenbeck Division


To honor exceptional bravery and heroism demonstrated by LAPD officers.
On February 1, 1996, Officer Custodio Ponce and his partner, both assigned to the LAPD’s  Hollenbeck CRASH Unit, were on patrol for gang suppression. While working in the  Ramona  Gardens Housing Project, they were engaged in an officer-involved shooting  during which  Officer Ponce sustained gunshot wounds to his left hip and left leg above the  knee.

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 25, 2008, LAPD’s Hollenbeck Enforcement Detail served a search warrant at a location where a dangerous street gang was suspected of manufacturing and selling illegal narcotics.  Detectives Daniel Hanabusa and Rafael Acosta along with Officers Rudolph Rivera, Jose Salazar, Benjamin Aguilera, and Roy Reza entered the facility and were suddenly attacked by gunfire.

In the early morning hours of November 7, 2007, Officers Owen Berger and Thorsten Timmermans were working Southeast Area patrol when they responded to a call of a man with a gun and two hostages inside a house. When they arrived, they met with Sergeant Dan Gardner and two women who insisted that there were no threats inside the house. Doing their due diligence, they went into the house where a woman had been taken hostage by an armed man. The armed man fired at the officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred. Officer Berger was struck by the suspect’s gunfire in the right arm, the hostage was freed and the suspect was taken into custody.


The Los Angeles Police Foundation will host the 50th Medal of Valor Awards Luncheon and is the largest source of private funding for the LAPD.  The Foundation's mission is to create partnerships to provide resources and programs that help the police improve our communities.  For more information regarding the foundation, please visit:

Some Medal of Valor honorees will be available for print and broadcast interviews prior 
to the awards ceremony on Thursday, May 26, 2011.  Please contact Management 
Analyst Richard French, LAPD Media Relations Section at: or 
(213) 486-5915, or Police Officer Sara Faden at, or (213) 486-5919.

For more information, please contact Media Relations Section at (213) 486-5910. 



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