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Award honors detectives tenacity, compassion

Dan Kelly receives Officer of the Year from Men's Ministry group
by: Jamie Valdez, Beaverton Police Det. Dan Kelly was recently recognized for his 28 years of dedicated service to the community.

Det. Dan Kelly's dedication to finding justice for victims and their families has earned him the distinction of Officer of the Year.

The Beaverton police detective was honored for his 28 years on the force Feb. 10 during the 11th annual Community Service Awards Breakfast hosted by the Men's Ministry of Valley Community Presbyterian Church.

Beaverton Police Chief David G. Bishop nominated Kelly for the award as a way to recognize his commitment to the community.

'Det. Kelly is a role model for all people, young and old, to look up to,' Bishop said.

Kelly joined Beaverton's law enforcement team Jan. 1, 1979, and was promoted to the detectives division four years later where he has served as the lead investigator on many high-profile murder, rape, missing person and robbery cases.

As a founding member of the Washington County Major Crimes Unit, Kelly has earned a reputation among his peers for being relentless in his pursuit of suspects and evidence and thorough in his investigations.

'He's an icon and an institution,' said Det. Sgt. Michael O'Connell, coordinator of the Washington County Major Crimes Team. 'He's regarded as an expert in Washington County in investigating officer-involved shootings and complicated child deaths.

'Being a detective is his calling. He's tenacious, thorough and professional. He's responsible for putting a lot of dangerous people in prison.'

In his two dozen years as a detective, Kelly has investigated 25 homicides, seven of which involved the murder of children, including Yoshio Morimoto's 1990 slaying of his wife and her two children.

He recently made two arrests in the Center Plaza Apartment murder of 24-year-old Juan Humberto Rincon Cruz.

He was also responsible for the successful imprisonment of Andrew Garver, an Aloha softball coach who fled the state with one of his players, then 15-year-old Michelle Smith.

In addition, Kelly serves as a trainer with the Sexual Assault Response Team for Washington County.

'He's solved cases that could have easily gone unsolved,' said Beaverton Det. Mike Smith. 'Dan Kelly is very tenacious, focussed and thorough.

'He does not leave good enough alone. He will go the distance to a level beyond a reasonable doubt before the case is handed over to the district attorney.'

Washington County Chief Deputy District Attorney Roger Hanlon agreed.

'Dan's got really good instincts as a detective,' Hanlon said. 'He knows how the facts he uncovers become significant during a trail.

'He's relentless and leaves no stone unturned whether he is investigating a murder, rape or robbery. He's always looking down the road in his investigations to collect the evidence needed to convince jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that he's found the right person.

'He never quits because he knows the investigation doesn't stop at the arrest or indictment. He pursues the case right through the time jurors announce their verdict.'

An inspiration

Kelly is admired by fellow detectives for his ability to act in the victim's best interest and dedication to protecting the integrity of his cases.

'This honor is well deserved,' said Beaverton Lt. Terry Merritt. 'Dan has a vast amount of experience and is one of the most thorough detectives we've had.'

He's also a good person who will seek out assistance for families in need, Bishop said.

During one of his 2006 investigations, Kelly helped a mother and daughter get back on their feet by securing about $2,000 in donations to cover housing costs and purchase food, finding a company willing to donate furniture and helping the mother find employment.

'His selflessness is an inspiration to all and his compassion makes him a valuable member of our department, and more importantly the community,' Bishop said.