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 annual Miami County Law Enforcement Awards 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 West Milton Police Department, Tipp City Police Department, Piqua Police Department, Troy Police Department, Covington Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Miami County Sheriff, Miami County Communication Center, Miami County FOP Lodge 58, corrections, and deputy sheriff.
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 Eric Burris of Tipp City Police Department recognized and awarded the following officers: Officer Anthony Smith as Officer of the Year, Officer Bruce Manez with 25 Years of Service Award, and Officer David Michel with 10 Years of Service Award.
The West Milton Police Department was represented by Chief Harry Busse and awarded Officer Mike Morgan as Officer of the Year and Sgt. Tracey Hendricks with 25 Years of Service Award.
When asked if the ceremony helps citizens 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.”
Amy Barger can be reached at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.