NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford Police hosted a promotional and award ceremony Friday to honor the promotion of Officer Mark Giammalvo to sergeant, and to present Lt. Ricard Rezendes, Det. Claudia Sampson and Det. Stephen Taylor with the Chief's Award for their outstanding accomplishments within and outside the department.

The ceremony was held at Keith Middle School.

Officer Giammalvo has served in uniform patrol since his appointment to the force in 2004.

Lt. Rezendes is a 28-year veteran of the force, who began his career in 1989, was promoted to sergeant in 2000 and to lieutenant in 2007. He is currently assigned to the administrative/training division, where his responsibilities include overseeing background investigations of all new officers, cadets and dispatchers; and the maintenance of all four police stations.

Lt. Rezendes oversees the Citizens Police Academy, which introduces the general public to the challenges and rewards of police work, and the Opioid Outreach Initiative, which works to improve and even save lives by following up with people who have experienced an overdose and providing them with resources to battle their addiction.

Det. Sampson is a 32-year veteran of the department. She was appointed to the department June 1, 1986 and has worked in the narcotics division and bicycle patrol, domestic violence unit and community policing before joining the detective division in 2002, where she works in the identification bureau.

She is very involved in community efforts as well. A two-time cancer survivor, she has shaved her head four years in a row for Buzz Off for Kids cancer fund-raiser. She has been a fundraiser since 2009 for Team Owen, which raises money to battle SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), a disease that took the life of 23-month-old Owen Simmons.

Her other charity efforts include participating in the police unity tour, Red Dress Fashion Show for women's heart health, Livestrong program for cancer survivors, boxer rescue and Fill the Boot for MDA, to name a few.

Perhaps most importantly, her family considers her the best mother and grandmother in the world.

Det. Taylor is a 25-year department veteran whose career began in 1992. He has worked in uniform patrol, community policing, as one of the first school resource officers and as a hostage/crisis negotiator.

Since 2013, he has worked as a detective in the family services unit and also serves as a forensic interviewer for the Bristol County Children's Advocacy Center.

In 2009, he ran his first 50-mile race in honor of Owen Simmons. The next year, he ran his first Western States 100-mile race, which he completed in 27 hours. He earned a bronze belt buckle, which he presented to Andy and Heather Simmons, Owen's parents.

He was has raised more than $120,000 in Team Owen events to support the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, which battles SMA, the disease that took the life of 23-month-old Owen Simmons. His fund-raising efforts have been recognized by the New Bedford City Council.

--New Bedford Police

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