GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office reflected on a year of service by presenting awards, reminiscing with officers and friends as well as sharing a meal and stories from over the past year.
County Commissioner President Brent Saunders led the event’s opening prayer. The Pledge of Allegiance was said and Sheriff Joe Browning stood with Lt. Kevin Werry and Chief Deputy Richard Grau to recognize visiting elected officials, veterans in attendance and friends of the sheriff’s office, whether colleague or former police force member.
Dinner consisted of mashed potatoes with gravy, a roast, green beans with ham as well as a biscuit on the side.
“It’s pretty well known that 2015 has been a tough year for law enforcement nationally,” said Browning. “We always try to put our best forward here in southeast Ohio. We wanted to appreciate our employees today and show back to the public that we do appreciate the efforts made not only by them but also groups that support us.”
The Gallipolis VFW received a certificate of appreciation from the sheriff’s office with Commander Bill Mangus receiving for the Gallipolis post. The post helped raise money for the sheriff’s office and contributed to the purchase of some new cruisers.
Brea Elliot, an employee with the sheriff’s office in the clerical department and a local 4-H adviser, received recognition for the 4-H group, the K-9 Korps, for helping provide funding to gift a protective vest to sheriff’s office canine unit.
Next, Andrew Blank received an award from the sheriff for no sick time use. Detective Chris Gruber also received recognition for not using sick leave. Randall Johnson also was recognized for not making use of sick time.
Randall Johnson next received an award for five years of safe driving.
Werry and Grau received awards for certified law enforcement management for having taken extra training over the course of the year to aid in better law enforcement direction and leadership.
Steve Heater received the Si Hamilton award for community-minded policing.
Johnson received a life saving award for aiding an overdosing individual earlier in the year. Eric Werry received an award for also assisting an overdosing individual.
The sheriff handed Buck Walls an award as special deputy of the year for time volunteered.
Josh Perry received recognition as corrections officer of the year.
Johnson was also recognized as deputy of the year.
“2016 is on us in two days,” Grau said. “We’ve got a lot of challenges. We’ve faced a lot of challenges in 2015, not only nationally but locally. It used to be, pretty much, that Gallia County was away from all of that. Folks, we’re in the big-time world right now. Drugs are happening and it’s absolutely killing us nationally and locally and I don’t see that trend reversing anytime in the near future. We are going to continue to work very diligently and move forward with all law enforcement in the county and with the help of folks in this room. We will put our best foot forward and do our job. We look forward to 2016 and meeting those challenges.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.