Rotary Club of Beverly Hills Honors Local Heroes

Beverly Hills is known for its world class police, fire and city services and on May 6, the spotlight shined on the individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make that possible. 

During its annual City Awards Program, the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills honored staff from the police, fire, planning, human services and public works departments. While each honoree has a different background and skill set, they all share one thing in common: a deep devotion to Beverly Hills and its residents.

Honorees were praised for their innovative efforts to support, protect and improve the community. This includes new initiatives to reduce homelessness, bring the city into compliance with state housing law and provide concierge-level customer service to residents.

Beverly Hills Police Department Officer and Beverly Hills High School alumnus Dom Sandifer was honored for his relentless dedication on the SWAT and K-9 teams. Chief Stainbrook described Sandifer as “one of our up-and-coming stars in the department” and thanked him for always going above and beyond in the line of duty.

Sandifer said his position at the department demands a lot of him, but he’s always happy to rise to the challenge. 

“It’s a lot of early mornings, a lot of late evenings, a lot of getting called in from home, a lot of explaining to my wife, ‘Hey, I love you, I got to go protect the city,’ which I love doing,” he said, adding that he takes pride in the knowing “when things get extremely dangerous, we are the people that they call to come handle the problem.”

Sandifer also thanked his partner Lobo, a Mao German Shepard mix who lives with him and works with him in the K-9 unit. 

“He climbs ladders, climbs trees, jumps over 6-foot walls, whatever you name, the dog can do,” he said.

Human Services Administrator Christopher Paulson was recognized for his work helping implement the city’s comprehensive homelessness response plan. This includes a 24/7 hotline for residents to report homeless people in need of services, enhanced coordination with BHPD and Beverly Hills Fire Department and new housing resources. 

“I think one of the biggest challenges we have here is that we’re surrounded by the behemoth that is Los Angeles and their unhoused problems,” said Paulson, “but what I see that’s so amazing about Beverly Hills is everyone in this room, it’s our City Council, it is everyone that participates in this community and shows their compassion and their desire to help lift people off the streets.”

Senior Planner Chloe Chen was honored for her meticulous efforts to get Beverly Hills’ Housing Element approved and thereby prevent the city from losing local zoning control.

“We’re very happy to have completed the process,” she said. “It took us about four years to do and I want to say thank you to everyone who supported that process in our department and higher up in the organization, as well as some of the commissioners and council members that are here as well.”

Customer Relations Manager Amy Hahn was thanked for her work helping launch the AskBH program, which provides residents with a single point of contact for all assistance on City services, programs, and events. Queries could range anywhere from how to report a pothole, to requesting bulky item pickup, receiving information on a council meeting, applying for a permit and much more. 

“We know government can be complex, so now you don’t need to navigate that by yourself and try to figure out what phone number or what email belongs with what service provider,” she said. “Just call our team and we’ll provide an answer on the spot.” 

Fire Administrator Michael Liongson was thanked for his 17 years of service in the department and his work overseeing BHFD’s budget contracts and risk management program. He is also the only member of the fire department to have received the Rotary distinction twice.

The first time he was recognized in 2012, he dedicated the honor to his family and pastor. This time around he dedicated it to the members of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills and thanked them for their service to the community. 

Beverly Hills Police Department Management Assistant Rocio Kershenbaum was praised for her work overseeing the BHPD foundation and serving as an executive assistant to Police Chief Mark Stainbrook.

“Rocio is that go-to person that gets everything done in the office and keeps me out of trouble and helps us accomplish our mission,” said Stainbrook. “We really appreciate her.”

Kershenbaum said she loved working for Stainbrook and getting the chance to give back to the community through a public sector job. 

“I feel part of a family, a community and I think that’s the most wonderful thing about working in Beverly Hills,” she said. “I never thought I was going to end up here and I feel so blessed.” 

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