City honors its top cops

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

In a world where the worst news gets told the most, the Suffolk Police Department wanted to make sure to honor the best of its officers Thursday night at the annual City of Suffolk Police Department Awards Dinner at the Planter’s Club.

“One of the most rewarding things we get to do is celebrate the work you do in the department on a daily basis,” said Capt. Dean Smith. “Tonight is all about you guys, you staff members of the Suffolk Police Department who have excelled in your work at the department.”

Those who have excelled included the officers who saved a small child still buckled in a car seat after the car the child was riding in flipped off the side of the road.

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It also included the officers who planned the department’s holiday party in order to raise morale among the staff.

However, the biggest awards of the night were given to those who went even further above and beyond the call of duty.

Investigator Kevin Dodson was named the 2008 Officer of the Year after his five-month investigation led to the arrest of a narcotics dealer, who was found with drugs, weapons and $33,000 in counterfeit bills.

In giving Dodson the award, Smith said that Officer of the Year award was not based solely on the quality of the recommendations sent on his behalf, but also on how many were sent in for him.

Along those same lines, Sgt. Lance Callis was named the 2008 Supervisor of the Year because, according to Smith, he also received several letters commending him and his work.

Callis was also honored earlier in the night with the Community Service Award because of his efforts solving a rash of burglaries in a specific community.

But the police department did more than honor its own.

Estelita Buie was given this year’s Citizen Award for spending days soliciting donations from local businesses and residents to provide hot meals for the police officers and emergency responders helping with the tornado relief effort.

But the night always came back to the work of the police force.

More than 30 awards of noteworthy performances and departmental commendations were given to selected officers for their outstanding work.

Additionally, the Unit Fitness Awards and the Officer of the Quarter Awards were handed out Thursday.

“This is a time for everyone to reflect on the past year,” Smith said.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson and City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn were in attendance to watch.