Mark Kessler Wins Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

The Santa Monica Elk's Lodge named Santa Monica College Police Department officer Mark Kessler 2009 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year on Thursday Jan. 14, 2010.

Kessler was nominated from the SMC Police Department alongside four other law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles Sheriffs Office, Santa Monica Police Department, FBI and UCLA Police Department.

After high school Kessler put himself through college while working in grocery stores and graduated from Los Angeles Valley College with an Associates of Arts degree.

He has been with the SMC Police Department for 22 years and not only has made his mark on the college, but outside of campus in the Santa Monica community as well. When he first began working at the school he implemented a program working with SMC's international students to foster awareness of American customs and the dangers that they may face as newcomers to the city.

Other achievements include First Aid/CPR instruction throughout the city and initial involvement with the Santa Monica Relay For Life.

Despite all of the accomplishments that made Kessler worthy of the award he states that he was quite surprised when they called his name. "I was flabbergasted," he said. "I am not one who is shy, I have a loud mouth to say the least, and I could not say a word up there."

Regardless of his appreciation for receiving the award, Kessler remarks that it would have been appropriate for any of the other candidates to be in his place.

"I hate to say this, but in a lot of ways I still feel like they deserved it because they all did a lot of great things in the community too."

Moving away from the stigma that typically comes with being a college campus authority figure Kessler feels as though he has formed a positive relationship between him and the student-body.