TIPP CITY — While police officers across the nation are being negatively represented in major media outlets, the ones who exemplify greatness to their community are often left unrecognized. As for Miami County law enforcement officers, this will be no longer.
The first Miami County Law Enforcement ceremony took place Monday at Tippecanoe High School, where awarded officers and their families attended.
Miami County law enforcement departments that were represented at the awards were Piqua Police Department, Troy Police Department, Tipp City Police Department, West Milton Police Department, Covington Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Miami County Sheriff, Miami County Communication Center, Miami County FOP Lodge 58, corrections officers, and deputy sheriff’s.
Founder of the ceremony was Chief Charles Phelps of the Troy Police Department. Phelps started an award ceremony for TPD officers last year. Because the event was so well received, Phelps proposed to extend the ceremony to Miami County law enforcers.
“They (officers) know each other by unit number or voice on the radio, but it’s not often that they get together to share something positive as far as their work is concerned,” Phelps said. “We thought this (ceremony) would be a great opportunity for that.”
President of FOP Lodge 58 Billie Ray welcomed guests with a speech before awards were handed out.
“This is our first annual Miami County Award ceremony and certainly won’t be our last,” he said.
Some of the awards presented that evening were life saving awards for correction officers preventing inmate suicides and deputy sheriffs who made successful drug arrests.
Chief Bruce Jamison of the Piqua Police Department recognized Officer Paula Craft as Officer of the Year. Craft was recognized for handling a number of investigations normally done by detectives, completing thorough reports, and able to complete operations during her OIC shift.
“(Craft has) proven to be a valuable asset to Piqua Police Department,” Jamison said. “I’m very proud of the department for making a very deserving decision.”
Craft was nominated by PPD patrol shifts through secret ballots that were then considered through an award committee at PPD.
When asked if the ceremony helps residents to have a more positive view on law enforcement officers, Phelps said, “I hope it does.”
“If you heard how many lives were saved by police officers who were recognized tonight and I think by far, the good we do outweighs the narrative that some of the media want to drive of us, which we know to be untrue,” he said.
“In a way, it’s a reinforcement for us to reinforce those good behaviors and the desire to do the best that we can do and all of those things that we took our oath to do.”