awards collage 2SMALLLLLLLLLSeveral awards were presented to Benton Police Department officers at a ceremony held Friday at the Benton Municipal Complex. The awards marked accomplishments made in 2016, including officers being recognized for life-saving heroics.

  • Lt. Don Robertson and Sgt. Jeremy Riedmueller each received the 2016 Life Saving Award for “members who perform an exceptional act under emergency conditions, not involving bravery, wherein a service is rendered that results directly in sustaining a human life.” It was near midnight Oct. 2, 2016, when officers were dispatched to an unresponsive person.

Upon arrival officers were able to determine the person was suffering a life-threatening opioid overdose from heroin. Sgt. Riedmueller immediately administered nasal naloxone – an opioid antagonist, which temporarily reverses the effects of the opioid allowing the victim to continue breathing. Lt. Robertson continued to assist the victim in his breathing efforts through emergency resuscitation to sustain the victim’s life while in transit to the hospital. Their combined lifesaving efforts resulted in a successful outcome for the victim, and distinguished the officers as performing exceptional acts in this event.

  • Sergeant Ronald Davidson was honored with the Benton Police Department’s Medal of Valor, which is presented to a member “who, in the line of duty, on or off duty, have placed themselves in immediate and serious danger, far above the risk that is expected, in an effort to save another person from serious injury or death.

About 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2, 2016, Sgt. Davidson was off-duty and in plain clothes inside the Simmons Bank in Benton when an armed gunman entered the building with the intent of committing a bank robbery. Sgt. Davidson was assaulted, along with other customers and bank employees, by the gunman. As the gunman jumped the counter and charged at the clerks, Sgt. Davidson engaged the suspect in an armed encounter and stopped the threat.

“Sgt. Davidson’s quick heroic actions resulted in saving the lives of the occupants and employees of the bank,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “Thank you for your heroic and courageous actions that truly distinguishes you for this award.”

  • Officer Justin Dorsey was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Meritorious Service Award for “members, in overall good standing, who have taken meritorious action in the line of duty or whose performance was exceptional and well above the norm of similarly situated members over the past year – performing a specific act, project, or mission, that was outstanding in character and made a major contribution to the best interests of the Benton Police Department.

During 2016, Officer Dorsey taught The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program to all students grades 1-5 at Howard Perrin Elementary School. He took over the bi-weekly newsletter, including revamping the design and layout, and made arrangements for school administrators to distribute it to all school staff. Officer Dorsey interviews every week on KTHV Ch. 11’s Safe Speed segment. He also took over planning for the Saline County Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, and took over responsibility for the Junior Police Academy.

During the performance of duties as a School Resource Officer at Howard Perrin Elementary School, he developed a boys group mentoring class and helps with posting and retiring of colors each morning. Officer Dorsey also started a class teaching called “All Things Flag” to help students learn about the proper way to handle the American flag, and about the history of the American flag.

  • Reserve Officer Mike Holt also was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Meritorious Service Award. Officer Holt volunteered numerous hours to multiple community programs and events.

“As a reserve officer, your hard work in the many community programs have been outstanding, touching the hearts of many citizens young and old,” Chief Lane said. “Your dedicated efforts in your volunteer assignment commanded the attention of the Benton City Council, who presented you with the Employee of the Month award in November 2016. Your work is noted as exceptional and dedicated to this department and the citizens it serves as well above the norm.”

  • Lt. Brian Bigelow received the 2016 Top Gun Award, which is presented to an officer who has shown the most achievement in their firearms qualification scores throughout the calendar year. The cumulative highest average is the recipient of this award. Lt. Brian Bigelow scored 1178 out of a possible 1200 points during the qualifications, which averaged to 98.16 percent.
  • The  Unit Achievement Award is annually presented to the departmental unit that made a significant contribution to the overall success of the police department. The 2016 recipients are the Communications Division, who handled and dispatched 49,324 calls for service.

“This in itself is a major feat, but it was accomplished during times of major remodeling and software upgrades to their operation center,” Chief Lane said.

The unit is led by Lt. Jeff Kling and Communications Supervisors Kevin Jones, Tisha King, Niki Tallent and Seth Maestas.

  • The 2016 Leadership Award is presented to members in a supervisory position who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through significant contribution to the accomplishment of the mission, goals and objectives of the department. This individual is a motivator who leads by example and by encouraging continual improvement in subordinate skills, knowledge, and abilities. By encouraging and helping other members to make the same continual improvements, in all aspects of their personal and professional lives, they set an example of character and performance worthy of imitation. They instill a positive attitude and strive continuously to promote harmony by investigating and squelching all rumors and half-truths. This individual will be one who promotes a “team work” philosophy, not only to his/her subordinates, but also to members of other units/divisions.

The 2016 Leadership Award was presented to Sgt. Jamar Bennett. During the 2016 year, Sgt. Bennett was assigned to the position of detective for the Homeland Security Taskforce.  Chief Land said Bennet’s duties in this position are multi-faceted to the mission of Homeland Security Investigations, and its partnership and mission of the Benton Police Department. The chief further said that in particular July 2016 was challenging due to numerous police officers throughout the country murdered in the line of duty and because of public unrest over interactions with law enforcement.

“It was during this time that (Sgt. Bennett) went above and beyond by developing a program named ‘Benton Strong’ which stands for ‘Solidarity Through Relationships Obtaining New Goals.’” Chief Lane said. “This program was developed to improve community relations with the police department, and open dialogue forums were developed at Benton City Hall, and several locations throughout the city. These forums developed solid partnerships with a number of citizens and communities.”

Chief Lane said the Benton Strong program developed by Sgt. Bennett will be ongoing and interactive with department’s public outreach efforts in our community policing efforts.

The 2016 Citizen’s Achievement Award was established as a special departmental award which is presented for exceptional service by a member of the public who has made an outstanding contribution to the Benton Police Department, and whose efforts are appreciated and recognized publicly by the department. Recipients of the award were:

  • Serge Krikorian (Dinner’s Ready in Benton) – For the delivery of holiday meals to on-duty officers and communications operators of the Benton Police Department and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, who worked the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
  • Sharon McCormack – Through her position at the Benton Walmart, Mrs. McCormack assisted the department with funding and items that supported: Operation Medicine Cabinet (a prescription drug take-back program), Cereal Drive, and numerous school resource programs. She also assisted in the security of a Walmart Community Grant which provided a new video camera system for our community policing efforts on social media.
  • Jamala Thomas – For her assistance with Sgt. Bennett in creating, establishing and promoting the Benton Strong (Solidarity Through Relationships Obtaining New Goals) program.