LOS ANGELES — A deputy from the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station was honored by the Anti-Defamation League March 13 for his role in bringing a community closer, not only to each other, but to law enforcement.
Deputy Marino Gonzalez was presented with the Anti-Defamation League’s Helene and Joseph Sherwood Prize for introducing neighborhood and business watch programs into the city of Cudahy as that city’s community liaison officer.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell was on hand for the award presentation and Gonzalez was introduced to the people attending the award ceremony at the Skirball Center by Adol Vergara, an administrator at Cudahy Preschool Academy.
The Sherwood Prize was created in 1996 by Joe and Helene Sherwood, founders of family owned and operated Daniel’s Jewelers, to recognize those in the law enforcement community who go above and beyond their job descriptions in combating extremism, bigotry and hatred.
According to the Anti-Defamation League and the Sheriff’s Department, Gonzalez was assigned to the city of Cudahy, a small city in Southeast Los Angeles County that is patrolled by deputies from the East Los Angeles station, in 2015.
As the sole deputy assigned to Cudahy on a full-time basis, Gonzalez immersed himself in the city, attending community events, public celebrations and City Council meetings to get to know the residents.
During his first holiday season in the city, Gonzalez established a food basket giveaway for Thanksgiving and made sure local children received something memorable at Christmas.
He was closely involved with local schools, participating in numerous book readings and career days. The city had never been involved in neighborhood watch programs, but Gonzalez reached out to community members to establish meeting locations then personally went door-to-door to introduce himself and promote the program.
To ensure its success, he educated residents living in a city largely populated by immigrants how to contact local law enforcement to report crimes and assured them not to fear deportation when reporting criminal activity.
He did the same thing with the business community to establish business watch programs.
Gonzalez also established a working relationship with the city code enforcement officer with whom he often paired up to tackle some quality-of-life issues in the city.
Since being selected to receive the award, Gonzalez has been promoted to sergeant and is no longer the community liaison to Cudahy, but the Anti-Defamation League still wanted to honor his efforts.
Gonzalez has been a part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for 23 years. Prior to that, he served four years in the U.S. Navy during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.