MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Sheriff’s Office honored their own in uniform from agencies around the county at the Fifth annual Law Enforcement Awards ceremony at Milton-Union High School on Thursday.
Jeff Waite, a Troy Police Department School Resource Officer and president of the FOP Lodge No. 58, opened the ceremony.
Miami County Sheriff David Duchak said the annual county-wide ceremony is a small way to recognize the “dedication, the duty, the sacrifice we see officers, corrections officers, telecommunicators, make on a daily basis.”
“The job they do day-in-day-out, the struggles they endure, we just can’t pay enough tribute to them,” Duchak said.
Duchak honored first-responders and Special Response Team members from Piqua and Troy and the sheriff’s office’s team for their assistance during a murder investigation on Jan. 12, 2018 in Union Township.
Duchak honored Sgt. Chris Bobb, Lt. Todd Tennant (not present), Lt. Jason Moore, Detective Aaron Garbig, Detective Steve Hickey, Detective Todd Cooper (not present) and Chief Deputy Steve Lord with commendations for their actions during last year’s car accident turned murder of a Union Twp. woman.
Randy A. Freels, 58, was charged with murdering his wife following Jan. 12, 2018, crash where Samantha S. Freels, was found dead at the scene.
Samantha Freels was found in her vehicle following a crash on State Route 55, just west of Elleman Road in Union Township.
Duchak said a phone call from the son of the victim, Anthony Freels, relayed information that Freels had been intoxicated and had weapons in his home and had intentions to use them against law enforcement. Duchak said Anthony Freels’ information led to officer safety and he was awarded the Civilian Citation, but was not present. Members of the Special Response Teams from Troy, Piqua and Miami County were also honored for their assistance at the Freels home.
Miami County 9-1-1 Director Jeff Busch named Kendal Fritz as the Employee of the Year during National Telecommunications Week. Busch said Fritz was instrumental during a 9-1-1 call involving a 2-week-old infant not breathing. Fritz worked with the parents to perform CPR while she dispatched first responders to the scene in Piqua. Fritz was recognized for her professionalism and ability to calm down those at the scene.
Officer Marty Grove recognized Chief Bruce Jamison’s pending retirement in June and honored his 33 years of service with the FOP Award.
Sheriff David Duchak honored Billie Ray with the Lodge Recognition award for his 50 years of service and his impact on the organization and its community events.
“You are invaluable to Miami County and to the Fraternal Order of Police,” Duchak said.
Duchak presented Scott Pence with a special recognition. Duchak said Pence donates his time as an auctioneer for property, such as cars and home, recovered by investigations and forfeitures by defendants. Pence conducts the auctions for the sheriff’s office at no charge.
Duchak also recognized Sherry Harter for her 35 years of service with the sheriff’s office. Harter retired in February. Duchak also honored Miami County Park District employee Austin Brown with a Civilian Citation award and Sgt. Bobb with an individual commendation. The two assisted an elderly man who was lost in one of the county parks and helped him to safety where he made a full recovery.
Troy Police Department Chief Charles Phelps honored Officer Eric Kilbourne and Officer Jeff Hubbard with Meritorious Service awards. Hubbard performed CPR on a 10-year-old boy, which saved his life. Kilbourne located a suicidal subject who was armed and was found overdosing on drugs outside of a Troy residence. Kilbourne was able to disarm the subject and perform life saving efforts, saving the man’s life as well as kept others out of harm’s way.
The Miami County Corrections Officers also recognized the following employees for the Life Saving Award: Sgt. Brandyn Mason, Jacob Kerrigan, Dawn Thomas, Jack Synder, Amber Moore, Chance Setters, Lt. Lee Larimore, Dustin Deck, Lt. Tiffany Upham, Andrew Bunch, Ryan Carson and Elizabeth Mangen.
The Miami County Sheriff’s Office recognized the following deputies: Sgt. Chris Bobb — Individual Commendation and Life Saving Award; Deputy Eric Brazel — Life Saving Award; Lt. Todd Tennant — Individual Commendation; Lt. Jason Moore — Individual Commendation; Det. Aaron Garbig — Individual Commendation; Det. Steve Hickey — Individual Commendation; Det. Todd Cooper — Individual Commendation.
The following law enforcement personnel were nominated by their peers to be recognized by their superiors for their leadership and dedication in the respective departments:
Ohio State Highway Patrol Piqua post Lt. Joseph Gebhart presented Anthony Kuhn as Post Trooper of the Year and Ashley Thomas as Dispatcher of the Year.
Covington Police Department’s Chief Lee Harmon honored Patrolman Aaron Zuhl as the Officer of the Year
Sheriff David Duchak presented Nathaniel Jessup as the 2018 Deputy of the Year
Sheriff Duchak also presented Ryan Carson was the Corrections Officer of the Year.
Piqua Police Department Chief Bruce Jamison presented Officer Devon Alexander as Officer of the Year
Tipp City Police Department’s Sgt. Nick Creech presented Officer Todd Daley as Officer of the Year
West Milton Police Department Chief Harry Busse presented Officer Jason Stevens as Officer of the Year.