A number of Sedalia police officers received recognition for their duty performance Tuesday night during the department’s annual awards dinner and ceremony.
Most notable among the officers was Det. Kevin Klein, who was named the department’s officer of the year. The award was based in part on Klein’s participation and performance with the department’s STING unit during 2013, when 51 searches were conducted that resulted in 225 arrests and a 100 percent conviction rate for those taken into custody.
The department noted Klein’s efforts, dedication, duty performance and productivity in all relative categories for his receipt of the award.
The ceremony and dinner were attended by a number of city officials, including Mayor Elaine Horn, who spoke briefly. She said, “To me, you are all family. I thank you for what you do.”
During the event, two agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were singled out by the department for their leadership in Operation Coin Collector last year that resulted in numerous arrests. The two officers, in their turn, presented Police Chief John DeGonia with a plaque in recognition of the department’s efforts in the operation. Det. Joey McCulllough was also recognized by the agents for his work.
The ATF officers remained anonymous because they are still under cover, Master of Ceremonies Commander David Woolery told the Weekly Observer.
Operation Coin Collector was a drug enforcement effort that resulted in 37 arrests, 23 of which involved Sedalians.
In addition to police officers, the department gave special recognition to out-going Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser, who has been in that office for 28 years and is now a candidate for associate circuit court judge. Mittlehauser was cited for his hard work and dedication while “fighting crime with us.”
The department also made note this year, as it has in the past, of special efforts by some of its officers. For example, Sgt. Ron Miller was presented with his 12th Life Saving Ribbon during the ceremony, while Klein and Ofc. Aaron Berry each received their first ribbons in that category.
Other awards presented during the evening included:
• Letter of Commendation — Sgt. John Comfort.
• Community Service Ribbon — Det. Jill Green, 14th award; Det. Stephanie Davis, 10th award; Ofc. Daniel Benner, fifth award; Lt. William Chapman, 10th award.
• Search and Entry Ribbon — Chief DeGonia, 11th award; Ofc. Benner, first award; Ofc. Travis Lorenz, fourth award; Det. Sgt. John Howell, second award; Cdr. Woolery, fourth award; Det. Klein, fifth award; Cdr. Larry Ward, second award; Det. Larry Parham, 18th award; Ofc. Ryan Reed, ninth award; Det. Michael Elwood, first award; Ofc. David Smith, 16th award; Ofc. Bradley Arnold, first award.
• Police Commendatiom Ribbon — Det. Green, 14th award; Det. Davis, sixth award; Det. Travis St. Cyr, fifth award.
• Meritorious Service Ribbon — Det. Klein, first award; Det. Parham, second award; Ofc. David Smith, second award; Det. Joye McCullough, second award.