Crime fighters honored
Scott Heng is tied to South Lake Tahoe. From coaching Little League to sitting on the board of directors for the Women’s Center, Heng enjoys being a part of his community.
The South Lake Tahoe police officer was honored for his commitment to community service earlier this month during the department’s annual awards ceremony. Heng was one of three officers to be recognized.
“I do what I do out of love for the work, not for awards. But it is an honor to be recognized by your peers,” Heng said.
Heng was nominated for the community service award by fellow officers. The nominations go before a committee and the final selections are made by Police and Fire Chief Brad Bennett.
Heng’s family moved to the South Shore when he was 8. After getting a degree at Sacramento State, Heng started his law enforcement career with the Tracy Police Department. After two years he returned to the lake.
“I never had a desire to work in a big city. I always wanted to be closer to the people I’m working for, and in a big city I don’t think officers get that connection,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that you owe something to the community you work for.”
Heng has put action behind his philosophy. He is an advisor for the police department’s Explorer group and a coordinator for the reserve program, along with his community service duties.
“I enjoy staying busy and I enjoy this community. Anyone who says there is nothing to do here hasn’t looked around,” he said.
Officers like Heng depend on the department’s reserve force. Mark Gentle, a native Australian, has been volunteering his time for almost three years. The general contractor was recognized as the reserve officer of the year.
“My father was a police officer all of his life in Australia. I’ve always had an interest, so in 1996 I took the classes,” he said.
Gentle works as a reserve training officer, mostly during the night shift. He puts in an eight-hour day with the police department after working around 10 hours as a contractor.
“I enjoy the job and communicating with the general public,” he said.
Officer Terry Daniels, who missed the ceremony due to training, was awarded the Arthur Duane Ritter Memorial Officer of the Year award. The award, named after an officer who died of a heart attack at the age of 52, is given to an officer who has shown devotion to both the profession and the community.
Eric Lewis, a graduating senior from South Tahoe High School, was named Explorer of the year. The 19-year-old has been with the Boy Scouts-sponsored program for six years. Officer Rebecca Inman, head advisor for the Explorers, said Lewis has been a role model for the group.
“He has demonstrated consistency, dedication to teamwork, and integrity,” Inman said.
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