Lakewood police officers pose with City Council during their award ceremony.

Lakewood police officers recognized with awards

Lakewood police officers pose with City Council during their award ceremony.
The Lakewood City Council recognized Lakewood police officers with awards at its meeting on Jan. 17, 2023.

Jan. 18, 2023

The Lakewood City Council celebrated the recognition of Lakewood police officers for outstanding efforts in their field. These awards included life-saving awards, commendations from the Chief, Medals of Meritorious Service, and Medals of Valor.

The recognition came as part of the council’s Jan. 17, 2023 regular meeting.

Police Chief Mike Zaro presented the awards, sharing the details of each incident and the critical steps the officers took to protect their community.

Read more on the recognized officers and what they did to be recognized below:

Police Chief’s Commendation

Officer Julia Wabinga
Officer Jared Pingul

Officers Julia Wabinga and Jared Pingul earn a Police Chief's Commendation award.

Officers Wabinga and Pingul participated in a traffic stop involving two vehicles at the Jack in the Box on Steilacoom Blvd. When the officers pulled in behind the vehicles, one driver was compliant and the other was not. Officers Pingul noticed an extended pistol magazine in the non-compliant driver’s cupholder and asked for additional help. Once help arrived they were able to detain the driver and obtain a search warrant for the car, where they found a stolen gun and numerous illegal narcotics.

Officer Josh Repp

Officer Josh Repp receives a Police Chief Commendation from Chief Zaro.

In December 2021, Officer Repp conducted a high-risk traffic stop of a suspect involved in multiple armed robberies. When he pulled over the vehicle it was confirmed that the vehicle was stolen. A stolen pistol and items from the armed robberies were also found in the vehicle. Officer Repp’s attention to detail and diligence in reviewing the video footage allowed him to quickly develop probable cause to arrest the suspects and recover some of the stolen property.

Life-Saving Awards

Officer Josh Repp
Officer Nile Teclemariam

Officers Josh Repp and Nile Teclemariam receive life saving awards from Chief Zaro.

In June 2022, officers Repp and Teclemariam, along with other officers, responded to an attempted suicide. Officers Repp and Teclemariam treated the patient quickly and effectively, reducing the time for West Pierce Fire & Rescue personnel to get the patient to the next level of medical treatment. The patient survived several hours of further treatment at the hospital before ultimately passing away.

Officer Josh Beauchamp
Officer Josh Northcutt
Officer Quinn Rawson
Officer Nile Teclemariam

Four officers receive a life saving award from Chief Zaro.

Officers responded to a shooting in which the victim sustained multiple gunshots to his upper thigh. Officers quickly applied direct pressure and secured tourniquets to prevent further blood loss. Emergency room and hospital staff all credited the quick and proper application of the tourniquets as the only reason that the victim survived. The officers’ immediate recognition of the victim’s critical injuries and immediate application of emergency medical aid saved this victim’s life.

Officer Kyle Zimmerman

Officer Kyle Zimmerman receives a life-saving award from Chief Zaro.

In May 2022, Officer Zimmerman responded to a stabbing incident at The Crossings Apartments. Officer Zimmerman contacted the victim and immediately applied his tourniquet on the victim’s left arm. He commanded the scene, making sure that the others there were applying pressure to the lacerations. Later the ER nurse who treated the victim fully credited the application of the tourniquets for saving his life.

Medal of Meritorious Service

Officer John Babcock
Officer Matt Leitgeb
Officer Daniel Pyon

In January 2022, Officer Pyon tried to stop a suspected DUI driver in a large pickup truck. The suspect fled and drove the wrong way onto I-5 into oncoming traffic.  Officer Pyon tried to parallel the truck on the correct side of the freeway until the truck exited on Bridgeport where officers were waiting. The suspect continued straight across the intersection, intending to again drive the wrong way on I-5. Recognizing the extreme risk the suspect presented to other drivers on I-5, Officer Babcock intentionally struck the suspect vehicle with his patrol car in an attempt to disable it.  The vehicle was able to continue fleeing, and when Officer Leitgeb located the truck he twice attempted to intentionally collide with the truck in an attempt to disable it, but the truck was able to elude him. Officer Pyon later located the truck unoccupied in an apartment parking lot. The truck was, in fact, stolen and a stolen firearm was located inside.

Medal of Valor

Seargent Jason Catlett
Officer Cody White
Officer Daniel Pyon
Officer Josh Beauchamp
Officer Lesha Cockle

Lakewood Police Officers receive Medals of Valor from Chief Zaro.

Officers responded to apartments in our Woodbrook neighborhood for reports of shots being fired. The suspect was shooting an AR-15 off his balcony into the air. Once the officers arrived, they blocked off the area and ran towards the gunfire to position themselves. Shortly after, Sgt. Catlett was able to stop the threat. If it were not for the leadership of Sgt. Catlett and the bravery and courage of our officers many innocent people may have been injured or killed.