Local heroes receive honorsTeam efforts and individual work receive commendation Friday during the Superior Police Department’s annual awards ceremony.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Team efforts and individual work receive commendation Friday during the Superior Police Department’s annual awards ceremony.
“It’s important that we, as an agency, recognize the efforts of our officers, the success of our officers,” said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse, but it’s also important for citizens to know what’s going on in the community.
“We’re doing more than just blowing our own horn here,” the chief said. “We’re saying these things are happening in our city and it’s important that you know they’re happening so you can keep yourself safe.”
Achievements to be recognized include getting drug dealers off the street, tracking stolen guns and catching thieves who preyed on cars along Wisconsin Point.
Work surrounding an officer-involved shooting in February nets 24 awards. Three officers — Sgt. William Lear, Officer Todd Carlson and Investigator Jeffrey Harriman — receive the Medal of Valor, the department’s second highest honor.
“They acted professionally in a situation that required a high amount of valor and courage that was not in the normal routine of police officers’ duties,” said Deputy Chief Nick Alexander.
Another 21 officers receive recognition for their work on the case — those involved in the rapidly unfolding chase and those who did follow-up work to process the scene and answer questions that needed to be answered.
Three officers who pulled citizens to safety from smoke-filled buildings will receive distinguished service ribbons. One, Officer Marc Letendre, had an extra handicap — the man he was pulling from the building didn’t want to go and became combative, LaGesse said.
Narcotics officers Tim Monte and Paul Winterscheidt receive meritorious conduct certificates and ribbons for their narcotics investigations.
“Both Tim Monte and Paul Winterscheidt, expressly have been very successful in making cases, seizing drugs, money, guns,” LaGesse said. While the problem isn’t gone, he said, “these officers have really shown some drive and talent in successfully investigating these, and they’re making a difference.”
Some awards will be given out for big, public incidents like two separate shooting reports in the city — one July 4 that also exposed a marijuana grow and one at 2319 John Ave., where a man fired a shotgun into the walls and ceiling of his apartment while under the influence of controlled substances. Others are for behind-the-scenes work like tracking down the people who stole guns from Superior Shooter’s Supply.
Not all recipients are sworn law-enforcement officers. Senior Records Clerk Cynthia Berthiaume receives recognition for her leadership when the police department switched to a new vendor for its computer-aided dispatch and records management system in June.
“She pretty much taught herself the system through trial and error, looking at the help menus, and has really helped our department get better at it as she identified changes that had to be made and got the information out to our department,” LaGesse said.
Everyone is invited to attend the ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday in the Government Center Board Room.
Alexander, who has received awards in the past, most recently a meritorious conduct ribbon last year, said it really makes a difference to have your family and friends there to see your accomplishments shared with the community.
“Personally for me it was, you know, having my father, who was a retired police officer, there, and my wife and kids,” he said.
Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to get recognized for doing your job, he said. And at times, especially when the recognition is for a tragic event, it can be bittersweet.
Former Police Chief Floyd Peters started holding the awards ceremonies in 2005. A panel of Superior officers selects the award recipients.
“The purpose of the awards is so we can publically recognize the success of our officers,” LaGesse said, and to give the public a glimpse of all the work officers for which people may not be aware.