Morro Bay Police Ofc. Gene Stuart was recognized by the International Footprint Association of California Central Coast.

Morro Bay Police Ofc. Gene Stuart received an award from the International Footprint Association of
California Central Coast, Chapter 73, “in recognition of his outstanding service and professionalism to our community,” the department said in a news release.

Stuart, MBPD’s school resource officer, received the “Distinguished Service Award” at a July 15 ceremony held at the MBPD stationhouse.

Ofc. Stuart “was nominated as the July recipient for this award in recognition of his outstanding service to the community as the department’s drone coordinator/pilot,” the department said. “Over the past year, Officer Stuart has conducted UAS [drone] operations at several San Luis Obispo County and City locations. Operations have included homicide investigations, major crime scene documentation, protests, UAS [drone] presentations, and special enforcement details.”

IFA Secretary and retired former MBPD Chief, John DeRohan, explained that Sgt. Nichols, “is our organization’s award coordinator. The way the awards work is we honor about two agencies per month, one officer/deputy and one non-sworn such as a dispatcher.

“The agencies nominate their personnel for these awards and Sgt. Nichols coordinates with the agencies to present the awards on our behalf.”

Like everything else, the Coronavirus Pandemic has tripped up the Footprint Association. “In the past before COVID,” DeRohan said, “we presented the awards in person at our monthly dinner meetings. Won’t be having dinner meetings for a while, so we now go to the agencies and present the awards.”

So what does the non-profit, Footprint Association do? According to group’s website: “IFA Chapter 73’s Mission is to provide collaboration, assistance, support, and resources to local law enforcement agencies with the California Central Coast. The mission of CCCCK is to promote this collaboration, assistance, and support by targeting the youth and families of the Central Coast through an annual COPS ‘N KIDS Field Day.”

The IFA works with the “California Central Coast COPS ‘N KIDS, Inc.,” sharing a board of directors and with similar goals. “CCCCK is the sister organization to IFA Chapter 73,” reads the website, “and was officially certified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by the IRS on Aug. 9, 2006.” The IFA was started in 1992.

“The Vision for both our organizations is a Central Coast that enjoys an excellent relationship and mutual respect between our local law enforcement agencies, the communities they serve and our youth. Both our organization programs are aimed at this Vision.” See: https://ifa73-cccck.org for more on the organizations.

Shown at Ofc. Stuart’s ceremony, left to right are: MBPD professional staff members Becky Musolff and Christie Montoya, Sheriff’s Sgt. Nichols, Ofc. Stuart, Footprint Association President, Bill Blair (at podium), MBPD Chief Jody Cox, MBPD Sgt. Tony Mosqueda, Cmdr. Amy Watkins and MBPD professional staff member, Tami Ponder [We know, it’s hard to tell with the masks on].
Photo courtesy IFA Ch. 73