Aharonian Honored for Exceptional Service

John Ferrera, El Vaquero Staff Writer

When he was in sixth grade, fate came knocking, and it had his skateboard.

Glendale college police officer Rony Aharonian recalls the most influential moment to his career choice.

“I came home from school and five to ten minutes later there was a knock at the door … it was a Glendale Police officer, he showed me my skateboard and said, ‘are you missing this?’ He observed a male suspect jump over a chain linked fence and then jump back with the skateboard in his hand. That small contact influenced me tremendously,” said Aharonian.

On Feb. 27, Aharonian was awarded the Chief’s Letter Commendation of Meritorious Conduct at the Board of Trustees meeting by Glendale college police chief Gary Montecuollo, for his proactive police work and excellent service to the campus community.

Aharonian’s wife, 1-year-old daughter, and fellow officers were present for his acclamation.

Montecuollo shared three stories of Aharonian’s commendable police work with the audience before presenting him with the award.

In Aug. 2011, Aharonian was patrolling the Glendale Civic Auditorium parking structure when he happened across a suspicious man reclined in his vehicle.

“Parking structures are known for narcotic — as well as lewd and lascivious — activities,” said Aharonian.
While approaching the vehicle, he witnessed the suspect drop something into his center console. When Aharonian asked the man to retrieve the item he revealed a Marlboro cigarette case containing a vile of cocaine along with other drug paraphernalia.

Upon searching the car, Aharonian discovered two handguns in the glove compartment with loaded magazines.

The suspect had a warrant for his arrest by the Glendale Police Department and had been hiding on campus before being discovered by Aharonian.

On Nov. 8, while driving down Mountain Street, Aharonian spotted a vehicle with its headlights out. A routine stop for a traffic violation, became a dangerous situation, when the suspect failed to yield for about half a mile.

Aharonian followed the suspect to his residence at 1570 N. Verdugo Road, where he received a radio call that there had been a hit and run on Mountain Street and the 2 Freeway.

“When they dispatched the make and model of the vehicle and the license plate, I immediately recognized the license plate as the vehicle I had stopped,” said Aharonian, who quickly switched to the Glendale Police Department frequency and informed them he had stopped the vehicle.

The third action Montecuollo wanted to commend Aharonian for was his assistance in potentially saving the life of a female student at GCC on Feb. 24.

While waiting for the paramedics to arrive Aharonian discovered a device synonymous with diabetes on an unresponsive female, which allowed the college’s registered nurse, Maureen McNeely, to administer proper treatment.

Montecuollo quoted a letter he had received from McNeely following the incident.

“Had officer Aharonian not pointed out the medical device, which was most likely the cause of the problem, the student may not have survived.”

“There’s no other higher calling in my opinion, that to do actions that would save someone’s life, it is with this, that I believe Rony demonstrated not only the core values of our college, but also of the police department, and therefore is awarded the Chief’s Letter Commendation of Meritorious Conduct,” said Montecuollo.

Aharonian approached the podium to applause as he received his award.

“This is truly an honor to receive such an award from Gary Montecuollo,” said Aharonian.

The board of trustee members enticed Aharonian to introduce his wife and daughter to the audience, which was followed by more applause.

Now a family man, he admits to living more cautiously, however he has faith in his fellow officers to be there for him in life threatening situations.

“There’s a strong camaraderie amongst police officers, and everybody that’s working that day, makes sure that everybody goes home safe,” said Aharonian, who has remained humble after receiving the award.

“None of us do it for the recognition. Anybody who was in my shoes that wears this uniform would have done exactly the same that I did, that’s just what we do.”