An audience numbering 260-plus gathered at a fundraising dinner Friday to celebrate and show support to the officers of the Shawnee Police Department (SPD).

An audience numbering 260-plus gathered at a fundraising dinner Friday to celebrate and show support to the officers of the Shawnee Police Department (SPD).

Among those recognized and honored at the Shawnee Police Foundation's annual benefit, Cpl. Beau Bohuslavicky was named 2017 Police Officer of the Year.

“He is recognized throughout the department as having a great work ethic and one who is encouraging to other officers to work just as hard,” SPD Administrator and emcee Chris Thomas said.

With the SPD since June 2011, Bohuslavicky is assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division, working the night shift.

Among his many achievements noted at the event, a few stood out.

Thomas said Bohuslavicky recovered five stolen vehicles, two stolen guns and did all of this while, at times, serving as acting supervisor.

In the last 11 months, Bohuslavicky has taken 2,576 calls for service, he took 127 reports and made 70 arrests — 12 for DUI and 17 for narcotics violations, which included three who were selling when he arrested them.

According to Shawnee Police policy, any officer who receives five letters of recognition within a calendar year is immediately recommended for a letter of Commendation — Bohuslavicky has received six, Thomas said.

“His willingness to help and share his knowledge has earned him the trust of all his supervisors and fellow officers,” Thomas said.

Last year, Cpl. Michael Myers was the foundation's 2016 Police Officer of the Year recipient.

Civilian award

Recently employed as an SPD Records Clerk, Sabrina Hutchinson was honored with Civilian Employee of the Year, the award was presented to her by SPD Chief Mason Wilson and SPF Chairperson Beverly Ledbetter.

During 2017, Hutchinson has been employed as the custodian of City Hall — and hence, the police department, Thomas said.

“She took it upon herself to learn the building and its needs,” he said. “Within a short period of time all could see a significant improvement in quality throughout the facility.”

Her professionalism, work ethic, personal friendliness and character were instrumental in the selection of transferring her to her present position, Thomas said.

Civilian Service

Wilson and Ledbetter presented the Civilian Service Award to Dillion Burge, Justin Honeycutt, Taylor Klause and Emily Ragsdale. The group — after observing a domestic disturbance Dec. 1 in the parking lot at Walmart — stepped in to protect the woman from physical assault.

“During the encounter, the suspect produced a knife, stabbing Burge in the chest multiple times,” emcee Chris Thomas said.

Burge's friends called 911 and an SPD dispatcher talked them through emergency care, he said.

“Through the care of his friends, emergency medical first responders, and the hospital medical staff, Dillion was able to survive the attack,” Thomas said.

In a society that often looks the other way or embraces a “not my problem” mentality, Thomas said these four young citizens stepped in to protect another from harm.

“Their bravery and actions are commended,” he said.

Award Citations

Six Award Citations recognizing the performance of nine officers involved in life-saving situations were issued.

First, Officer Josh Soward was recognized for his response during an incident occurring Dec. 30, 2016.

Soward, a Crisis Intervention Team member, was able to convince a suicidal subject from jumping off the Beard Street Bridge.

A second citation to Soward is one never before awarded in the history of the foundation banquets. The Police Shield was issued to Soward for heroic achievement in the performance of hazardous duty and sustaining serious bodily injury.

After a reckless driver crashed, Soward continued pursuing the suspect on foot and was hit by a truck.

“A considerable injury was sustained and after surgery, and over six months of rehab and healing, Soward was able to return to duty,” Thomas said.

Soward has been employed with the SPD since May 2016 and is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division on the night shift.

The Police Shield award also was given to Cpl. Jeff Rodgers Friday.

In 1999, Rodgers pulled over a vehicle on a traffic violation.

“Unknown to Rodgers, earlier in the evening the driver had murdered a man, set his house on fire and was driving the victim's stolen car,” Thomas said.

Just a few steps out of his patrol car, Rodgers was shot twice, leaving him with life-changing circumstances that forced him to medically retire.

Officer Daniel Crisp, Sgt. Andrew Terry, Sgt. Darrel Williams, Cpl. Jake Duggan and Nathan Helm were issued a citation after response to a self-inflicted gunshot victim.

“Each of these officers played a vital role in ensuring the victim had the greatest chance for survival while maintaining crime scene integrity, showing their ability to maintain professionalism and their willingness to go beyond the call of their normal duties to save a life,” Thomas said.

Crisp was awarded another citation after he applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from a large laceration on a suspect's arm during a vandalism call.

“Paramedics later called and advised dispatch that the suspect almost died while being transported and would have died if Crisp had not applied the tourniquet,” Thomas said.

Cpl. Kevin Nichols was awarded a citation in regard to a suicidal subject threatening to jump off the Beard Street bridge. Nichol was able to talk him off the bridge and take him to a facility for treatment, but not before treating the man to breakfast, as he had offered hi during negotiations.

Nichols is a Crisis Intervention Team member and has been employed with the SPD since October 2010 and is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division on the day shift.

Commendations

Three Letters of Commendation were awarded during the event — to Cpl. Greg VanBrunt, Cpl. Dennis Rains and Bohuslavicky.

VanBrunt was honored for going above and beyond the call of duty.

“For the past two years, VanBrunt has stepped up and volunteered to serve as the leader of Law Enforcement Explorer Post No. 2016, hosted by the SPD.

“This is a program for Pottawatomie County youth between the ages of 14 and 21 who have an interest in law enforcement,” Thomas said. “VanBrunt has 14 Explorers he is mentoring and coaching as they experience different areas in the law enforcement career.”

Thomas said VanBrunt is committed to the program by being an excellent role model for the youth and creating a program that will guide them into becoming law-abiding and service-oriented citizens to the community.

VanBrunt has been employed with the SPD since December 2010 and is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division on the night shift.

Rains responded to a vehicle and pedestrian injury accident on a busy four-lane street in November.

“Upon arrival, he immediately started CPR on an unresponsive victim and continued to update dispatch as other units arrived,” Thomas said. “Although this accident occurred on a very busy street, Rains continued to attempt to save the life of an unknown pedestrian. This quick action speaks volumes of Rains' character and compassion for the citizens of Shawnee.”

Rains has been employed with the SPD since September 2011 and is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division on the night shift.

Certificates

Among the Certificates of Recognition, three dispatchers — Felicia Smith, Haley Wright and Channa Pauley — were recognized for their ability to navigate through difficult emergency calls, resulting in positive outcomes.

Smith received her Letter of Recognition for her quick response regarding a victim acting suspiciously at City Hall. It was later discovered he was having health-related issues and was in need of medical assistance. First responders were dispatched quickly and transported the man to the hospital.

Wright was the dispatcher on duty when Civilian Service Award winner Burge was stabbed while intervening in the domestic disturbance at Walmart. Wright was able to talk Burge's friends through the incident and instructed them with life-saving instructions, Thomas said.

“The background of Wright's 911 call was very chaotic with noise of screaming and hysteria, but she focused on the caller and the patient,” he said.

Pauley earned her Letter of Recognition after answering a 911 call for an unresponsive 2-year-old child.

“She devoted a significant amount of emotion and effort into trying to save this child's life,” Thomas said. “Within just a few minutes, advanced life support was on-scene as she continued to document and maintain critical call information.”

Leanne VanBrunt was named Foundation Board Member of the Year.

Appreciation

Members of the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) program were honored for their efforts to secure grants that fund or drastically offset the cost of equipment necessary to the SPD.

“The SPD has benefitted from more than $4.976 million' worth of grants, with $2.8 million' worth of equipment that we've only spent $37,549.58 on,” Thomas said. “We could not have accomplished this without the help of Mr. Barry Borneman and Ms. Stacey Allen.”

Cpl. Vivian Lozano-Stafford was honored for her part in coordinating the Cops-N-Kids event this year.

“The event was amazing,” Thomas said. “It really was overwhelming as to what a success it was.”

The event offered a slideshow presentation created by SPD 911 Communications Manager Crissy Brown and returning to the event to perform throughout the evening was musician and singer Justin Robbins, of Shawnee.

Wilson thanked the efforts of area law enforcement agencies — the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office and the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe — for patrolling Shawnee streets Friday evening so SPD officers could attend the event.

The Shawnee Police Foundation Benefit Dinner raises funds to help provide equipment and training for the SPD that is not otherwise provided, such as:

Automatic fingerprint system, radar equipment, crime scene training, tasers, computer upgrades, a boat for lake patrol, training simulators, patrol bicycles, paint and decals for a response unit, ALICE training, mini body video cameras, ballistic helmets, ballistic SWAT vests and cell phone forensics tools.

To make a tax-exempt donation to the SPF, send it to P.O. Box 32, Shawnee OK 74802-0032.