The North Miami Police Department’s “Officer of the Year” for 2011 is Officer Rafael Estrugo. Officer Estrugo has been with the Department for 12 years and has been selected as Officer of the Month on five occasions. Officer Estrugo is assigned to the Uniform Patrol Section, Day Shift.
Officer Estrugo was chosen for this award based on his alert actions, professionalism and initiative in the following cases:
On June 7, 2011, Officer Estrugo was working a robbery/burglary detail when a BOLO was issued regarding a vehicle involved in an armed robbery.
The subjects involved had just committed an armed robbery of a food market, taking $2000.00 from the cash registers. After fleeing from the food market in a stolen vehicle, the subjects abandoned the stolen vehicle on the side of the road and entered another vehicle. After becoming aware of the description of the new getaway vehicle, Officer Estrugo strategically positioned himself on a main thoroughfare in order to spot the vehicle. Officer Estrugo’s instincts soon paid off as he spotted the vehicle traveling northbound on Interstate 95. Officer Estrugo began to follow the vehicle, advising of its direction of travel in order to coordinate a felony stop. Along with sufficient back-up units, Officer Estrugo stopped the vehicle and took the subject into custody. The subject was positively identified by the victims, and he provided a full confession, including the identities of his co-conspirators.
On July 12, 2011, Officer Estrugo was working a burglary detail when Miami Springs Police Department requested assistance in stopping a vehicle which they suspected in numerous residential burglaries. Officer Estrugo again strategically positioned himself in order to observe the vehicle. After spotting the vehicle, Officer Estrugo began to follow it, and observed a second vehicle following closely behind the suspect vehicle. Officer Estrugo coordinated a stop of both vehicles. The suspect in the first vehicle was immediately arrested and charged with multiple burglaries. While Officer Estrugo was detaining the occupant of the second vehicle, Officer Estrugo noticed a large amount of lawn equipment inside the vehicle. Officer Estrugo built a rapport with the subject and managed to obtain a confession from him. The subject admitted to stealing the lawn equipment, was also arrested, and $4000.00 worth of stolen lawn equipment was recovered.
Officer Estrugo was chosen as Officer of the Year for 2011 and will be honored at the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held monthly at the Miami Shores Country Club, on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at Noon.