Three Santa Barbara police officers were recognized this week for their contributions to the community by the Optimist Club of Santa Barbara, which celebrated the men as they gathered at Moby Dick Restaurant for lunch at Stearns Wharf.
Earlier this year, the club received nominations for especially positive contributions by officers of the Santa Barbara Police Department during 2013.
A committee of Optimist Club members and a police representative selected the awardees: Officers Jon Reyes and Kyle Lowry, and Sgt. Ed Olsen.
They each received the "Positive Policing Award" from club president Chuck Champlin.
Attorney Joe Howell nominated Lowry for helping him track down a stolen iPad that was traced to the home of a "prolific local burglar," Lowry said, and had been sold to another person by the time they arrived.
The owner of the home was able to recover the device and hand it over to police.
Reyes was nominated by Washington Elementary Schooll Principal Anne Hubbard and Monroe Elementary Principal Celeste Darga for his work with students, and his presence in the schools. Hubbard noted that Reyes had been particularly helpful when one of the students stopped coming to school.
The child was in a troubled home with a drug-addicted mother and had sporadic attendance, and Hubbard and her staff went to look for him in some of the places where the mother frequented.
After an extensive search with no luck, Hubbard called Reyes, and "within half an hour," Reyes had found the boy and Hubbard and Reyes were able to talk to the boy's mother and get the child back in school.
"He is now under appropriate care and connected to services," Hubbard said.
Olsen also received an award for his work in the department's restorative policing efforts, and with a formerly homeless man he helped get into supportive housing.
Olsen recalled meeting Bill Franklin at Starbucks but never knowing the man was homeless until Olsen took over the department's restorative policing program in 2010.
"You'd never know he was living in a van," Olsen said.
When Franklin's partner died because of health complications, Olson said, the man was in a very fragile state and "was on the verge" of falling into a crisis situation and ending up on the streets.
Olson was able to help Franklin get into housing, even acting as a reference for the man, and Franklin has been in housing for about six months.
The sergeant has spent more than a decade on the city's SWAT team and in the detective bureau, "but to help somebody like Bill and those like him is profound."
"It is a reward that you can't really put into words," he said. "I've put a lot of bad guys in jail and helping someone like Bill makes what we do really special."