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Rotarians honor 5 officers during Law Day
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Superior Court Judge William Johnson is pictured with Law Day recipients of “Officer of the Year” honors from the Manteca Rotary Club. Those cited for their outstanding contributions are from left, Ray Ayala, CHP; Joyce Arnel, criminal investigator with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office; Sheriff’s Detective Paul Mears, Tamika Nelson, a Probation Department unit supervisor; and Manteca Police Detective Stephen Schluer currently assigned to the regional auto theft task force.
The annual Manteca Rotary Club Don I. Asher Memorial Law Day awards were given to five police officers from throughout the county at a Thursday noon luncheon that filled Isadore’s Restaurant.

In memory of the late Honorable Don I. Asher who launched the recognition program numerous years ago, officers from Manteca Police, the CHP, the Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, and District Attorney Investigators were singled out for their exemplary contributions to citizens of the South County in and around Manteca.

Manteca City Attorney John Brinton acted as the master of ceremonies. Superior Court Judge William Johnson presented the Rotary plaques to the honored officers before an audience of some 80 members of the various departments as well as Rotarians and family members.

Stephen Schluer took the honor for the Manteca Police Department.  Formerly a patrol officer he has been serving as a detective assigned to the DELTARAT auto theft task force under the direction of the California Highway Patrol’s Stockton office.

Schluer was profiled by Police Chief Dave Bricker.

Joyce Arnel, a criminal investigator for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, was also honored for her contributions.  She told the audience that she had retired from the Stockton Police Department, but after a short retirement joined the DA’s investigative team.  Chief Investigator Larry Ferrari told of her accomplishments that have elevated her to a prime resource in the department who has worked hard to counter real estate fraud as found in short sales and loan modification actions.

Robert Buchwalter, a past Rotary Officer of the Year recipient, oversees the DA’s investigative unit.

Tamika Nelson, probation unit supervisor with the San Joaquin County Probation Department, received a like award.  She noted that she was from a family of police officers with her uniformed brother sitting next to her at the table.  Nelson was lauded by Patty Mazzilli, chief probation officer ,who told of her contributions.

Detective Paul Mears was the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department choice for their officer of the year citation.  At his table was a large contingent from the sheriff’s office including Sheriff Steve Moore.  

Mears was introduced by San Joaquin County Sheriff  Moore who told of his working on multiple homicides.

CHP Motorcycle Officer Ray Ayala drew the largest contingent of supporters from the Stockton office.   Ayala patrols the South County freeways and was credited by his Captain Janet Dial for his quick actions in controlling traffic by laying out a flare pattern in a dust store that prevented more accidents from occurring.

In a light hearted vein, Ayala said he feared he might have given a few of Manteca’s Rotarians a traffic citation while working the local freeways.