The Punta Gorda Police Department honored its 2012 top performers during the agency’s annual employee recognition family picnic at the Punta Gorda Elks Lodge #2606 on Saturday. Employees, volunteers, family members, council members, and the city manager turned out to recognize Punta Gorda’s finest. The event was hosted again this year by the Elks, who purchased, cooked, and served the food for all attendees. The event also included a bounce house for the kids, water balloon tosses, and some good old-fashioned family time.
Award recipients for 2012 included the following:
Life Saving Award
Corporal Thomas Quegan and Patrol Officer First Class Bonnie Sills
Corporal Quegan and PFC Sills were recognized for the April 22, 2012 rescue of a male who had gone into cardiac arrest in the back of a U-Haul truck. The officers arrived on scene and immediately administered CPR, acquiring a pulse. Emergency open heart surgery at a local hospital ultimately saved the male’s life.
Officer of the Year
Master Police Officer Larry Schrader
MPO Schrader was honored by his peers for his outstanding performance as the sole School Resource Officer at Charlotte High School. Since 2008, MPO Schrader has been the only SRO at Charlotte High, caring daily for 2,000 to 2,200 kids. MPO Schrader’s friendly disposition, positive attitude, and 24/7 dedication to the job and the students and staff at Charlotte High School were commended.
Civilian Employee of the Year
Telecommunicator Audrey Denis
Telecommunicator Denis was honored by her peers for her outstanding performance as the Communication’s Section Lead Trainer, and her dedication in implementing and meeting all aspects of Florida’s recently-adopted 911 certification requirements.
The Roger W. Fenneman Volunteer of the Year Award
Volunteer Mary Robson
Volunteer Mary Robson was recognized for her extraordinary dedication as she volunteered 556 hours during 2012. Quiet and unassuming, Mary’s support of a number of administrative functions within the department were acknowledged, to include her personal implementation and maintenance of the agency’s customer quality assurance program.
The Punta Gorda Police Department was proud to present this award to Mary with Mrs. Diane Fenneman present, as the agency lost former Volunteer Services Coordinator Roger Fenneman last year.
5th Annual Customer Service Award
Lieutenant Jeffrey Woodard
The agency’s prestigious fifth annual customer service award was presented to Lieutenant Jeff Woodard for his leadership in instilling and modeling a service business orientation within the agency culture. Lieutenant Woodard was also credited with making tremendous gains in fully implementing the department’s employee development program, which emphasizes internal customer service as a precursor to achieving effective and successful external customer service.
Exceptional Team Performance of the Year
Operational Proficiency Team
PFC Justin Davoult, PFC Bonnie Sills, Corporal Rebecca Grim, PFC Brandon Angelini, MPO Larry Schrader, Detective Norman Nahra, Records Clerk Pauline Hayden, Telecommunicators Cindy Proud & Greg Dyer, PFC Terry Chow, PFC Jonathan Mendel, and PFC George Karaffa
Formed in late 2011, the agency’s Operational Proficiency Team (OPT) was recognized for a myriad of outstanding accomplishments over the course of 2012. Consisting of non-ranking members of all agency components, the team meets once each month directly with the Chief of Police. The purpose of the OPT is to remove communication filters that can occur within hierarchal organizations. The group problem solves, seeks new efficiencies, dispels rumors, checks agency morale, and brainstorms innovation.
Exceptional Duty Award
Lieutenant Christopher Salsman
Lieutenant Salsman was recognized for his quick thinking and fast action in foiling an attempted robbery in Charlotte Harbor in June of 2012. While on a traffic stop north of the Barron Collier Bridge, Lieutenant Salsman intercepted a female who was attempting to enter a taxi after taking money from a convenience store register after exhibiting what appeared to be a gun. Lieutenant Salsman was also recognized by his squad members for his inspiration, stability, and ability to challenge them to constantly improve.
Special Recognition Award
Master Police Officer Katie Heck
Master Police Officer Heck was commended for her outstanding investigative skills in turning an April 2012 traffic stop for a minor speed infraction into a significant drug seizure. Recognizing the driver and keying on suspicious behavior, Officer Heck ultimately uncovered a shoebox full of drugs and seized thousands of dollars in wadded cash.
Family Member of the Year Award
Yvonne Kirdy, wife of Investigations Lieutenant Jim Kirdy, was honored as the agency’s Family Member of the Year for her tireless support of the department. Yvonne not only supports the agency during special events, but she serves as a Jammers basketball coach and provides agency personnel with advice and assistance in financial matters.
2012 Community Alliance Award
Dan Fulton, Vice President of C1 Bank, was on hand to accept the Punta Gorda Police Department’s Community Alliance Award. C1 Bank was recognized for their strong support during the agency’s hosting of the United States Police Canine Association National Field Trials in 2012, as well as their support of various other important community initiatives sponsored by the Police Department.
“Uniting our families to celebrate our great successes of 2012 is always a special day,” stated Police Chief Butch Arenal. “But the officers, employees, and volunteers of the Punta Gorda Police Department are all award winners every day of the year in my book.”Prepared by: Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal Punta Gorda Police Department