Law enforcement — State group recognizes Sgt. Todd Baltzell for his work with victims

The common observation of Newberg-Dundee Police Sgt. Todd Baltzell’s is how much he genuinely cares about the victims with which he works.

“He’s got a great heart for people,” said Tim Weaver, retired ser­geant and current Dundee city councilor.

For that reason, everyone will sing Balt­zell’s praises Nov. 8, when he will be presented with a Distinguished Service Award from the Oregon Peace Officers Association for his work with victims and victims’ advocacy.

“He was instrumental in developing our domestic violence resource team,” said Capt. Jeff Kosmicki. “It shows he genuinely cares about people, it’s not just a job. He absolutely (goes) above and beyond.”

Weaver said anytime he gets an opportunity to laud Baltzell, he gladly seizes it.

“Todd has an incredible ability and empathy, he’s an incredibly empathetic person and works to represent victims to the best of his ability,” Weaver said. “Some people can be trained and some people come across this ability more naturally and Todd’s one of those people.”

He said Baltzell always takes time working with each victim to walk them through the system and make sure they understand each step.

“We all try to treat victims as we would want to be treated, but it’s not always possible,” he said. “Todd always takes the time to work with victims.”

The Distinguished Service Award is given to criminal justice employees for exceptional accomplishments, and the individual must have distinguished themselves “while performing highly creditable or unusual actions,” according to the Peace Officers Association website.

The award is judged on three factors, as the recipient has to have: made a significant or major contribution to the development of programs, policies or procedures that had a positive impact; solved a neighborhood problem or conducted a long-term investigation that had a tremendous impact on the community; and taken extraordinary action while assisting the community.

“Todd is an exceptional officer in addition to his duties leading the domestic violence response team he was a detective for many years specializing in child abuse,” said Brad Berry, Yamhill County district attorney. “It’s a tough job, (but he) did an exceptional job on behalf of the victims.”

Berry described Baltzell as a “nice guy all around,” adding that it’s his mild manner that allows him to work so well with victims.

“He’s very easy to be around,” he said.

Baltzell said he’s truly honored to receive the award.

“It means a lot to me that Captain Bolek spent the time to write the nomination committee such a wonderful letter about me. Without diminishing the meaning of this award, I have to say I feel a little guilty as well. I have been surrounded by superstars throughout my career, within this agency as well as other disciplines,” Baltzell said. “All those people have made me far more successful than I would have been if I were to take this career on by myself. Our officers are truly professional and make me look good. The Yamhill County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team works tirelessly taking care of our children, they made me look good. Our Domestic Vio­lence Resource Team does all the work, but it seems as though I get all the credit. This award belongs to many people.”

He said looking back he believes God chose him for this job.

“I believe the personality traits I was given were meant for victims of crime,” he said. “I have a lot of flaws, trust me. It just seems people can tell if an officer cares or doesn’t care.”

The award ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde.

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