On April 6, Culver City Police Department Forensic Unit Specialist Teresa Mendoza received the Police Officers Association of Los Angeles County (P.O.A.L.A.C.) Centurion Award for excellence in the area of Support Services / Forensics.
Forensic Unit Specialist Teresa Mendoza was assigned to process the crime scene of a robbery the case and quickly started prioritizing and processing evidence. In this case, Teresa focused on the key pieces of potentially valuable evidence; the pizza boxes that had been handled by the suspects. Overall, there were over one hundred fingerprints that developed on the boxes, thirty-six of which were identifiable. She submitted fingerprints into the Los Angeles County Fingerprint Identification System (L.A.F.I.S.) and got a match. Teresa then conducted a print comparison of the pizza box print and the known fingerprint; she concluded that they were a match. The print revealed the identity of one of the suspects; a male gang member with an extremely long criminal history, and a previous job as a pizza delivery driver. The suspect was then arrested and prosecuted.