Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
Maj. Rich Townsend, left, accepts the Latino of the Year Award from Mike Fiero on behalf of Agent David Moreno.

Two Latinos who shine as role models, mentors and advocates for youths in their communities were recognized Friday for their service by the Utah Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officer's Association.

The Latino Officer of the Year Award was given to Agent David Moreno of the State Bureau of Investigations. Maj. Rich Townsend, who nominated Moreno, said "he personifies everything we want in police service."

Anna Jane Arroyo, executive director of Saint Anne's homeless shelter in Ogden, was named Latina of the Year for her more than 30 years of service to "those who can't speak for themselves," said Sgt. Sally Valdez of the Highway Patrol, and historian for the officer's association.

"We were looking for commitment toward the community, her dedication throughout the years," Valdez said.

This is the first time the local chapter, formed two years ago, has issued these awards. Members said the awards will become an annual event.

"I don't work just for my own," Arroyo said as she accepted the award. "I work for those who don't have a voice. I work for those who are disenfranchised."

Arroyo thanked the officers in attendance and tearfully asked them to give "young people that chance, the respect they deserve."

Townsend accepted the award for Moreno, who was out of town. Moreno transferred to investigations about a year ago, after three years on the Highway Patrol. In that time, Moreno has accomplished "many drug busts, and arrested a couple of public enemy Number Ones," Townsend said.

Arroyo of Roy also has worked as director of Minority Student Affairs at Weber State University. She's worked with Ogden Area Community Action to ensure its financial solvency and help it triple the number of children served. She also helped establish Image De Utah Northern Utah Chapter, which raises Hispanic scholarship funds for Weber State and Ogden-Weber Applied Technical College through Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Speaking to the officers, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff stressed the importance of mentoring, saying Latino leaders who exemplify hard work, dedication and family are needed.

"These kids need (mentors) so much, they don't feel they can ever be part of mainstream white society," he said.

The National Latino Peace Officer's Association was established in 1972, to serve as positive role models for youths, provide scholarships, promote fund-raising and network with other community organizations.