Police Department presents officers with Officer of the Month and Life-Saving Award

By Lee Stephens

At the award ceremony, pictured (l-r) Commissioner Brian Beasley, Detective Michael Vargas, Major Michael Mills, Detective Lisa King and Commissioner Walter Harris.

The South Miami Police Department recently awarded officers with Officer of the Month and a Life-Saving Award. In May, Detectives Michael Vargas and Lisa King were both awarded Officers of the Month. The detectives are assigned to specialty investigative units within the Criminal Investigations Section. Detective King is responsible for general crimes and Detective Vargas works in narcotics. Recently, the pair has worked together on cases that involved domestic violence, child abuse and drug charges. They apprehended burglary suspects and recovered stolen property that was ultimately returned to its owners. They busted shoplifters at Sunset Place who were ultimately charged with felonies.

“The pair has worked together to achieve the objectives of the department and better serve the community,” said Major Michael Mills of the South Miami Police Department. “Both detectives are an integral part of our excellent investigative unit and they are both the recipients of multiple past awards and recognition.”

In June, Detective Joe Mendez was awarded Officer of the Month along with Michael Vargas, who was recognized for the second month in a row.

Both detectives are assigned to investigate illegal narcotics activity. Detective Joe Mendez is assigned to DEA as a Federal Task Force Officer. Mendez has recently focused on the hydroponic marijuana grow houses that are proliferating the area. During June, he assisted in shutting down several grow houses and seized approximately 500 pounds of marijuana, 1 automobile, a Cessna airplane and $38,000 in U.S. currency.

During June, Detective Vargas made 13 arrests and recovered 204 pieces of crack cocaine valued at over $2,000. For several months, he was involved in “Operation Silent Night,” an undercover drug operation which resulted in the arrests if seven targets.

“These detectives continue their objective of ridding the local community of the scourge of illegal drugs,” said Major Mills.

Officer Armando Perez was awarded the Lifesaving Award. While dining at a local restaurant, Officer Perez noticed an elderly man slumped over and unconscious at his table. He immediately began administering CPR until the man regained a pulse and fire rescue arrived.

“With just a little over a year of experience, Officer Perez demonstrated the level of professionalism and training of our officers. His actions were nothing less than admirable, brave and worthy of the prestigious Lifesaving Award,” Major Mills said.

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