Wednesday, April 01, 2009

TOP STORY >> JPD honors its top officers, staff

Leader staff writer

Saluting their own and others, the Jacksonville Police Department presented numerous special awards at its annual banquet held last week at McArthur Assembly of God Church.

There were many individual awards honoring several members of the police department regarding their work during the Foxwood standoff in August.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office received an appreciation award for its work in assisting Jacksonville during the Foxwood subdivision shooting.

Receiving the Meritorious Service Awards were Tabby Hughes, 911 communications specialist; Det. Melissa Burroughs and former Sgt. John Staley. Burroughs and Staley were the negotiators during the stand-off in Foxwood. Hughes worked communications between the department and officers during the entire standoff.

The Medal of Valor went to Officer Melissa Williams, who was the first officer on the scene during the Foxwood shooting last summer that left the gunman dead.

The JPD’s purple heart went to Officer John Alberson, who was shot in the shoulder by the gunman during the Foxwood standoff.

There were two separate life-saving awards, which honored officers for their service.
One award went to a team of officers for its role in protecting the residents and fellow officers during the Foxwood shooting.

Honored were Lt. Martin Cass, Sgt. Bret Hibbs, Sgt. Kimberly Lett, K9 Officer Regina Boyd, Officer John Alberson, K9 Officer Christopher Galluppo, Officer John Forte, Det. Travis Perrow, Officer Christopher Schultz and Officer Joseph Lucky.

The second award went to Officer Melissa Williams and Officer Robert Mills. Last April, they were on patrol and heard a scream for help.

The officers searched the 700 block of North Hospital Drive and found an elderly woman had fallen off the back steps of her home.

When the officers arrived, she was bleeding from her head. The temperature was 45 degrees and dropping.

Chief Gary Sipes received the command staff of the year award. Sipes was the choice of 95 percent of the department’s employees for the award.

The chief received a standing ovation when he accepted his award. With tears in his eyes, Sipes said it was an honor to be selected for the award.

After the ceremony, Sipes said, “It makes me feel good. I care about these officers. They have put up with a lot of adversity in the past year.

“They are dedicated and working hard to clean up the city,” he continued. “We have turned crime rates down in 2009. We have seen a decrease in call loads with thefts and burglaries. We have conducted three different sweeps this year. We are taking an aggressive approach towards drugs.”

Det. Jerry Keefer was named detective of the year. Officer Christopher Schultz was honored as officer of the year, and supervisor of the year went to Capt. Kenny Boyd.

April Kiser, public information officer, was named humanitarian of the year for her work with the Special Olympics.

Dr. Cheryl May, a forensic anthropologist with the State Crime Lab, was given the Appreciation Award for her forensic work recovering the human remains found near Wright’s Cabinet Shop at the Jacksonville industrial park in a wooded area off Corey Drive.

Two men were charged with murder, although one may never be tried because of a lack of evidence.

The civilian of the year was awarded to jailer Diana Christy.

Auxiliary Sgt. Robert Fielding was presented with the auxiliary officer of the year award. Fielding is the lead chaplain for the department.