By Rosemary K. Otzman
At the May 13 meeting of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees, Police Captain Eric Luke announced awards for police officers.
He said in late 2012, Police Chief James Pierce said he would like to give awards to outstanding officers and so the recognition program began.
It was decided that a mountain of awards would take away from the award, Captain Luke said, so just three were given for the year 2013. They were announced during National Police Week.
Officer Joseph Balowski earned the Meritorious Service award for his actions on Nov. 20. He was dispatched to a well-being check that turned into a suicidal female armed with a knife.
After attempts to talk her into dropping the knife failed and it appeared she was about to begin harming herself, he was able to use his Taser to subdue her and bring the situation to a successful end.
“Officer Balowski showed extreme calmness and professionalism during the incident,” said Captain Luke. “His action would be impressive for a veteran officer, let alone an officer who had only been with the PD for approximately 7 months at the time.”
Officer Balowski was awarded a Uniform Citation Bar.
Officer Brian Steffani was given two awards: Patrol Productivity and Officer of the Year.
The patrol award brought him a Uniform Citation Bar and was “Awarded in recognition of the most productive and proactive patrol officer for the previous calendar year.”
His Officer of the Year award also brings a Uniform Citation Bar, and Acrylic Desk Award, and his name on a perpetual plaque in the lobby.
Captain Luke also announced the awards for 2012 that were presented in May 2013.
The Meritorious Service Award went to Sgt. Patrick Gannon; the Valued Service award to Sgt. Chris McGlynn and Sgt. Patrick Gannon; the Chief’s Recognition Award to Administrative Assistant Jewel Leonard and Operations Coordinator Malissa (Baker) Paquette; Patrol Productivity to Officer Brian Steffani; and Officer of the Year to Detective John Toth.
Captain Luke said, “Det. Toth has transformed the Detective Bureau into one of dynamic investigations, quality interrogation, expanded patrol officer guidance, and successful case closures … In other words, he gets results. In my opinion, his assignment to Detective has been one of the best things to happen to the police department in the 20 years that I have been here.”
By Rosemary K. Otzman