Location: St. Mary's Parish Center, Visalia
Incident Date: 2/8/2020
Incident Time: 1800 hours
Posted by: Media Relations
Deputy Luis Araujo was named Officer of the Year Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, by the Knights of Columbus at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Visalia. He, along with officers from other agencies, were recognized during the Knights’ 37th annual Public Safety Night.
“I’d like to thank [the Knights] for giving us this award, not just for myself but for past awards and future awards and giving us a night of appreciation for law enforcement and first responders,” he said.
Lieutenant Gary Marks presented Deputy Araujo with his award.
“We’re very proud of him,” he said. “In his short tenure at the Substation, he’s really become a leader and a mentor to some of our newer deputies coming to the substation and that was one of the primary reasons why he was nominated.”
Deputy Araujo was hired at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office in 2017 following a 13-year career as an EMT with an ambulance service. He is assigned to the Visalia Substation and works Patrol in the Visalia and Ivanhoe areas.
Became a UAV operator
In October, he was selected to be an Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) drone operator and recently received has FAA 107 license as a certified drone operator.
“Growing up I’ve always been interested in technology and flying,” Deputy Araujo said. “So, being part of the UAV Unit came naturally to me.”
Deputy Araujo quickly became a leader at the Visalia Substation and newer deputies often look up to him for sound advice and assistance. He self-initiates, making contact in the community which often leads to arrests for outstanding warrants.
He also makes contacts at homeless encampments in the St. Johns River area and has encouraged many of them to better their situation through city and county programs.
Makes good decisions
Deputy Araujo makes sound, just and competent decisions even while facing the most stressful and dangerous of situations, said Sergeant Joshua Howser who nominated him for this award.
Not long ago, Deputy Araujo and one of his beat partners responded to a report of “a man with a gun.” Dispatch advised them that the victim’s estranged husband was at her residence, attempting to force his way into her home. He was armed with handgun and had already fired at least one round and he made verbal threats to the victim that if she called 911, he would “kill” any responding deputies who arrived on scene.
Deputy Araujo took command of the scene without hesitation and advanced toward a very dangerous situation.
He and his partner confronted the armed suspect. At gunpoint and from a position of cover for officer safety, Deputy Araujo told the suspect to surrender and get down on the ground. Deputies advanced on the suspect and disarmed him, taking him into custody without further incident or using any physical force.
“Due to Deputy Araujo’s sound decision making, good officer safety practices, strong command presence, being calm in the face of danger and strong leadership skills, this situation ended without any injury or use of deadly force,” Sergeant Joshua Howser said.
Deputy Araujo has quickly become one of the top investigative deputies at the patrol level and he has shown himself to be selfless, brave and humble while displaying the highest level of professionalism, Sergeant Howser said.