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Officer of the Year 2019

Officer Phillip Vega was named MPD's 2018 Officer of the Year. He is pictured with MPD Chief Vera Bumpers.

METRO Police Department's 37th Annual Awards Ceremony was held today at the METRO Administration building in downtown Houston. MPD officers were acknowledged for various achievements including lifesaving efforts and meritorious service.

The event also recognized the department's 2018 Officer of the Year, Officer Phillip Vega, a member of MPD's Field Operations Patrol Unit. Described by colleagues as professional, dependable, positive and committed, Vega was honored for being a model of superior ethics and conduct.

This year, METRO welcomed a new four-legged member to the police department. K-9 Sonny Ryder, along with his handler, Officer Githu Kunjachen, were greeted by enthusiastic applause. The black Labrador retriever was named in honor of the late Officer Sonny Elias Martinez. The beloved 25-year veteran of the department lost his life after a motorcycle crash in 2017.

MPD Chief Vera Bumpers took a moment to reflect on Martinez's life and his commitment to others.

"Sonny was very special to all of us. He was committed to his job, the people of this city and the mission of this agency," said Bumpers. "Sonny was a motorcycle officer, and I think the name of our new K-9 is quite fitting. I'm thankful to the Martinez family for allowing us to continue to honor Sonny's legacy in this way."

The MPD awards ceremony is one of hundreds of events taking place across the country during National Police Week, May 15-21.

MPD K9 Sonny

K-9 Sonny Ryder is the newest member of the MPD family. He was named in honor of fallen MPD Officer Sonny Elias Martinez and will begin duty with his handler, Officer Githu Kunjachen, this summer.
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