MIAMI COUNTY — With brave men and women in mind, the Miami County Law Enforcement awards ceremony was held Tuesday evening to honor police officers, deputies, corrections officers, detectives, patrol officers, telecommunicators, and others.
Billie Ray, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 58, welcomed the law enforcement professionals and loved ones to the Fort Piqua Plaza prior to Greg Simmons, chaplain of the FOP Lodge 58 and Miami County commissioner, who opened the event with a prayer.
From saving lives to building up their departments, each local law enforcement agency in Miami County took the time to recognize those who met their challenges in 2017.
For Covington, Chief Lee Harmon recognized Patrol Officer Kevin C. Wright as the Officer of the Year at the Covington Police Department.
“Kevin has managed to exemplify what community policing is all about,” Harmon said.
Harmon honored Wright for his actions during a burglary that turned into a hostage situation where a child was being held at knife-point.
Ray, on behalf of the Miami County FOP Lodge 58, awarded Chaplain Greg Simmons and Secretary William Lance Ray Distinguished Service Awards.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak presided over a number of awards recognizing those who stood out at his department.
“Of all the duties and responsibilities we have … this is by far the proudest one I am to be at,” Duchak said.
Duchak recognized Detective Todd Cooper as the Deputy of the Year and Corrections Officer Jason Goff as the Corrections Officer of the Year, each of whom were nominated by their colleagues.
Deputy Scott Lade and Deputy Philip Osting were also honored for 30 years and 11 years of service, respectively, on the sheriff patrol.
Duchak awarded a number of Life Saving Awards, noting the large number of overdoses that took place in 2017 and the strain that it put in on the sheriff’s office. Deputies also helped saved the lives of people experiencing other medical emergencies, including Deputy Sarah Fraley, who applied tourniquets to a victim who fell and suffered multiple lacerations, as well as former Deputy Parrish Brazel, who used a defibrillator and chest compressions on an unresponsive 16-year-old who was diabetic. Brazel is also a former deputy now working with the Tipp City Police Department.
“(Last year) was a rough year,” Duchak said. He added that deputies and corrections officers “rose up to the occasion.”
Corrections officers who received the Life Saving Award and whose actions were credited with contributing to saving a life last year included Ashley Hinger, Jack Snyder, Sergeant Justin Wells, Mariah Bolin, Perry Gullette, Jason Goff, Amy Buchert, and Sgt. Lee Larimore.
Deputies who received the Life Saving Award and whose action were also credited with helping to save a life last year included Brian Peoples, Parrish Brazel, Sarah Fraley, Travis Boggs, Nate Jessup, Chase Underwood, Shaun Shell, Joseph Martin, Eric Brazel, and Justin Miller.
Duchak also awarded commendations to deputies and officers who responded to a crash scene in early May 2017, when the driver became trapped after crashing into a tree. Deputies and officers attempted to extract the driver while the car was catching fire. Extraction was not possible, but Duchak honored Officer Parrish Brazel, Deputy Jeremy Adams, Deputy Sarah Fraley, Deputy Shaun Shell, Deputy Richard Manns, and Officer Timothy Cline, Covington Police Department with commendations for putting their personal safety at risk.
On behalf of the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Sgt. Veroman Witcher honored Trooper James Davis as the Post Trooper of the Year and Dispatcher Ashley Thomas as the Dispatcher of the Year. Witcher noted that Davis dealt with nearly 700 traffic violations along with approximately three stolen vehicles, 15 marijuana violations, four OVI arrests, 21 traffic crashes and more. Witcher also noted how Thomas stood out in her field.
On behalf of the Piqua Police Department, Chief Bruce Jamison honored Officer Jeremy Weber as the Officer of the Year. Jamison noted that Weber is consistently in the top 25 percent of the department on top of numerous responsibilities at the department.
“He’s very actively involved in the Piqua community,” Jamison said.
On behalf of the Tipp City Police Department, Chief Eric Burris honored Officer Adam Grubb as the Officer of the Year. Burris said that Grubb has a positive outlook, is a team player, and is community-oriented.
“He just really cares about the job he does,” Burris said.
On behalf of the Troy Police Department, Chief Charles Phelps honored Patrol Officer Ryan Ormberg with the Distinguished Service Award and Captain Joseph Long with the Meritorious Service Award.
Ormberg was recognized for his actions when responding to a report of a missing child at Treasure Island Park on July 18 and searching the water for the child, who was later found to have drowned. Ormberg was honored for his exemplary courage and risk of personal safety, Phelps said.
Long was honored for his body of work and continual valuable service to the department.
On behalf of the West Milton Police Department, Chief Harry Busse honored Officer Mike Morgan as Officer of the Year. Busse said that Morgan is skilled in detecting illegal drug activity, has a strong work ethic, and more.
Ray, on behalf of the FOP Lodge 58, closed the ceremony, noting the cooperation and camaraderie among all of the law enforcement professionals.
“We’re all in this together,” Ray said.
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