The 12th annual Palm Springs Police and Fire Appreciation Luncheon Thursday highlighted the departments’ accomplishments, goals and service professionals.

The luncheon, sponsored by Eisenhower Health, was held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros.

Awards were presented by Palm Springs Police Department Police Chief Andy Mills and Acting Fire Chief Jason Loya, who chose an officer and firefighter “who best exemplifies the values of their department,” chamber officials said.

Mills presented the Police Officer of the Year Award to Ben Ryan and Loya presented the Firefighter of the Year Award to Mark Chavez.

The departments’ accomplishments and goals were also highlighted during the event. Before the awards were presented, Mills highlighted the police department’s improvements and efforts made last year to combat homelessness in the city, improve transparency and accountability, and to connect with community members to talk about quality of life and crime control.

“No one and I mean no one rivals or matches our sense of the men and women who work here of their integrity, their kindness, their compassion and their zeal for justice,” Mills said at the luncheon. “Their calmness and their valor in the midst of extraordinary danger is exceptional. So you folks in uniform and you plainclothes detectives who are here, our hats are off to you.”

Additionally, Lulu California Bistro’s owner Jerry Keller and CEO John Shay were presented with the Richard M. Milanovich Community Leadership Award “for their active participation in a diverse array of boards and committees and their passion for community service,” chamber officials said.

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