Officer Alex George of the Santa Maria Police Department and other top law enforcement officers from several agencies in the area were honored Wednesday night during the Santa Maria Elks Lodge’s annual recognition event. 

George has been with the Police Department for more than 15 years and has worked various assignments while on the force, including serving as a field training officer.

His bosses said George found his niche in locating and recovering stolen vehicles. In 2013, George recovered more than 70 stolen vehicles and arrested in excess of a dozen car thieves, city officials said. More importantly, George has shared his technique so others in the agency are recovering stolen vehicles.

The Elks have hosted the banquet to spotlight top law enforcement members for 43 years.

“On behalf of Santa Maria Elks Lodge Number 1538 we would like to thank all of the men and women that protect and serve our community.  All the honorees this evening should be applauded for their outstanding dedicated service,” said Steve McGehee, Elks exalted ruler.

The other honorees this year were:

» Julie Wilson, senior deputy probation officer from the Santa Barbara County Probation Department

» Chris Clement, deputy district investigator from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office

» Cpl. Frank Medina from the Guadalupe Police Department

» Office Mark Naylor from the California Highway Patrol

» Deputy Ruben Esparza from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department

» Daniel Meraz, campus safety officer from the Allan Hancock College Campus Police Department

In addition to recognizing law enforcement members, the Elks also host a separate event to honor the Santa Maria Valley’s top firefighters each year.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.