Honoring public safety personnel who keep our communities safe
The 11th Annual “Z Awards for ExZellence” luncheon was held on May 16th at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills to honor public safety personnel who go above and beyond the call of duty in order to serve the citizens of the Third Council District and the greater Los Angeles community. Fox 11 News Anchor Christine Devine presented the awards to the recipients and the Honorable Richard Katz served as the Master of Ceremonies. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also offered inspirational remarks.
Founded by Councilman Dennis P. Zine, the “Z Awards for ExZellence” is in its eleventh and final year and recognizes individuals for their ongoing dedication, commitment, and “exzellence” in their professional lives and outstanding contributions in the areas of law enforcement, public safety, and emergency services. At this year’s Z Awards ceremony, Council District Three honored personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol.
The Los Angeles Fire Department’s own Captain David Rejino and Firefighter III Todd Harris from Battalion 17 were among the honorees.
Captain David Rejino has been a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department for 25 years and has been assigned to Fire Station 72 in the Canoga Park area since 2008. During his career, he has held the ranks of Firefighter III, Apparatus Operator, and since 2007, Fire Captain. Captain Rejino and his crew provide quality fire prevention education, fire safety awareness, and disaster preparedness instruction to the surrounding community. One initiative is the Halloween Safety and Awareness Program which teaches children and their families about wearing proper costumes and understanding the guidelines for risk-free “Trick-or-Treating.” In addition, Rejino and his team spearhead a project that educates children, their parents, and teachers on the importance of wearing bike helmets, preventing serious pediatric head injuries. Captain Rejino also trains volunteer firefighters for the City of La Habra Heights, where he also holds the rank of captain. Through his passion for this work, many of the young men and women that he mentors in this volunteer position achieve their career goal of becoming professional firefighters. In fact, one of the current members of his crew at Fire Station 72 is one of those firefighters he trained from La Habra Heights.
Firefighter III Brian Todd Harris has been a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department for 13 years, 12 of which have been spent working in the West Valley at Fire Station 73 in Reseda, Fire Station 106 in West Hills, and currently at Fire Station 105 in Woodland Hills. For the past ten years, Firefighter Harris has been a part of the handpicked 40-member Brush Task Force, educating and verifying compliance of residential properties to clearance requirements throughout the City of Los Angeles. Some of his distinctions and specializations include: certified member of the LAFD Tractor Unit, certified Swift Water rescue technician, and licensed commercial pilot for both fixed-wing and rotor aircraft. He also volunteers as an instructor for the LAFD Cadet program in West Hills where he helps prepare young men and women who would like to pursue a career in the fire service. Prior to his time with the LAFD, Todd served as an LA County Deputy Sheriff working in the Custody Division, Patrol Division, Gang Suppression Team, and Warrant Unit. Firefighter Harris continues in his law enforcement career working on his days off as a Reserve Deputy.
The other honorees recognized at the event include: Deputy Darren Martin, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; Officer Adam Smith, California Highway Patrol; Officer Brian McClary, LAPD Valley Traffic Division; Sergeant Douglas Winger, LAPD West Valley Area; and Sergeant Cathy Riggs, LAPD Topanga Area.