American Legion honors county’s finest

By From page A2 | March 3, 2011

El Dorado County’s finest were honored Wednesday night at the 48th annual American Legion Peace Officer Night.

The ceremony — which honors the best and brightest from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, Placerville area California Highway Patrol and Placerville Police Department — drew a big crowd eager to eat, drink and be merry all while paying tribute to the men and women of local law enforcement.

The event, sponsored by the American Legion El Dorado Post 119, drew several local luminaries including Supervisor Ray Nutting, Sheriff John D’Agostini, police Capt. Mike Scott and CHP area commander Lt. Chuck King.

Wednesday night, three peace officers — one from each agency — were honored by the American Legion for going above and beyond the call of duty.

The event started with Nutting taking the podium and thanking the local American Legion post for its community involvement. The supervisor then pledged his support to local law enforcement.

“We are committed to make sure the public keeps safe,” he said.

Police Capt. Scott was introduced to honor the PPD Officer of the Year recipient, Ron Cannon.

“This event has always been special to me,” said Scott. “Not only do we recognize great service, it affords us the opportunity to talk to friends we don’t get to see all the time.”

Cannon, whose career began in 1996, has held a number of positions including detective, crime scene investigator and SWAT sniper.

The officer is also actively involved in the community as a youth sports coach.

Scott called Cannon a “go-to man” who is “thorough, principle-driven and extremely reliable.”

“In all my years, I’ve never seen a personnel file with so many commendations,” said Scott.

In accepting his award, Cannon was quick to thank his fellow peace officers, saying his honor was a true team effort.

Cannon thanked his wife for her endless support and expressed his gratitude at being able to make a positive difference in the community.

Sheriff D’Agostini then introduced EDSO’s Officer of the Year, Det. Matt Harwood.

Harwood began his career as a correctional officer in 2002 but eventually joined the Sheriff’s Department where he rose through the ranks because of his commitment to the job and skill set.

Harwood, stationed at the South Lake Tahoe branch of the Sheriff’s Department, received a life-saving commendation certificate in 2009 and, in addition to his duties as a detective, routinely works extra uniform patrol and court security shifts.

Harwood, in a brief acceptance speech, graciously thanked the American Legion for serving the country.

The night’s final recipient was CHP officer Denise Foster, who was introduced by Lt. King.

Foster began her CHP career in 1982. She retired in 2006 but came back to the CHP shortly after.

“She was simply bored,” said King. “She missed the camaraderie with the troops and the interaction with the public.”

King said Foster is set to retire in June when she reaches the mandatory retirement age.

Foster, affectionately nicknamed “Nana” by her peers, stole the show with an emotional acceptance speech that showcased her humility and sense of humor.

“I will be retiring in four months and I can honestly say I have enjoyed working in the Placerville area,” she said.

Noting her upcoming retirement, Foster looked over at D’Agostini, seated to her left, and joked: “I have submitted my application to the Sheriff’s Department. And I did vote for you.”

As Foster stepped away from the podium, she was met with a standing ovation from her CHP peers.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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