The 2013 Peace Officer of the Year Awards were presented during a special event hosted by the Colusa Rotary Club in November. The event recognizes Colusa County’s best to shine and be acknowledged for their professional excellence and dedication to our communities.
One recipient from each of the five law enforcement agencies was selected and awarded an appreciation plaque from the Colusa Rotary, and a joint Resolution by the members of the California State Assembly.
Williams Police Department
Officer Eduardo A. Barajas was selected as the Williams Peace Officer of the Year for 2013 for his contribution to the department and his skills in investigating serious and complex crimes.
Barajas graduated from the Sacramento Police Department Police Academy in 2009 and joined the Williams Police Department in 2010. During his career, he has been assigned as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, and is been instrumental in combating gang issues within the city.
“Barajas displays strong teamwork qualities and is always willing to aid others with their duties,” commented Williams Police Chief, Jim Saso, “he treats both citizens and peers with respect, courtesy, fairness and understanding.”
Barajas leads the Williams Police Department in arrests and citations, and expresses a strong interest in becoming a detective for the agency.
Colusa Police Department
Officer Chad LeBlanc is selected as the Colusa Peace Officer of the Year for 2013 for his work within the community and through his dedication with the Colusa School District. He provides a positive role model for other officers within his department.
LeBlanc graduated from the Butte College Basic Police Academy in 2009 and joined the Colusa Police Department in 2012.
LeBlanc was assigned as Patrol Officer and he quickly took lead with in-custody arrests.
LeBlanc also opened a direct line of communication between the Colusa city Schools and the police department providing a positive police presence, ensuring prompt responses to school problems about violence, drugs, and other law violations. LeBlanc also aids Colusa High School students with their senior projects and organized a “Community Friends” event at Burchfield Elementary School.
LeBlanc has attended the state narcotics and drug recognition training and has volunteered for the ‘Avoid the Nine’ DUI Campaign. He also takes part in DUI Checkpoints, DUI warrant sweeps and probation and parole searches.
“Officer LeBlanc is a role model for other officers within our department to follow,” said Colusa Police Chief, Ross Stark, “he works well with his peers and other members of allied agencies. LeBlanc has already made positive strides with his work as a school resource officer.”
Colusa County Sheriff’s Department
Deputy Sheriff Arnoldo “Arnold” Navarro is selected as the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office Peace Officer of the year for 2013 for performing at an excellent level in various assignments.
Navarro has held assignments as bailiff, Field Training Officer, SOAR Team member Tribal Land community Officer, Arbuckle Community Officer and now as a Detective in the Investigations Unit.
Navarro ha recently pass the promotional process for Sergeant and will be promoted when the next vacancy opens.
Colusa County Probation Department
Deputy Probation Officer Paul J. Rainsbarger was selected as the Colusa County Probation Department Peace Officer of the Year for 2013 for the highest commendations for his dedication and professionalism over the span of his career.
Rainsbarger graduated in 2004 from the California State at Hayward where he obtained his degree in Criminal Justice. He was then hired by the Colusa County Probation Department in 2006.
Rainsbarger has been involved with implementing the Community Corrections Partnership and the Public Safety Realignment Act. He currently supervises the Department high risk offenders as well as post release community supervision clients and split sentenced probationers.
In addition, Rainsbarger was assigned to the Colusa County Narcotics Drug Task Force and demonstrated his effectiveness as being a collaborative partner with multiple law enforcement agencies. He recently completed POST Range Master Training and appointed as the Departments Range Master and teaches the importance of officer safety and firearm proficiency.
California Highway Patrol
Officer Justin Sherwood is selected by the Williams Area California Highway Patrol as their Peace Officer of the Year for 2013 for his consistency in performing duties professionally while engaging commitment, character and integrity.
Sherwood has served with the California Highway Patrol for over 13 years and has worked in the Westminster, Capistrano, and Williams commands.
Sherwood strives to advance the safety of the community. He has taken on the extra tasks and responsibilities as the commands Area Training officer, Evidence officer, Accident Investigation Review Officer, Vehicle Identification Number Officer and the California Law Enforcement Challenge Coordinator.
Sherwood was recognized twice this past year by receiving two commendable incident reports and receiving letters of application praising his kindness, compassion and professionalism.
“Officer Sherwood takes a great deal of pride in his work and is committed to the department,” said California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Commander E.L. Walker, “Officer Sherwood is deserving of this Award.”
Sherwood has also served as the vice president of the nonprofit 520 Squad Club, granting money locally for scholarships and towards the sober graduation at Colusa High School.