Berkeley postal worker, Oakland woman, White House shooting hero, two others receive "Doberman Award" from Schlage Lock for securing communities; Winners from Texas, California, Illinois, Florida.
Molly Wetzel files suit and evicts crack dealers from Oakland, Calif., neighborhoods. Harry Rakosky, a tourist, suddenly finds himself a national hero after subduing a gunman who was firing at the President's home.
Today Jimenez, Wetzel, Rakosky, and two other heroes from around the nation were named winners of Schlage Lock Co.'s annual "Doberman Awards," cosponsored this year with Crime Prevention magazine. The awards, instituted in 1993, honor citizens who have made outstanding contributions toward the security of their communities. Schlage will contribute $500 to each Doberman Award winner, plus make other charitable donations.
"Schlage selected the Doberman as a symbol of security, reliability and strength," said John Swedeen, manager of Schlage's residential business unit. "This must be the Year of the Hero, because there were so many outstanding nominees to choose from. Our Doberman Award winners all showed exceptional dedication, concern, intelligence, and bravery protecting their fellow citizens."
Schlage's 1994 Doberman Award winners are:
Martin Jimenez Berkeley
Jimenez, a 29-year-old postal worker, captured a rapist by pretending his black-gloved hand was a gun, just minutes after a woman was assaulted in a downtown parking garage. Jimenez, who once helped capture two thieves who broke into a neighbor's home, had just come off his shift when he heard a woman screaming "rape" and saw the alleged assailant flee.
He pursued and cornered the suspect commanding "Don't move or I'll shoot," while holding his hands together and pointing his fingers -- in bulky black gloves -- to imitate a gun. In his blue post office uniform, black boots, and black leather jacket, Jimenez was mistaken for a police officer.
"I can't stand violence against women," Jimenez said. "I heard her screaming. I had to do something."
Molly Wetzel Oakland
Molly Wetzel was too smart to try and drive drug dealers out of Oakland neighborhoods through direct confrontation. She reasoned instead that she could literally evict them -- through a legal twist that turns crime into a civil issue of public nuisance and property laws.
Wetzel showed neighbors how to document illegal activities in a neighborhood -- via videotapes, logs, photos, calls to police, collection of discarded drug paraphernalia. Then she encouraged the residents to petition landlords -- who are responsible under state law to make sure their properties do not interfere with others -- to evict the drug dealers.
Landlords who do not comply are taken to small claims court. In one such instance the landlord had to pay the plaintiffs $218,325 (the largest award of its kind in the nation's history).
As a result, her program, Safe Streets Now, has closed 368 crack houses in California alone and is being emulated in cities across the country.
Harry Rakosky San Antonio
In October, a sniper began firing on the White House with a semi-automatic weapon. Rakosky, a soft-spoken human resources worker touring Washington, was nearby. Rakosky hid behind a concrete barrier, then tackled the gunman when he stopped to reload. Rakosky was soon joined by two other bystanders and held the suspect until authorities took over.
"I think the Lord had me at the right place at the right time," Rakosky said later. In a further act of selflessness, Rakosky requested that his Doberman Award money be given to a fund set up to help 13-year-old San Antonio resident Reed Norman pay for cancer treatments.
Norman, who has been fighting a rare brain cancer, was denied coverage by his insurance company. Schlage is sending the award money to the fund and is matching it with a $500 additional contribution.
Mitch Demitropoulos Arlington Heights, Ill.
For months, an unknown man had been following young girls in this quiet neighborhood, trailing them home from school, playgrounds and libraries, then cutting window screens at night and peering through bedroom windows.
When the Peeping Tom escalated to breaking into the girls' bedrooms to watch them sleep, and muffling their frightened cries when they awoke, Demitropoulos grew determined to put an end to the growing crisis.
"I'm gonna catch this guy," the owner of an Arlington Heights construction company and father of two told his wife.
After spotting a suspicious stranger in his neighborhood the night after a peeping incident, Demitropoulos had a neighbor call the police while he tracked the man. When he saw the stranger peering in the same girl's window where he had been spotted 10 nights running, Demitropoulos tackled him and held him until police arrived.
The suspect has since confessed to more than a dozen such violations of privacy, including two occasions of entering the girls' bedrooms.
Ron Hill Orlando, Fla.
Crooks in Orlando better be able to run fast and long because the Civil Bicycle Patrol (CBP), founded by Ron Hill, may be on their tails. The CBP, two years old, is a group of 40 uniformed men and women who patrol downtown Orlando on bicycle, on the lookout for trouble. Equipped with radios, they report suspicious or illegal activity to the police and try to keep the suspects in sight.
When a purse-snatcher was spotted one Sunday afternoon, two CBP members pursued him until he collapsed from exhaustion and was arrested by police who responded to the CBP radio call.
Hill, a computer consultant and EMT, not only founded the non-profit group but has donated thousands of dollars to it. It is now the model for similar programs across the country.
Schlage Lock Co. is now inviting the public to participate in next year's Doberman Awards by sending nominations to Schlage Lock Co., c/o "1995 Doberman Award Nomination Committee," 71 Stevenson St., Ste. 1430, San Francisco, CA 94105. Nominations should describe how the candidate has helped protect his or her community during the year and provide a phone number and mailing address.
Crime Prevention magazine, in its first year of publication, is the only magazine which exclusively reaches more than half a million consumers interested in ways to protect their homes, vehicles and places of business from crime. The magazine provides a complete guide to the world of security and how consumers can increase their safety. Crime Prevention magazine is published by National Publishing Co., headquartered near Chicago in Streamwood, Ill.
Schlage Lock Co., "The Doberman of Locks," was established in 1925. The company is part of worldwide Ingersoll-Rand.
CONTACT: Fineman & Associates, San Francisco
Michael Fineman, 415/777-6933
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|Date:||Jan 17, 1995|
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