By Britt Moreno

DENVER (CBS4) – Wednesday is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and awards will go to six local police officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to dole out kindness to others in our community. Capt. Sylvia Sich, Detective Louis Estrada, Detective Bruce Gibbs, Officer Cheryl Smith, Officer Michael Torsney and Officer Adriel Torres will receive Citizen Appreciate Police awards.

On Wednesday morning, CBS4’s Britt Moreno spoke with board member and retired police officer Mike O’Neill about Citizen Appreciate Police.

CAP was founded 40 years ago and hundreds of officers have been recognized throughout the years. O’Neill says officers are recognized for “acts of kindness, their generosity and love to the Denver community and residents.” Awards have been given to officers who have reached into their own pockets for hotel rooms for stranded families.

O’Neill was a member of the Denver Police Department for 37 years.

“What did it mean to get a thank you or another piece of kindness?” Moreno asked O’Neill.

“It just wasn’t expected. The job was a labor of love and still is. To be thanked is something unexpected and really not necessary, but officers certainly appreciate it,” O’Neill said.

CAP is accepting nominations for police officers.

Additional Resources

To submit a nomination directly, letters may be sent to: Citizens Appreciate Police, 1331 Cherokee St. Room 305B, Denver, CO 80204. Nominations can also be emailed directly to the CAP Board at CAPBoardDenver@gmail.com.

Denver police released the following explanations for why the six Denver officers are being honored.

Captain Sylvia Sich
For more than 17 years, Captain Sich and her husband, Phil, have paid frequent visits to the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) to deliver boxfuls of wholesome snacks. The DCAC serves more than 100 children each month, and Captain Sich and Phil know that many of the children do not have enough food in their homes or rarely eat properly-balanced and nutritious meals. While snack delivery and playtime with the children are the most visible and regular part of their volunteer involvement at DCAC, Captain Sich and Phil have always supported DCAC’s fundraising efforts.

Detective Louis Estrada
Detective Bruce Gibbs
On August 6, 2018, Homicide Unit Detectives Estrada and Gibbs began investigating an attempted suicide. When the detectives later learned that the 25-year-old female victim was placed on life support, they contacted the victim’s mother, who resides out of state and was not familiar with the Denver area. Detectives Estrada and Gibbs, understanding the extreme hardship that the victim’s family was facing, picked up the victim’s mother at Denver International Airport and transported her to the hospital to say goodbye to her daughter. Additionally, the detectives obtained the victim’s vehicle keys from the property, delivered her vehicle to her mom at the hospital, and paid for valet parking so that she had a means of transportation while in Denver and for transporting her daughter’s belongings to her own home. Detectives Gibbs and Estrada also helped the victim’s mother make hotel arrangements for her stay in Denver.

Officer Cheryl Smith
In April of 2018, District Two Officer Smith responded to a call of a restraining order violation and intimidation of a witness stemming from a domestic violence incident. When she arrived on scene, the officer learned that the suspect allegedly threatened to burn the victim’s home if she testified against him. Due to the threats, the victim was fearful of remaining at her home. Officer Smith tried to find a safe house or shelter for the victim and her four children, but was unsuccessful. After exhausting all options, Officer Smith personally paid for the family of five to spend the night at a nearby hotel, ensuring their safety.

Officer Michael Torsney
Officer Adriel Torres
In September of 2018, Officer Torsney and Officer Torres, who are assigned to the DPD Airport Police Division, were called to assist a gentleman at the credit union. The man, who we will just call Dustin, is blind and deaf, and he flew to Denver alone in search of some assistance. Officer Torsney and Officer Torres spent hours with Dustin, just trying to find someone who knew him and could further explain his needs. The officers eventually contacted one of Dustin’s friends, named Kyle. Kyle knew Dustin’s parents and his situation, and was willing to help — but lives in Texas. Wanting to make sure Dustin got the help he needs, the officers split the cost of a $300 airline ticket to get him safely to his friend and family in Texas.

Britt Moreno

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