Four members of the Atascadero Police Department honored with Distinguished Service Awards

ATASCADERO—The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 8, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers, with Councilmember Susan Funk joining remotely.

The agenda for the evening passed unanimously. 

Past Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley presented four Distinguished Service Awards virtually to Corporal Christopher Hall, Corporal Craig Martineau, Corporal Rene Vasquez, and Officer Zachary Yeaman-Sanchez for their bravery and hard work during the active shooter situation in Paso Robles in early June of 2020.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to participate with you all in this. I’ve been granted the opportunity by the acting Chief, and so I truly appreciate his willingness to allow me to do this,” stated Haley.


The award is given to any member of the Atascadero Police Department who acts in a manner that is above and beyond the duty required. It is also presented to a member who performs a dangerous and distinguished act that conspicuously exceeds the normal expected performance.

“When Officer Hall responded, he joined with the other units, and they, under the direction of Corporal [Rene] Vasquez, all at different points and times proceeded to locate the suspect, and they worked to try to neutralize the suspect for approximately 30 minutes. At various times each of them coming under fire. When we finally had the area actively secured, it remained an active scene well beyond that time, and Officers were finally able to remove themselves from the situation, but at various times through the course of the next two days, all four of them continued to remain a part of the process. Came back to work and went back to the process of actively looking for the suspect. All of this is done in unfamiliar areas, at night, in circumstances where they were under constant threat. Certainly, they had to be fearful and yet acted courageously and moved ahead despite that fear. It is truly valiant work that they did,” said Haley of the four members of the APD who he was Chief over at the time.

Interim Police Chief Joe Allen also spoke.

“These are true professionals. Everybody who is in this gallery today should be proud to know that these folks are on the street keeping us safe,” Allen said of Hall, Martineau, Vasquez, and Yeaman-Sanchez.

Corporal Christopher Hall, Corporal Craig Martineau, Corporal Rene Vasquez, and Officer Zachary Yeaman-Sanchez were all awarded certificates and Distinguished Service Award medals. 

City Manager Jim Lewis addressed homelessness in Atascadero during his Updates from the City Manager segment of the evening. He stated that there are a number of rules and regulations as well as a lot of agencies to coordinate with.

“When the camps appeared, I want to assure the council we immediately began responding and initiating the clean-up process. We will continue to do that with every camp we see in the commercial district and near residential neighborhoods. We want to continue to be persistent. I appreciate our police department. Our behavior health specialists worked along with psychological technicians, so we’re actually trying to offer services while we’re doing this,” stated Lewis.

He added that a first draft of a camping ordinance will be presented to the council in Sept of this year. The ordinance will be a tool to help lawfully address camps.

Fire Chief Casey Bryson presented a Public Hearing on Confirming the Cost of Vegetative Growth and/or Refuse Abatement. 5,655 notices were sent out in April of this year, with a deadline of June 1, 2023. Only 24 parcels were cut by fire city contractors. The total cost of the weed abatement was $58,355. The motion passed unanimously. 

Public Works Director Nick DeBar then addressed the council with the Public Safety Facility Project Owner’s Representative Services Contract. The new public safety facility will replace Fire Station #1, which is currently operationally and structurally deficient. He commented that the Police building is also an older building from 1960 that was bought in 1990 by the City into the Police Headquarters. He added that the Police Station is operationally and structurally sound. 

“Recently, in the last couple of years, The Armory site opened up, and we started looking at that as an option for maybe a joint public safety building or even just a single fire station #1. Due to the proximity and its location in the city,” stated DeBar.

He also stated that a couple of years ago, members of different departments in the City started meeting about a rebuild. In interviews, it was decided that the best approach to any kind of public safety building or fire station #1 would be a design-build approach. 

The Council unanimously passed awarding a professional services agreement with Vanir Construction Management, Inc. for $2,597,084 to provide Owner’s Representative services for the Atascadero Public Safety Facility Project going forward.

DeBar and Dylon Wade, an engineer from Water System Consulting (WSC), then addressed the Council with a Water Reclamation Facility Update and Alternatives Analysis Presentation. 

Atascadero’s water treatment process will need to be updated due to new regulations. The motion passed unanimously, and staff was directed to move forward into the Water Reclamation Facility replacement design phase.

Deputy City Manager Lara Christensen gave a Management Report on the Waste Management Contract. The recommendation was that the council adopt the Draft Resolution, authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract with USA Waste Alternative, Inc. (doing business as Atascadero Waste Alternatives) for the exclusive curbside collection of trash, commingled recyclables, and organic waste within City limits. The motion passed unanimously. 

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tues., Sept. 12, at 6 p.m.