Edmonds Police Department hands out annual honors

May 25, 2018

The 17th Annual Awards Night last week was an opportunity for the Edmonds Police Department to recognize its members for their special contributions to law enforcement during thee past year.

It’s also was an opportunity to recognize members of the community who have been instrumental as individuals, or as part of volunteer groups, assisting the police with their mission.


Douglas Hortin

While working in his garage, Douglas Hortin heard loud noise outside his house. He recognized the noise was coming from a passing car. He noticed a car driving by with the front bumper hanging and rubbing against a tire.

He jumped in his car and followed it, realizing it had just been in a crash.

Hortin found the car in a dead end, with the driver already walking away. He probably would have called 911, but he had forgotten his phone at home. Still not willing to let it go, he drove home, called 911 and then drove back to the area to show incoming officers the car and ultimately identified the suspect.

It turns out the suspect who fled not only had hit another car, but also a pedestrian walking towards the crash scene to check for injuries. He was ultimately charged with hit and run.

Heather James

While out driving, Heather James noticed smoke coming from a home in the 20600 block of 80th Avenue West. She didn’t see any flames, but knew the house was on fire. She assumed someone had probably called 911, but stopped anyway when she realized no one was outside.

As she did, she saw children without shoes walking out of the smoke-filled house. She called 911 at that point, which was actually the first call they had received.

While on the phone with 911, one of the kids went back inside and grabbed a fire extinguisher. James could see large flames in the kitchen and realized the fire extinguisher was not going to be enough to put out the flames.

Once outside the residence, Heather stayed with the children until the parents arrived.

However, Heather didn’t stop there. She began requesting donations for the family on social media to help take care of any needs they might have moving forward.

Special Award – Business Recognition

This award went to North Sound Church, who bring treats to the police station.

They are constantly bringing us treats as a way of showing their support. However, their generosity goes beyond the weekly treats.

The church also has provided funding for short term housing for domestic violence victims.

And in 2016, the church made a sizable donation to Cpl. Damian Smith and the air wing of 760 troops, for operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Enduring Freedom, stationed in Qatar.


Detective Julie Govantes

Govantes has been part of the department’s recruiting team, including work at job fairs and hiring panels, as well as being the face on many recruiting flyers.

Govantes has been a big advocate of community engagement and has helped raise money for the Special Olympics through volunteering for special events.

Cpl. Aaron Greenmun

Geenmun took over as the training corporal and launched a reformatted in-service training for all the officers in the department, a large undertaking. He updating the training room, adding the U.S. and state flags, commissioned a mural for the front of the room and switched out the projector and adding a presentation podium.

Greenmun continues to be a resource for the Edmonds School District and teach the DARE program for Maplewood School. He also is active outside the department, using his vacation time to lead a kayaking event for young cancer patients and survivors.

Officer Greg Mills

During the last year, Mills has been out on light duty, twice due to injury. Each time, he has been assigned to the Record Unit. His work during that time has been nothing short of exceptional.

During his first stint, Mills went through over 50,000 paper case reports to isolate that ones we needed to keep, and which ones we could destroy according to state guidelines. That allowed the department to clear up valuable space and completely remodel the records area, a project long overdue.

In his second light duty tour, Officer Mills took on an even more daunting project – he went through 50 years of microfiche. After finishing that project, he moved to over 20 boxes of 35mm photos from case reports in the 1990s.

Officer Brittany Johnsen

In March of 2017, a frantic call was placed to 911. A woman was screaming that her husband was bleeding at a local motel, and there were very few details about what had happened.

Johnsen was the first officer to respond. She arrived and found a man in the passenger seat of his vehicle. He was barely conscious, extremely pale and bleeding profusely.

Recognizing this was life threatening medical emergency, Johnsen used a tourniquet she carries and applied it to the man’s leg. It was enough to stop the massive hemorrhaging and buy time for the aid crews to come in and start more advanced live-saving measures.

Detectives Andy Mehl and Julie Govantes

Detectives Mehl and Govantes were assigned to a brutal stabbing case during the summer of 2017. One victim was found in an apartment parking lot when patrol units arrived. He had a stab wound to the abdomen. The second victim was found inside his apartment. He had 11 stab wounds and was nearly dead. He was stabilized at Harborview Medical Center.

The detectives were able to identify the suspect and got a family member to provide key information about him. After another round of interviews and some keen detective work, they figured out that the suspect had been driven out of state.

Mehl was able to track the suspect all the way to Pasadena, California. Law enforcement in that area found the suspect and arrested him based on the information Detective Mehl had uncovered. Mehl flew to Los Angeles, where the suspect was being held and admitted to the stabbing. He was ultimately sent back to Snohomish County to stand trial for two counts of first-degree assault.

Fire Captain Christopher Karg

Karg, with South Snohomish County Fire and Rescue employees, wrestled a gun away from a suspect who was trying to take it from an Edmonds Police officer.

Officers Earl Yamane, Douglas Compton, Sgt. Ken Ploeger, Lynnwood Officer Zach Byrd, Officer Patrick Clark, Robert Peck, Dietrich Borst and Sgt. David Machado.

The officers responded to man setting a house of fire on Olympic View Drive.


Officer Robert Peck, Patrick Clark and Dietrich Borst, along with Sgt. Davd Machado.


Police Chaplain Ken Gaydos

For over 40 years, Gaydos has been the face of the Chaplain program in Snohomish County.


Cmdr. Jim Collins and Adjutant Cmdr. Les Abel of American Legion Post 66 in Edmonds.

The post isa a strong supporter of Edmonds PD; in the recent years, it has provided the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation dinner. In more recent years, it has partnered with the police as it recognize its employees of the year.

Executive Assistant Caroline Thompson

Thompson has her hands in virtually every aspect of running the police department. In recent years, public disclosure has become a big part of her job. She completes all requests for personnel records and emails. Some of the requests she completes take months of work and require a very high level of detail.

Caroline was last selected for this award in 2014.


Sgt. Ken Ploeger

Ploeger, who runs the Street Crimes Unit, is entering his 28th year with the Edmonds Police Department.

Ploeger has had a big part in many recent cases. He played an active role in the stabbing case from the summer, a house fire and a homicide from January. He and his unit have tracked down felons throughout the county for major cases, in partnership with the detective unit.

Ploeger has recently taken over as department range master.



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