Three SBPD Officers Awarded the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

[On Wednesday] the Santa Barbara Citizens Council on Crime selected three Santa Barbara Police Officers for the H. Thomas Guerry Award for valor: Officer Adrian Gutierrez, Officer Christina Ortega, and Officer Davina Valerio. Chief Bernard Melekian presented these Officers with the award. These three Officers responded to a serious structure fire in the 700 block of Spring Street on the morning on November 17, 2021. All three Officers and one community member, rescued a trapped man in a full blown residential structure fire. Without the Officers’ quick thinking and immediate response, it is believed the man trapped would have perished in the blaze (please see initial release included here).

History of the H. Thomas Guerry Award:

“On January 12, 1970, Detective H. Thomas Guerry was conducting an investigation and driving on Chapala Street, the detective noticed two wanted men walking in the area of Ortega Street and Bradbury Avenue. As he approached the intersection the wanted men split apart from one another and began to walk back to each side of the front of the police vehicle. As the detective stepped from his vehicle, both wanted subjects opened fire with handguns, fatally wounding Detective Guerry.

The death of Detective Tom Guerry ripped through the heart of Santa Barbara, as well as the entire region. In memory of Tom, the Santa Barbara Citizens Council on Crime established the H. Thomas Guerry award. Each year, law enforcement officers from agencies in the County of Santa Barbara are honored for valor, skill in conflict resolution, and outstanding overall performance. The Guerry Award continues to be the most coveted and respected award one can receive in the county. It is through the Guerry Awards that the memory of Tom can be kept alive and his legacy of courage and dedication honored.” (Source: California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation)

Officer Adrian Gutierrez has been serving at the Santa Barbara Police Department for 22 years. He has had numerous assignments during his time here at the Department to include Patrol Officer, Beat Coordinator, School Resource Officer, Crisis Negotiations Officer, and Community Liaison Officer. He is also one of our Police Activities League Officers.

Officer Christina Ortega has been serving at the Police Department for nearly 22 years. She has worked as a First Aid Instructor, Crowd Control Instructor, and Drinking Driving Team Officer. She currently is serving as a Field Training Officer on patrol, teaching, and mentoring Officers who have just completed the police academy.

Officer Davina Valerio was on field training with Officer Ortega at the time this call for service came out. It was only her fifth day as a patrol officer. Since then, she has successfully completed her field training program and is currently serving as a solo patrol Officer in the Mesa neighborhood and upper westside. 

Chief Bernard Melekian stated, “It was my honor to award Officer Adrian Gutierrez, Officer Christina Ortega, and Officer Davina Valerio with the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor. The Santa Barbara Police Department, as well as the entire community of Santa Barbara thanks these Officers for their heroic actions.”


Written by SBPDPIO

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. On this site I read a lot of complaining, moaning and whining for days when an officer is reported to have done something wrong. But, officers do an outstanding job for which they are commended with the Guerry Award (For Valor) and only one person on this site can offer their congratulations and thanks? I’m confident these officer’s are not looking for pats on the back for doing their job; but they will continue to do their job with/without your support. Only one person, now two, to congratulate them for their commendation and service. Quite shameful if you ask me.

  2. Oh come on, people on here often talk about how we, for the most part, have decent, respectable cops. To imply the cops aren’t supported by the locals based on one internet forum is absolutely silly. Not to mention, the story was already posted here when it happened, with plenty of comments to satisfy your strange complaint.

  3. 5-20@07:52 – I’m not complaining and I’m not implying local cops are not supported. I’m (only) addressing the 5-19 article relative to the cops being commended for valor. Specifically, only one person at the time I wrote my original post had offered congratulations. As of this morning the “Public News” section indicates there are now “4 comments – 986 reads.” Where are the “plenty of comments” you refer to? It must be in one of these comments I can’t find you offered your congratulations or just a “thank you” type comment. Is this correct? What I’m saying is that it appears to me a lot of people come out of the woodwork when a cop reportedly does something wrong, not so much when they were publicly commended for outstanding work.

  4. DOULIE – might be that, when a cop does their job and even goes above and beyond, no one is killed, maimed, etc (usually). I think it’s easier for people to pounce when they see someone with all the power, strapped with weapons, killing or hurting others.
    Awesome job by these 3, yes! But, please don’t take the # of comments (or lack thereof) as an indication of how we feel about cops doing their jobs correctly.
    In articles about when a teacher receives an award, no one really says anything. But, if the article is about a teacher teaching something some of us don’t like, the floodgates open. Same with doctors, lawyers, professors, brick masons, bakers, etc……

County Superintendent of Schools Delivers State of Education Address

Goleta Discusses Community’s Internet Needs at Forum