The Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation honored five law enforcement officers with the 2019 “Unsung Heroes” award for their efforts in the community.
This year marks the second in which the award has been extended to all Southern Arizona law enforcement agencies.
On Thursday night, the honorees were acknowledged at the University of Arizona Hall of Champions. The five honorees are: Tucson police officers Sarah Haught, Jon Collamore, Angelica Ojeda and Duane Enos, and Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy James Allerton.
Haught is the founder of Beauty from Ashes Ranch, a longterm holistic care facility where victims of sex trafficking can get the help they need.
Working in the Police Department’s sex-trafficking unit, she learned that it can take years for victims to recover and that the justice system is not equipped to meet their needs.
The goal of the program is to reintroduce victims to educational opportunities, job training and further counseling.
“It’s a very rewarding calling to be able to serve these young survivors and victims that need our help,” Haught said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and I’m really thankful to be part of this field because we need a lot more of us out there attacking the problem.”
Jon Collamore and Angelica Ojeda
As basic training officers teaching new recruits, Collamore and Ojeda have worked to create an environment that helps recruits learn about serving the community.
When a retired Tucson police detective was diagnosed with throat cancer, it was their class that sprang into action to help. They started a fundraiser that generated more than $7,400 for the family.
“At these community outreach events, we want them to reap the benefits of that feeling that you have when you go out there and help somebody,” Collamore said.
Each year’s students learn early on what it’s like to help others.
“We instill that this is not just a 9-to-5 job. This goes beyond your regular call of duty. You’re going out and reaching out to people that need it or don’t know that they need it. There’s always somebody out there that needs help,” Ojeda said.
A 14-year police officer, Duane Enos works as school resource officer at Pueblo High School and previously worked with the Boy Scouts of America.
His work with the organization helped 10 boys get promoted to the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
As a resource officer, he identified an issue and worked to get a golf cart for campus patrols.
He used his personal truck to take the cart to Pueblo, where it is being repaired by students.
“I think we need more people to volunteer,” Enos said. “These organizations need their help and are doing great things in the community.
“I know people are busy but just an hour a day, or a weekend, or every other month, it’s huge.”
A 13-year veteran at the Sheriff’s Department, Allerton works as the public information officer, department chaplain and a member of the peer support team.
He has worked as a pastor operating the non-profit Alentar International Ministries, which connects local churches with international Christian leaders to give them the tools in continuing their ministries.
He serves as vice president of the Tucson Refugee Ministry, which works to help refugee families settle and assimilate. A future plan is to develop youth outreach programs, including an International Kids’ Camp for refugee youths.
“There’s a large community of refugees from a variety of countries, including African and Middle East countries. Regardless of your opinion about them coming here, I think it’s important that they do connect with people when they’re here,” he said.
The recipients will receive their awards at the foundation’s annual gala Jan. 26.