Marco Island's Sergeant Diaz named 'Officer of the Year' during chief's luncheon

Police Sgt. Hector Diaz receives the 2014 Police Officer of the Year award Thursday presented by the Marco Island Police Foundation at the Hideaway Beach Club. With Diaz is his wife, Christine, and daughter Danielle Pipitone. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Police Sgt. Hector Diaz receives the 2014 Police Officer of the Year award Thursday presented by the Marco Island Police Foundation at the Hideaway Beach Club. With Diaz is his wife, Christine, and daughter Danielle Pipitone. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter presents the first Honorary Lifetime Member award to Harold Kendall during “Lunch with the Chief” Thursday at the Hideaway Beach Club. The award was given by the Marco Island Police Foundation. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island Police Chief Don Hunter presents the first Honorary Lifetime Member award to Harold Kendall during “Lunch with the Chief” Thursday at the Hideaway Beach Club. The award was given by the Marco Island Police Foundation. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Michael Perl, retired special agent for the U.S. Secret Service, explains his missions protecting five U.S. presidents and Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign. Perl was the guest speaker Thursday for the Marco Island Police Foundation’s “Lunch with the Chief” at the Hideaway Beach Club. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Michael Perl, retired special agent for the U.S. Secret Service, explains his missions protecting five U.S. presidents and Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign. Perl was the guest speaker Thursday for the Marco Island Police Foundation’s “Lunch with the Chief” at the Hideaway Beach Club. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer speaks with Lt. Mark Cherney, left, and Sgt. Dave Bruening of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Thursday prior to “Lunch with the Chief” at the Hideaway Beach Club. The luncheon was sponsored by the Marco Island Police Foundation. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Marco Island Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer speaks with Lt. Mark Cherney, left, and Sgt. Dave Bruening of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Thursday prior to “Lunch with the Chief” at the Hideaway Beach Club. The luncheon was sponsored by the Marco Island Police Foundation. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Police Sgt. Hector Diaz has received many distinctions during his 22 years in law enforcement. He has been awarded the Marco Island Police Department’s life-saving medal more times than any other department member.

On Thursday, the Marco Island Police Foundation added “2013 Police Officer of the Year” to his accolades. He was unanimously selected for the honor by his peers and co-workers.

The award was given at the Hideaway Beach Club during the police foundation’s quarterly “Lunch with the Chief.” Joe Granda, president of the foundation, presented the award.

Diaz was joined for the presentation by his wife, Christine, and daughter Danielle Pipitone.

Diaz has a long history in law enforcement on Marco Island. He is a senior sergeant for the department and was its only K-9 officer. (The department no longer has K-9 patrol.)

Diaz was the fourth officer hired by the city in 1999 and after incorporation. Only five of the original 20 members hired by the department are still employed full time.

Diaz has earned many law enforcement certifications. Among them are marine vessel officer with knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico and back waters, personal watercraft officer and motorcycle officer. He also is in a select group of officers that are patrol rifle certified. He has assisted the department with its bike safety initiative.

Diaz volunteers in the community as a coach, league director and parks volunteer. He works with youth to inspire a love of nature and fishing.

His colleagues commended him for building a team environment in the department.

“It is with pride and honor we nominate Sergeant Hector Diaz, parent, husband, coach, inspirational leader, effective law enforcement officer, motivator and master of numerous policing certifications,” they wrote.

Harold Kendall was also honored as the police foundation’s first Honorary Lifetime Member.

Speaker for the luncheon was Michael Perl, retired special agent for the U.S. Secret Service. Perl also is co-owner of Naples Security Solutions, a company specializing in executive protection and private investigations.

Perl described his years in the service protecting five U.S. presidents and Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign. In the Middle East, his department helped with extraction actions during periods of increased hostilities.

Working for the government, Perl was a member of the service’s Hazardous Agent Mitigation Medical Response Team (HAMMER). The four member squad was responsible for accompanying the president and his motorcade to assist with potential contamination, medical intervention, rescue and vehicle extraction.

The team was formed in response to numerous world events that triggered the rise in terrorism such as the 1995 release of nerve agents in a Tokyo subway.

© 2014 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 7

CopWatch writes:

"Only five of the original 20 members hired by the department are still employed full time."

Wonder if wild boar was on the menu? Anyone looking forward to the day when Hunter and Baer eat crow in public?

POPnTN writes:

Congratulations Hector! One, for "Officer of the Year," and also for being a surviving member of the original 20. If you and your family are ever in Nashville let me know. We would like to see you.

lauralbi1 writes:

Hector: Congratulations and well deserved !!!
Ed Issler

tikihut2206 writes:

in response to CopWatch:

"Only five of the original 20 members hired by the department are still employed full time."

Wonder if wild boar was on the menu? Anyone looking forward to the day when Hunter and Baer eat crow in public?

CopWatch.. was he the one that killed the wild boar...really cant believe when cops get praise..they are doing their job...when I was a secretary for New Brunswick, NJ...I never got any praise...I worked hard and got payed crap but I was doing my job...just like everyone else...

exasperation writes:

still on that wild boar kick!!?? NO he was not the one who shot the boar..

tikihut2206 writes:

in response to exasperation:

still on that wild boar kick!!?? NO he was not the one who shot the boar..

Exasperation, yes still on the wild boar kick..because it was wrong and should be investigated by the IA of MIPD, if they even have a dept. for internal afairs....

August8 writes:

in response to CopWatch:

"Only five of the original 20 members hired by the department are still employed full time."

Wonder if wild boar was on the menu? Anyone looking forward to the day when Hunter and Baer eat crow in public?

Who are the other four?

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