Chris Bolano chats with a motorist at a DUI checkpoint
UCI Police hold sobriety/driver's license checkpoint on campus as part of the university's safety and alcohol abuse prevention programs. Officer of the Year, Chris Bolano, chats with a motorist. Steve Zylius / University Communications

The UC Irvine Police Department held its annual awards event last month honoring officers and staff for exemplary service to the campus community.

“We’ve had some impressive successes this year,” said UCIPD Chief Paul Henisey, “including breaking up an alleged ring of thieves who preyed on open offices at universities across the Southland and apprehending a number of bicycle thieves who have repeatedly targeted the campus.”

In the past two years, the UCIPD has been cited for its outstanding criminal investigations by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the California College & University Police Chiefs Association. The department serves the main campus and adjacent University Hills neighborhood in Irvine, as well as UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

Honorees were nominated by their supervisors. They are:

Anthony Frisbee, Supervisor of the Year: Over the last year, Sgt. Frisbee handled high-profile criminal investigations, collaborated with UCI’s Alcohol & Other Drug Task Force and the Greek community  to curb substance-abuse related calls for police service. Additionally, he used his detection skills to identify and arrest a suspect in a string of residential burglaries.

Of special note, Frisbee’s problem-oriented policing project employed bait bikes equipped with GPS tracking to apprehend six bicycle thieves; in the prior year, just one bike thief was arrested. The California College & University Police Chiefs Association recognized the project with an Award of Distinction.

Finally, Frisbee was on a team that researched and created the UCIPD’s yearlong Leadership Development Program. It includes classes on assertive leadership, ethics, integrity, communication, diversity, community-oriented policing, supervisorial roles, criminal law, and UCI policies and procedures. Nine officers have completed the training.

Chris Bolano, Officer of the Year: Cpl. Bolano ’01 is a UCI alum of the School of Biological Sciences who has worked with the UCIPD since 2008 and was promoted to corporal this year. He’s known for his positive energy, partnership-building skills, respectful demeanor and strong work ethic. Bolano recently completed the Leadership Development Program, demonstrating his commitment to improving his skills as a police officer and supervisor.

In July, he responded to a call about a distraught student who was contemplating jumping from a campus parking structure and, along with other officers, convinced the individual to seek mental health assistance. Bolano has also conducted alcohol abuse presentations for student and community groups and was responsible for stepping up campus bicycle patrols to deter bike thefts and respond to calls in residential communities.

He received special recognition from UC San Francisco for his efforts to keep violent protesters from forcing their way into a building in which university regents were holding their November 2010 meeting. Bolano, who was fulfilling UCSF’s call for mutual aid during the regents meeting,  was injured during the incident and hospitalized.

Kaitlin Page, Community Service Officer of the Year: Page was hired as a community service officer with the UCIPD in 2009, but her positive attitude and dedication to the program earned her a promotion to field training officer a year later. She has excelled in this new role, instructing many new CSOs and suggesting improvements to the program. Page garnered the CSO of the Month award twice and represented the department at the Randy B. Lewis All-University Leadership Conference.

She has been commended by UCIPD patrol officers for exemplary decision making in the field, and her upbeat personality fosters friendships and cohesion within the CSO program.

Joseph Bessolo, Civilian Employee of the Year: Bessolo joined the UCIPD in 2001 as a CSO and now works as an administrative specialist with the CSO program, property, evidence, and lost and found. This year, he took on the task of purging, organizing and categorizing hundreds of items for a new computerized evidence-booking system and trained all the officers to use it.

Bessolo provides extraordinary service and offers ideas to help the department more effectively meet its goals.