The Dalton Police Department recently held its annual Holiday Dinner for employees and their families and started a new tradition with the presentation of the department’s annual awards. In all, twelve employees of the agency were honored on December 9th.
In the past, awards for the employees of the year have been handed out at a ceremony in the summer, but that practice has now been moved to the end of the year banquet. In addition to the traditional awards, several new awards were added.
“We know that department members are very creative and resourceful,” said Chief Parker of the new awards created this year. “This is a way to recognize that and to encourage those traits even more. Police officers enter this profession because of what’s in their heart, and I am always amazed at what our employees can achieve just knowing that their efforts are supported and appreciated.”
Candidates for the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year Award are nominated and voted on by the agency’s members, and this year the voting ended in a tie. Records technician Stephany Cress was honored as the runner-up after a runoff election, while Patrol Division Secretary Alethea Brown was named the 2011 Non-Sworn Employee of the Year.
The Sworn Officer of the Year Award is also selected by nomination and voting by the agency’s members. This year, the award went to Sergeant Barry Batchelor, in part for his efforts to improve his level of physical fitness in line with the department’s fitness standard. Batchelor completed his first-ever 5K race a week before the award was handed out.
The new awards created this year include the Commander’s Awards, the Innovation in Police Service Awards, and the Leadership Excellence Award.
The four Commander’s Awards are given by the commanding officers of each of the department’s three divisions. The Patrol Division’s award went to Officer Matthew White. The Criminal Investigations Division award went to Detective Brandon Carter. The Support Services Division’s award went to Larry McAtee. And a Commander’s Award for Administration went to Administration Secretary Faye Pennington.
The Leadership Excellence Award is presented to a supervisor in the agency who displays the ability to manage people and resources towards achieving agency goals. The supervisor must display technical proficiency and the highest quality of human relations skills in working with fellow officers and the public. Sergeant Chip Whitfield, operations supervisor for the Criminal Investigations Divison, was honored with the award for his role in increasing case clearances and managing increased case loads for his detectives.
Three honorees were named for the Innovation in Police Service Award. Craig Engleman, the department’s crime analyst, was honored for his role in filtering crime information and trends into intelligence that can be used by patrol officers and investigators. Detectives Jason Bishop and Ricky Long were also honored for their role in change the way the city works with “cash for gold” businesses, bringing them into a similar reporting system as that used by pawn brokers to report pawned property. Through their efforts, cases have been solved, arrests have been made, and property has been recovered, and it is now tougher for criminals to sell stolen jewelry in Dalton.
Assistant Chief Truman Whitfield was presented a special recognition award in recognition for his tireless efforts in the department’s administration. When presenting the award, Chief Parker said, “the department could not be successful without his tireless efforts.”
Below: Some DPD honorees pose with their awards (front row from L to R: Detective Brandon Carter, Officer Matthew White; back row from L to R: Larry McAtee, Jason Bishop, Sgt. Chip Whitfield, Stephany Cress, Sgt. Barry Batchelor, Faye Pennington)