Tyler police recognize officers, civilians

Published on Friday, 28 February 2014 23:33 - Written by Betty Waters blw@tylerpaper.com

Lauded for “utmost professionalism,” Charles “Chuck” Boyce was named Officer of the Year for 2013 during Tyler Police Department’s annual awards banquet Friday at Ornelas Activity Center.

The banquet honored police officers, employees and volunteers for their service during the past year, Police Chief Gary Swindle said, adding that it takes a team to pull off protection for the city.

Master of Ceremonies Doc Deason announced award recipients.

However, Tyler Patrolmen’s Association made a presentation to Mayor Barbara Bass for what it termed an outstanding job during the past six years.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since I started my role as mayor,” she said. “It has been the greatest blessing I have ever had. I have been the mayor of what has to be the best city in the United States and beyond.”

The mayor credited police for doing a phenomenal job, along with coworkers in the city, thanking police for doing their job out of love and commitment and for answering a calling to give their life and career to the safety of the community.

“We have a wonderful community who cares about Tyler and steps out and volunteers to work with the employees of the city to make all of the wonderful things happen that we need to happen in Tyler,” Mayor Bass said.

In announcing the Officer of the Year, Deason said Boyce “works well with all members of the department and always has a smile on his face and willingness in his heart to work hard and help others.”

Boyce exhibits a strong work ethic and a real desire to serve the residents of Tyler when he comes to work every day, according to the announcement.

Boyce was described as “a self-motivated officer that is very proactive in his beat by thinking ‘outside the box’ on ways to solve problems in his assigned beat.”

The Sworn Supervisor of the Year Award went to Sgt. Mike Saxion, who was hailed for creating a positive attitude in his unit. Saxion supervises officers on various shifts and instructs SWAT courses.

Saxion, according to the announcement, routinely chang­es his schedule for the good of the department, is a great motivator and shows a genuine concern for the welfare of officers whether they are on duty or off duty.

Named Plainclothes Officer of the Year was Investigator Damon Swan. He was hailed for being a determined, seasoned professional who completes his cases with the upmost detail, showing compassion for victims and family members.

Swan was credited as lead investigator on three homicides with having made eight arrests and for being responsible for charging four of the defendants with capital murder.

Melinda Melara was named Rookie Officer of the Year, who has less than two years of service as an officer and no previous law enforcement experience.

She was commended as a highly motivated hard worker who proactively works on her assigned area and volunteers for calls. She self-initiated 255 traffic stops and 52 suspicious person or suspicious vehicle calls, plus made 51 arrests.

The life saving award was presented to Officer Wayne Thomas for aiding a motorist who suffered a heart attack that caused an accident.

Lisa Evans, who has worked for the police department a little more than a year, was named Civilian Employee of the Year. She was learned her job quickly with little training and works in a position that is normally held by two employees, according to the announcement.

She was praised for striving to make no mistakes, setting and reaching high goals, showing up early and staying late, providing information in a timely manner to detectives and for taking ownership of the evidence room.

The Civilian Supervisor of the Year Award went to Maris­sa Pittman, who has worked for the department since 2006. She was described as “a great dispatcher and supervisor” who is responsible for confirming that information entered about warrants, stolen items and protective orders is correct.

The patrol division was named Unit of the Year. It is comprised of three shifts, which works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unit members routinely put their lives and welfare on the line to make the city a safer place for residents, according to the announcement.

“They are a caring and compassionate group of men and women that will do whatever it takes to get the job done whether it’s stopping a violent criminal or simply making small sacrifices that make the quality of life in Tyler better,” the announcement stated.

A police commendation was presented to Officer Josh Hill for having chased and caught a suspect in a robbery, while out with friends and family at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Longview.

Certificates of merit were presented to officers Larry Christian, Dan Forbey, Darrell Gardner, Chris Moore, Scott Behrend and Sgt. Mike Malone for having rescued a woman and her two children from a residence where she had been abused by her boyfriend. He was found hiding in the trunk of a vehicle in the garage.

A certificate of merit also was presented to Officer Gregory Harry, whose attention to details aided in the recovery of a large amount of tools and an arrest for burglary of a building.

Detectives Royce Jordan, David Cook and Jeff Roberts were cited for meritorious conduct for having located 22 victims and identified 19 suspects in organized crime and other charges.

The excellence in policing award went to Detective Gregory Harry and the president’s award went to Bill Hartley given by Tyler Patrolmen’s Association.

Robbie Campbell was named Volunteer of the Year. Campbell, who attended the 2009 Citizen’s Police Academy, was cited for having logged numerous hours by helping maintain the fleet, regularly picking up pawn tickets and helping cook for about 350 city employees during the “Called to Serve” cookout.

Citizen Certificates of Merit were presented to Clarence Harris, Charles Williams and Tom Curtis. Williams was credited for having aided police in the arrest of two individuals for burglary of a residence. Harris was praised for having placed himself in danger by pursuing two armed suspects in the robbery of a convenience store. Curtis was recognized for having assisted police in the arrest police in the arrest of a suspect in the theft of 118 pounds of copper from a truck parked inside the fence of the city’s water utilities service center.