Deputy Velek and Sergeant Olfert receive their awards Sunday.
Five Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies were named winners in the “Public Employee of the Year – County” category at the 17th annual California on Location Awards ceremony Sunday evening at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles.
Deputy Westfall, Deputy Velek, Sergeant Myers, Sergeant Olfert, and Sergeant Lewison were recognized for their film-friendly practices and efforts to help keep location filming successful in Santa Clarita.
“This is a well-deserved recognition for our local Sheriff’s Department,” Mayor Marsha McLean said. “Santa Clarita is known as a successful film community because we make filming a priority by streamlining the permitting process and balancing the needs of production with those of our business and residential communities.”
In July 2010, as part of the 21-Point Business Plan for Progress, the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department and the City’s Film Office began coordinating all assignments for location filming involving the Sheriff’s Department. This new system not only reduced costs for production, but also eliminated the need for production to coordinate with the Sheriff’s Department in Los Angeles, providing faster services.
Deputies Westfall and Velek, along with Sergeants Myers, Olfert and Lewison, received numerous compliments from production companies for their abilities to respond to numerous filming requests and frequent changes to filming schedules, while providing a higher level of service. Collaboratively, they have resolved unexpected incidents, fulfilled last minute requests, and provided film crews with traffic control services while saving production more than $30,000 in the first year of the program.
City of Santa Clarita employee Ben Gonzales was also nominated for a COLA award for his work coordinating location filming with the City’s Transit services.
COLA recognizes film location professionals, production companies, and public employee liaisons for their excellence while working in the state of California. Every year COLA selects public employees for their professional experience and willingness to go beyond their job description to serve as a liaison between film companies and the communities they work in – efforts that are helping to keep filming and its economic benefits in California.
For more information on the California on Location Awards, contact Russell Sypowicz with the City of Santa Clarita’s Film Office at 661-255-4347.