Redondo Beach city officials; police chiefs from El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Culver City and Manhattan Beach; and Redondo Beach Fire Chief Dan Madrigal gathered at Tuesday's Redondo Beach City Council meeting to humorously honor Redondo Police Chief Joe Leonardi for his work in assisting with the apprehension of a suspect July 5.
Leonardi made national news that day when he hopped on a suspect's bicycle to chase the man, who was eventually arrested at gunpoint by Officer Steve Sabosky. The suspect, Morgan Wayne Walker, 36, eventually pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years' probation.
The story didn't die after Walker's sentencing.
"We wanted to do a little special recognition for the chief (Leonardi)," Mayor Mike Gin said last Tuesday as he introduced the local police chiefs.
El Segundo Police Chief Mitch Tavera, who is also the president of the Police Chiefs Association of Los Angeles County, was the first to address Leonardi.
"I've been asked tonight to make a presentation to our 'Super Chief' Joe Leonardi," Tavera said. "As the president, it is my honor to present Joe with a pictorial … We would love to make sure that Joe hangs it on the wall."
The pictorial was a caricature of Leonardi aboard the bicycle with his coattails flapping in the wind.
"You are my hero, and I have your poster on my wall," said Manhattan Beach Police Chief Eve Irvine as she hugged Leonardi.
Once the police chiefs finished their presentation, it was Redondo Beach Fire Chief Dan Madrigal's turn.
"Joe, last week was impressive, and you truly are a cop deep down," Madrigal told Leonardi. "Really, what you did was amazing, and a show of how you feel about your community … We just couldn't let this go by without any recognition."
For his bravery, Leonardi received a golden superhero mask trophy, as well as his very own superhero costume.
Leonardi also received a bicycle tire with a plaque commemorating the chase from the city manager's office.
The police chief told those present that the "most satisfying" part of the chase was that the suspect knew Leonardi was chasing him. "(Walker) kept changing his direction and turning around," Leonardi said.
"Someday, I hope all of you do something—and I will be there (to humiliate you)," he warned city officials and the chiefs.