The Odessa Police Department conducted an awards and promotional ceremony March 8 at Odessa College, Saulsbury Campus Center, Joe Zant Community Room.
Capt. Matt Davidson made the welcoming and the introductions. Guest speaker was State Rep. Brooks Landgraf. Cpl. Steve LeSueur made the promotional presentation
The following are promotions:
- Michael Gerke, 46, was promoted to the rank of chief of police. His badge was be pinned on by his wife, Jennifer, his son Michael Jr., 22, and his daughter Kaitlin, 17. Gerke has been employed with the OPD for 20 years. He has served as an officer, corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant in patrol, as a detective and lieutenant in criminal investigations, as an investigator and captain in the professional standards unit and as the deputy chief of operations. Gerke has also served with the OPD’s Crisis Negotiations Team and is a past commander of the unit. He earned an associate in applied science degree in criminal justice from Odessa College in 2001, a bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree in criminal justice from Midwestern State University in 2009, and a master of science degree in management and leadership from Tarleton State University in 2013. Gerke also completed Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command in 2017. Gerke was given the assignment as Interim Chief of Police on March 27, 2017 after the retirement of his predecessor, Timothy Burton. He was promoted to chief of police on July 1, 2017.
- Jesse Duarte, 55, was promoted to the rank of deputy chief. His badge was pinned on by his wife, Rosella Duarte. Duarte has 33 years with the OPD. He has served in patrol, narcotics, street crimes unit, internal affairs and has been a supervisor in all three bureaus at different levels. He has the following children; Jackie Duarte, 31, and J.R. Duarte, 27. Duarte is currently assigned as a deputy chief to the Operational Bureau of the OPD.
- Wes Carta, 46, was promoted to the rank of deputy chief. His badge was pinned by his son Blake Carta. Carta has 20 years with the OPD. He has served in on patrol, as an officer, a field training officer, and lieutenant of patrol shift “D.” He has also served with the Criminal Investigation Division as a detective in the Crimes Against Persons Unit, as a sergeant for both the property investigations unit, and crimes against persons unit, and as a captain over the Criminal Investigations Bureau. He has the following children; Blake Carta and Andy Carta. Carta is currently assigned as the deputy chief to the Administration Bureau of the OPD.
- Roland M. Heyne III, 35, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. His badge was pinned on by his wife Amy Nicole Heyne. Heyne has six years of service as a sworn police officer. Heyne started with patrol shift “C” where he gained the majority of his experience. While with “C”, Heyne was an field training officer and also achieved the honors of Officer of the month for August 2016 and Officer of the year for 2016. Heyne is currently assigned to the Operations Bureau on Patrol Shift “B”.
- Christopher Aguilar, 51, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. His badge was pinned on by his son, Christopher Aguilar II. Aguilar has 29 years of service with the OPD. Aguilar spent a total of 24 years on patrol with 16 of those years as a field training officer. He also served with the Community Relations Department (PAL) for 2 1/2 years, Street Crimes Unit (Patrol) for 5 years, Narcotics Unit (DEA Task Force) for 2 1/2 years and is currently a member of S.W.A.T., where he has served for 18 years. Aguilar is currently assigned to the Operations Bureau on Patrol Shift “A”.
- Rusty Martin, 37, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. His badge was pinned on by his wife of 17 years, Tonya Martin. Martin has 10 years of service with the OPD. He has spent eight years on patrol. He has also served on the S.W.A.T team and in the Street Crimes Unit. Sergeant Martin is currently pursuing his associate’s degree in criminal justice leadership. Martin would like to thank his family for their support, his wife Tonya Martin, sons Taylor Martin, 18, and Mason Martin, 6, and daughter Sadie Grace Martin, 4. Martin is currently assigned as a Sergeant in the Operations Bureau on Patrol Shift “A”.
- Sherrie Nell Carruth, 55, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Her badge was originally going to be pinned on by her son, U.S. Naval Officer Joshua Brown, but due to his military service, was pinned on by her sister Christy McLaughlin. Carruth began her career with the OPD in August of 1992, with more than 25 years of service. In her years of service, she was a field training officer on patrol, chief’s office as the public information officer, a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team, and Coordinator of the Citizen Police Academy and Citizens on Patrol. Carruth attended Midland College and Texas Tech University. Carruth is currently assigned to the Operations Bureau as the commander of Patrol Shift “B”.
- Wayne Phillips, 52, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. His badge was pinned on by his daughter Laynee Phillips and grandson Waylen Bleu Trevizo. Phillips has 30 years of service with the OPD. During his career, he has served 10 years as a patrol field training officer, 6 years as a narcotic detective, 6 years as a K-9 handler and 3 years as a special weapons and tactics member. He spent 7 years as an operations bureau patrol sergeant while also supervising the training of the 4 K-9 teams of the OPD. Phillips continues as the supervisor of the O.P.D. K-9 teams and is currently assigned as the lieutenant for Operations Bureau Patrol Shift “C”.
- Stephen Merrell, 39, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. His badge was pinned on by his mother Paula Merrell. Merrell has been employed with the OPD for 14 years as of today. He has served on Patrol, K-9 Unit and Odessa Police Academy. Merrell was awarded a dual major bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice in 2008 and a master’s of criminal justice administration in 2010 both from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Merrell was also awarded a doctorate of philosophy in human services with a specialty in law enforcement from Walden University in 2013. He has two children; Kaelyn Grace Merrell, 15, and Ethan Taylor Merrell, 13.
- Robert Doporto, 52, was promoted to the rank of captain. His badge was pinned on by his wife Moraima Doporto. Doporto has been employed with the OPD for more than 25 years. He has served in patrol, K-9, Special Operations, SWAT, and the Professional Standards Unit. He has the following children; Osiel Doporto, 32, and Robert Anthony Doporto, 25. He is now assigned as captain in the Operations Bureau over Patrol.
- Matt Davidson, 40, was promoted to the rank of captain. His badge was pinned on by his wife Shannon Davidson. Davidson has been employed with the OPD for more than 15 years. He has served in Patrol, Special Operations, and the Professional Standards Unit. He has the following children; Jacob Matthew Davidson, 16, Jesse Luke Davidson, 14, Samuel James Davidson, 12, and Cody Jack Davidson, 8. He is now assigned as captain of the Professional Standards Unit and Training.
Promotions to the rank of corporal:
- Steve Fuentes, 05-01-2017; Jared Wescoat, 05-01-2017; Jaime Aguirre, 05-16-2017; Brandon, Teneyck, 05-16-2017; Clint Titlow, 06-01-2017; Joseph Dominguez, 06-16-2017; Tony Rossman, 06-16-2017; Vijitta Y, 06-16-2017; Whitney Branch, 12-16-2017; Matthew Chavez, 12-16-2017; Lauren Gonzales, 12-16-2017; Pricilla Hughes, 12-16-2017; Robert Johnson, 12-16-2017; Chris Mabry, 12-16-2017; Alejandro Munoz, 12-16-2017; Alex Ortiz, 12-16-2017; Frank Robles, 12-16-2017; Calvin Tayler, 12-16-2017; David Young, 12-16-2017; Oscar Rodriguez, 12-16-2017
OPD military service honorees were:
- John Chaves, US Army; Rowel Franco, Texas Army National Guard; Leslie Goodson, US Army; Michael Hamilton, US Army; Yuri Herrera ,US Navy & Navy Reserves; James Kiper, US Army; John Langs, US Army; Stephen Lofton, US Army; Chris Meise, US Army & US Navy; David Muniz, US Navy & US Army Reserve; Randy Vest, US Army; Cory Wester, US Army; David Yelton, US Army; Promotion to the Rank of Officer; Calvin Tayler, 05-16-2017; Nathaniel Garcia, 06-16-2017; Tyler Silverthorn, 06-16-2017; Ronny Tarango, 06-16-2017; Terry Wells, 12-16-2017; Luis Villalpando, 12-16-2017; Nicholas Moore, 12-16-2017; and Georgia Gutierrez, 12-16-2017
EMPLOYEES YEARS OF SERVICE
Five years: Kristen Lopez, Cpl. Donny Rocha, Cpl. Jason Ball, Cpl. Kendrick Barragan, Cpl. Brandon Spinks, Cpl. Justin Caid, Cpl. Paul Hurley, M. Andrew Thomas, Cpl. Jonathan Campbell, Cpl. John Chavez, Cpl. Lindsay Waychoff, , Linda Morales, Michaela Ingmire, Cpl. Maycon Cuellar-Chavez, Melissa Lewis, Paula Wyatt, Cpl. Andrew Garris, Cpl. Miley Taylor.
10 years: Cpl. Michael Lara, Cpl. Michael Stewart, Cpl. Marlene Sotelo, Sgt. Ryan Thompson, Sgt. Caleb Lacey, Sgt. John Sikes.
15 years: Sgt. Missy Butts, Capt. Matt Davidson, Myra Hinojos, Sgt. Craig Goodson.
25 years: Chief Michael Gerke, Connie Simms.
25 years: Lt. Sherrie Carruth, Capt. Robert Doporto.
30 years: Lt. Sammy Berzoza.