Officers, civilians honored at HCSO awards ceremony
The auditorium was standing room only in the County Administration Building last Thursday evening, but not for any public hearing or policy debate.
Numerous sworn officers and civilian supporters of the Hanover Sheriff’s Office were honored in the department’s 13th annual awards ceremony.
Col. David R. Hines, Hanover sheriff, presented the first award of the night—and the newest.
Col. David Hines congratulates George Sheer, the department’s Volunteer of the Year. Sheer contributed more than 510 hours to the department in 2012, serving in several capacities.
The Ruby Turner Award is given to an outstanding citizen supporter of law enforcement, and the award is named after such a citizen.
Ruby Turner, who passed away last year, was a tireless booster of Richmond-area police and sheriff departments. Her family received the inaugural award.
The Citizen Recognition award went to Jason Tench, a security officer at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, who provided the Sheriff’s Office with information that led to the arrest of a robbery suspect last summer.
The Court Services unit received the Unit Citation commendation. Court Services officers were recognized for successfully handling a heightened workload while being short-staffed throughout 2012.
Sixty-one Meritorious Service and Excellent Service awards were handed to Sheriff’s Office sworn officers and employees for various instances of exceptional work.
Next, Allan K. Smith, Jr. was named the Animal Control Officer of the Year.
Smith handled more than 1,900 calls last year, more than any other officer, and he was commended for excellent judgment in the field and establishing a good working relationship with the residents of the county. He has been with the department for over 20 years.
George Sheer earned the title Volunteer of the Year for contributing more than 510 hours to the Sheriff’s Office in 2012. He supports fleet maintenance operations, assists the training academy as a role player, helps out with special functions, and also volunteers with the motorist assistance unit.
Stephanie Pegram was named Explorer of the Year. She has been a member of Explorer Post 606 for seven years.
The Explorer program allows Hanover residents ages 14 to 20 to receive law enforcement training, as well as citizenship and leadership experience.
Pegram was cited for contributing 132 hours of service through the program last year. She assisted the crime prevention unit with educational displays and child identification fingerprinting at public events. She served as a role-player for the training academy, and her Explorers team has won several awards at competitions.
Lt. R. Wayne Pugh is the 2012 Reserve Officer of the Year.
Reserve officers are Hanover residents who volunteer their services to the Sheriff’s Office. Pugh has been with the program since it started in 1979, and the lieutenant is now responsible for administrative tasks such as scheduling reserve officers and ensuring training is provided.
Deputy Thomas E. Hauck was named Rookie of the Year.
Hauck graduated from basic training in June 2011 and currently works the midnight shift.
He has already received six commendations in his time at the Sheriff’s Office. Those include working with other officers to save a woman from a suicide attempt and for use of excellent tactics in carrying out an arrest for possession of marijuana. He continues to participate in specialized training opportunities.
The 2012 Officer of the Year is the same as the 2011 Officer of the Year and the 2008 Rookie of the Year.
Investigator Christopher Stem was commended for exemplary work in the vice narcotics unit, of which he has been a part since September 2010.
Among other accomplishments, he led an investigation that resulted in felony indictments related to a heroin distribution organization. He also identified suspects who were allegedly supplying heroin in exchange for stolen firearms, and those suspects are currently awaiting trial.
Following those awards, Del. John Cox presented a resolution from the General Assembly commending the Hanover Sheriff’s Office.
Cox has served on the Sheriff’s Business Advisory Board and currently serves as president of the Hanover Sheriff’s Foundation.
“I know up close and personal how wonderful of a sheriff’s department we have here in Hanover County, who go about their daily tasks routinely protecting and serving us citizens,” Cox said.
The Hanover Association of Businesses & Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the event and sponsored a reception at the Hanover Tavern, with all proceeds going toward the Hanover Sheriff’s Foundation.
The foundation provides financial aid to officers and their families in situations of injury, illness, or death.
The HABCC presented a check for $6,000 to the foundation.
“The secret to law enforcement in Hanover County is partnerships, whether we partner with the schools, with the county, or most importantly, as we partner with our citizens … or our businesses,” Hines said.
“In Hanover County, we practice it everyday, but we cannot practice it without you, and for that we truly thank you,” he added.
Hines thanked his staff for all of their hard work.
“You saw more people today get awards than we’ve ever given at one time, and there’s a reason for that. We had more tragic murders, and if you talk to [Commonwealth’s Attorney Trip] Chalkley, or anyone in his office, he will tell you that those murders were solved in hours.
“There was preparation put together for the courtroom. We worked with his office, but in order to do that, it’s a massive amount of people. That’s what you did,” Hines said.
Hines closed by saying that the attitude at the Hanover Sheriff’s Office is not to be better than anyone else.
“Every day, we try to go home and ask, what could we have done better? And that’s why the men and women are recognized today, because that’s what they ask themselves everyday—how can I do a better job? How can I serve better?”