PALMDALE — Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Laura Bettencourt was recognized for her efforts in the community, with the Larry Chimbole Public Service Award, from the League of California Cities Desert-Mountain Division.
She was presented with it during the Division’s annual awards banquet, on Friday, at the Lemon Leaf Restaurant in Palmdale.
“We couldn’t be any prouder of Laura,” Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy said. “She has dedicated so much of herself to our city and our residents over the years. Even as she continues her brave fight in her battle against cancer, she is working hard to make a positive difference in our community. Laura Bettencourt personifies the true spirit of this prestigious award.”
The Larry Chimbole Public Service Award was created to recognize elected officials and city managers serving in the Desert-Mountain Division who share its namesake’s devotion to public service through outstanding service to municipal government, leadership and activism with the League and high personal character.
Bettencourt was nominated for the award by the Palmdale City Council.
The League of California Cities is a statewide advocacy organization for municipal interests. The Desert-Mountain Division consists of 15 cities in Inyo, Los Angeles, Kern, Mono and San Bernardino counties.
In addition to Palmdale and Lancaster, the Division includes Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear Lake, Bishop, California City, Hesperia, Mammoth Lakes, Needles, Ridgecrest, Twentynine Palms, Victorville and Yucca Valley.
Bettencourt was first elected to the City Council in May 2009 and re-elected three times since, most recently in November 2018. She was named mayor pro tem in December.
She is a crime and intelligence analyst for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a position she has held for 22 years. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at Antelope Valley College, teaching criminal justice courses, for 20 yeas.
Prior to joining the Sheriff’s Department, she worked for Northrop Grumman on the B-2 stealth bomber.
Bettencourt holds an associate degree from Antelope Valley College, a bachelor’s degree in social ecology, specializing in criminology, law and society, from the University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino. While attending UC Irvine, she worked at the Irvine Police Department.
She is also certified by the California Department of Justice in Crime and Intelligence Analysis and has attended the basic and advanced DEA federal law enforcement academies for intelligence analysis in Quantico, Va.
Bettencourt is a member of the Palmdale City Audit Committee, Palmdale Airport Authority, a director on the Palmdale Financing Authority, director on the Palmdale Civic Authority, director on the Industrial Development Authority, director with the Successor Agency, a commissioner with the Palmdale Housing Authority, a delegate representative at large for the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition (NCTC) and a delegate for the California State Prison — Los Angeles County, Citizens Advisory Committee. She is also an alternate delegate for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Palmdale Recycled Water Authority (PRWA), California Contract Cities Association and US/Mexico Sister Cities Association.
Bettencourt was a member of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) commission and previously served for six years on the Board of directors for the Palmdale Aerospace Academy.
The award is named for Larry Chimbole, Palmdale’s first mayor who helped lead the drive for incorporation in 1962. He also served two terms in the state Assembly and was the first Antelope Valley resident to be elected to the Legislature.
Throughout his 12 years on the City Council and beyond, Chimbole served his community on numerous boards and organizations.
He died in 2015, at the age of 96 and was still active in community events.
He was the first honored with the Larry Chimbole Public Service Award, in 2006.
Other Palmdale officials have received the recognition, most recently former city manager Jim Purtee, in 2019, shortly before he retired.
Mayor Steve Hofbauer won the award in 2010, during his tenure as mayor pro tem.