Corporal Mike Whittaker has been named the Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department’s 2016 Officer of the Year. The annual award recognizes individuals for exceptional service, teamwork and initiative and is among the highest honors bestowed by the Harbor Police Department, which protects and oversees the safety of our San Diego Bay waterfront.
Corporal Whittaker is a 20-year Harbor Police veteran. During 2016, he was assigned to patrol while also serving as a field training officer, and as an acting supervisor on a regular basis. In spite of all of his duties and responsibilities, Corporal Whittaker managed to make 81 arrests and played a crucial role in several significant arrests.
“Corporal Whittaker has distinguished himself for this award through his hard work, compassionate service, and relentless follow up,” said Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc. “He tirelessly works to make the Port of San Diego one of the safest places in our region.”
On July 15, 2016, Corporal Whittaker and his trainee were returning from impounding evidence at San Diego Police Department Headquarters. As they were driving on C Street near Interstate 5, Corporal Whittaker heard a very faint call for help. He and his trainee stopped, rolled down their patrol car’s windows, and again heard a very faint call for help. The gasping calls led them to a seriously injured homeless man with a railroad spike lying next to him. Corporal Whittaker immediately called for medical assistance and notified San Diego Police, as it was their jurisdiction, and he and his trainee tended to the victim, who ultimately survived. A short time later, San Diego Police located and arrested the suspect who is now accused in the murders and attempted murders of at least a dozen people, most of them homeless men.
On another occasion, Corporal Whittaker recognized two armed robbery suspects from a San Diego Police alert issued several hours earlier in the evening. A victim in the robbery had been severely beaten. Whittaker detained the suspects and located a loaded handgun and the victim’s property on the suspects.
Whittaker is consistently ranked as one of Harbor Police Department’s top producers of arrests, and is a multiple recipient of the local MADD chapter’s DUI award.
About the Harbor Police:
On behalf of Port Public Safety, the San Diego Harbor Police Department is at the front line of security and service for the San Diego Bay and surrounding tidelands. They work in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies to ensure safety for visitors and residents. Patrolling our coast, marine terminals, tidelands and airport, they deter and prevent crimes like smuggling, terrorism and human trafficking. Harbor Police provides protection on the ground for San Diego International Airport, including the use of explosive and narcotic detecting K-9 officers. Their specialized expertise also extends to the sea and air with marine firefighting, and dive and aviation security teams, working together to make our region safer.
About the Port of San Diego:
The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.
The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.