LAPSA Names Los Alamos Police Dispatcher Ruben Garcia 2016 First Responder Of The Year

LAPSA President Chris Mamula, left, presents the 2016 Los Alamos Public Safety Association First Responder of the Year Award to Los Alamos Police Department Dispatcher Ruben Garcia for his outstanding contribution to public safety during an emergency call for service. Garcia is joined by his wife Amanda at the awards ceremony Sunday at La Mesita Eatery. Photo by Kateri Morris


Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Police Department Dispatcher Ruben Garcia was honored by the Los Alamos Public Safety Association (LAPSA) during the group’s annual dinner and awards banquet Sunday.

Garcia was selected as the 2016 Public Safety First Responder of the Year Award for his contributions to public safety, community service and heroism. He was specifically recognized Sunday for his actions in speaking by telephone for more than two hours to a suicidal individual and successfully encouraging that person to come out of the house and accept assistance from waiting authorities.

“Dispatcher Garcia is very deserving of this award and we are very proud of him and the work he displays in the department,” LAPD Cmdr. Oliver Morris said during Sunday’s awards ceremony.

Garcia has worked as a dispatcher for nine years at LAPD and Police Chief Dino Sgambellone commended him for his accomplishments.

“Rueben is an outstanding dispatcher who consistently provides exceptional services to the citizens of our community,” Sgambellone said.

LAPSA President and FBI Special Agent Chris Mamula presented the award to Garcia during Sunday’s event at La Mesita Eatery in Pojoaque. He explained the awards banquet for first responders has been held for three years.

“It gives us an opportunity to recognize someone who may not otherwise receive it,” Mamula said, adding that award recipients are first nominated by their organization and based on a set of criteria, chosen by an executive committee.

The Los Alamos Public Safety Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of first responders in the community including fire, police, Los Alamos National Laboratory emergency operations and security operations.

The purpose of the Los Alamos Public Safety Association is to create a forum for senior managers and workers who are actively involved in public safety related positions within the Los Alamos Region of Northern New Mexico to meet, discuss areas of mutual interest, recognize accomplishments, and consider such actions as may be in the mutual interest of the group to improve and coordinate public safety activities.

Editor’s note: Carol A. Clark contributed to this story.

Los Alamos Police Cmdr. Oliver Morris, left, congratulates LAPSA’s First Responder of the Year, LAPD Dispatcher Ruben Garcia. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/

Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes, center, and his wife Jody at Sunday’s Los Alamos Public Safety Association’s awards banquet. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/

From left, Tracy Kneisler, Kateri Morris and her children, Sierra and Ty and Adolf and Isabel Meana at Sunday’s LAPSA awards banquet at La Mesita Eatery. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/