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Phoenix police officer recognized for work with disabled community

PHOENIX — As part of National Disability Awareness Month, the city of Phoenix recognized some members of the community who have made an impact in the lives of disabled citizens.

Several awards were handed out at City Hall on Tuesday to people who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make the city a better place for those with disabilities. The awards were presented in several different categories on behalf of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s Commission on Disability Issues.

One of Tuesday’s winners included a lifetime achievement award for Phoenix Police Detective Walter Olsen.

“I’ve learned in my long career that being a badged advocate for people with disabilities is probably the most amazing opportunity I’ve ever had,” Olsen said while accepting the award, which will now be renamed to the Annual Detective Walter Olsen Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor.

Olsen has spent 30 years as a Phoenix police officer and was recognized for his dedication to the disabled community, including his work in making the city’s parking more accessible for disabled people.

Stanton thanked Olsen and the other recipients for their work and said it’s important for the city to be accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities.

“If we bring (disabled people) fully into our workforce … make sure that our public accommodation — places where the public gathers is fully accessible — that’s not just good for those individuals, that’s good for all of us as a society,” he said.