The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Lt. Randy Brandt of the San Leandro (CA) Police Department as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for July 2016.
Lieutenant Brandt says one of his greatest sources of pride through his 19-year law enforcement career is his participation, supervision, and management of the SLPD's SWAT team. Lieutenant Brandt's dedication led him to create the SWAT Fitness Challenge in 2007, a program established to promote fitness and camaraderie among the local tactical teams through competition and networking. Over the years the Challenge has grown, with more than 40 teams competing in 2015, some coming from as far away as Saskatchewan, Canada.
"I brought it together to bring camaraderie and to bring training ideas together and networking," Lieutenant Brandt said.
After a visit in 2014, Lieutenant Brandt decided to honor George Mark Children's House by making it the beneficiary of the Challenge's fundraising efforts. The George Mark Children's House is a pediatric palliative care center in San Leandro, providing hospice and respite care to children, in hopes of reducing the stress on patients and their families.
"I was invited [to George Mark] as a motorcycle sergeant because the kids really liked motor cops. So we decided to bring our whole unit up there because we thought it might be a fun day," Lieutenant Brandt said. "Walking through there we were moved by what we were seeing more than the kids were about seeing us."
Each team is asked to raise at least $500 for the pediatric care center, while Lieutenant Brandt raises funds to cover the cost of the Challenge. In 2014, they raised $25,000, and in 2015, they raised $32,000. The partnership has also garnered extensive media attention for the facility, helping raise its profile in the community. In 2016, the teams raised $96,000.
Recently, one of the competitors in the SWAT Fitness Challenge learned that the child of his childhood best friend had passed away at George Mark Children's House. "That sort of brings it all home. I think it makes it all worthwhile. It's all beyond us, and it's more about them. That's what the event is about," Brandt said.
In addition to the donations, Brandt also facilitated the opportunity for one of the George Mark Children's House teenage patients to be named an SLPD honorary officer, fulfilling a dream for the patient and his family.
"[Lt.] Brandt has proven time and time again that he is a caring and dedicated individual and professional, who embodies SLPD's motto of Teamwork, Integrity, Professionalism, and Service," said Ken Sommer, Director of Advancement for George Mark Children's House.
"Undoubtedly, Lieutenant Brandt's commitment to fitness and wellness are evidenced in his assignment choices and his accomplishments in the SWAT Fitness Challenge," SLPD Sergeant Troy Young said. "He has a great sense of the importance of the community and the role law enforcement should play in our communities."
"Lieutenant Brandt's work with George Mark Children's House is commendable," Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. "Not only is his dedication to the wellness of his fellow officers, but to the children in his community. It's his life's work that earns him the July 2016 Officer of the Month Award."
Located in the nation's capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Lieutenant Brandt, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award, visit www.LawMemorial.org/OTM.