Officer Natalie Dewberry, a 20-year Santa Monica Police Department veteran, was honored October 14th at City Hall by the Com- mission on the Status of Women with a 2008 Outstanding Woman Leader Award.

Dewberry brought along 55 youngsters from the Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL), of which she has been a part for the last three years. PAL is a free after-school program for children six to 17 years old, designed to provide a safe, nurturing, nourishing and enjoyable environment for the youngsters.

Dewberry said at the ceremony that she was dedicating her award to the youngsters and she told the audience that the kids were her heroes. She then asked them to stand up and be recognized by the assembled dignitaries, police personnel and guests.

After posing for photographs, the youngsters joined Dewberry for dinner at Buca di Beppo Restaurant on Second Street, compliments of the guest of honor.

One of Dewberry’s accomplishments as a PAL officer was the creation of the “Good Deed Dollar” Program, where youngsters could earn coupons (by helping each other and staff members) that were redeemable for prizes, clothing, gift cards and school supplies at her “Good Deed Dollar Store.”

“This was the best night of my life,” she proclaimed after returning to the PAL Center after the festivities.

Dewberry plans to retire the day before her 50th birthday this year, which is December 12th.