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  For Immediate Release: February 13, 2015
Contact: Lt. Craig Cvetan or Sgt. Vincent Shirey (614) 752-2792

Patrol Announces 2014 Leadership Awards

COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol announced the winners of their 2014 Leadership Awards today. Top honors include:

Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper of the YearTpr. Justin N. Slusser, of the Lima Post, was selected from the eight District Troopers of the Year. During 2014, he removed 51 impaired drivers from Ohio’s roadways. He is an active member of the Lima Community Church. He volunteers in the children’s ministry section, assisting church personnel in any functions needed. He also held one of nine volunteer board member seats of the Allen County Mental Health and Human Services recovery organizational program committed to assisting and rehabilitating those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Tpr. Slusser volunteers his time by participating in a school educational program titled “Stranger Danger.” This program helps to define what a “stranger” is and how to handle a situation when one is present. Tpr. Slusser joined the Patrol in September 2011 as a member of the 151st Academy Class. He earned his commission in February of the following year and is assigned to the Lima Post. He earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement in 2013. He was selected as Post and District Trooper of the Year in 2014.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Dispatcher of the Year – Dispatcher Cheryl A. Smith, of the Canfield Dispatch Center. Disp. Smith joined the Patrol in July 1985 and was assigned to the Warren Post. In 1991, she transferred to the Canfield Dispatch Center. She was selected as Post Dispatcher of the Year in 2004; Post and District Dispatcher of the Year in 2006; and Post Dispatcher of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

Blue Max Award (Patrol’s top auto larceny enforcer) – Tpr. Shawn E. Kline, of the Cleveland Metro Post, was honored with the Blue Max Award for recovering the most stolen vehicles. In 2014, he recovered 18 stolen vehicles, valued at $68,288, resulting in the apprehension of 18 suspects. Tpr. Kline began his Patrol career with the state of Ohio in January 1997 at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He began his training as a member of the 140th Academy Class in September 2002. He earned his commission in February of the following year and was assigned to the Elyria Post. In 2013, he transferred to his most recent assignment at the Cleveland Metro Post. He earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement in 2014.

Robert M. Chiaramonte Humanitarian AwardSgt. Veroman D. Witcher, of the Piqua Post, was honored with the Robert M. Chiaramonte Humanitarian Award, which recognizes officers who are dedicated to humanitarian causes, both on the highway and in their communities. Assistance to motorists, letters of commendation and community involvement are all factors in determining the recipient. Sgt. Witcher helped found a support group called New Hope for Special Needs.  Sgt. Witcher provided assistance to other families by maintaining a prayer website, hosting special needs workshops, and distributing special needs literature. The group also provided scholarships to students majoring in special education, founded a special needs ministry within their church community, and founded and served as a coach for their church’s Special Olympics team.
Sgt. Witcher joined the Patrol in November 1985 as a member of the 115th Academy Class. He earned his commission in March of the following and was assigned to the Xenia Post, where he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year in 1989. He was selected as Post, District and State Trooper of the Year in 1997. In 2000, he transferred to the Dayton Post. In 2005, he transferred to the Piqua Post. In 2009, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to the Springfield Post to serve as an assistant post commander. In 2011, he transferred to his most recent assignment at the Piqua Post.

Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector of the Year – Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector Brandon M. Evans, of the Piqua District Commercial Enforcement Unit, was selected as Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector of the Year. MCEI Evans began his career with the Patrol in January 2012 as a Dispatcher assigned to the Piqua District Headquarters. He was promoted to a Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector in July 2012 and transferred to his most recent assignment at the Piqua District Commercial Enforcement Unit.

Electronic Technician Award – Electronic Technician 2 Trenton N. Terrill, Office of Strategic Services, was selected as Electronic Technician of the Year. An Electronic Technician 2 supports the Division by testing, maintaining, aligning, and programming many types of communications equipment.  ET 2’s also are responsible for other equipment such as RADARs, TASERs and OSHP marked vehicles. Electronic Technician 2 Terrill specializes in the area of maintaining, upgrading and deploying the OSHP specialty vehicles, which include the OSHP and OIU Command Vehicles as well as the Division’s two Skywatch towers.  Electronic Technician 2 Terrill joined the Patrol in December 2012 as an Electronic Technician 1 assigned to the Office of Strategic Services. In 2014, he was promoted to an Electronic Technician 2 and remained in the Office of Strategic Services.

Ohio Trooper Recognition Award – Tpr. Christopher T. Jester, Cleveland District Headquarters, was selected from 10 regional recipients. The Trooper Recognition Award recognizes excellence among troopers who are assigned to specialty positions. Tpr. Jester is a Crash Reconstructionist. He joined the Patrol in February 1994 as a member of the 126th Academy Class. He earned his commission in July of that year and was assigned to the Ravenna Post, where he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year by his peers in 1998. In 1999, he transferred to the Lisbon Post. He was again selected as Post Trooper of the Year in 2003 and 2006. He was selected as District Trooper of the Year in 2006. In 2012, he transferred to his most recent assignment at Cleveland District Headquarters.

Employee Recognition Award – Administrative Professional 1, Candy N. Robinson, Toledo Post, received the award presented annually to recognize excellence by a civilian employee. She began her state career in April 2011 as an administrative professional 1 and has been assigned to the Toledo Post throughout her career.

Ohio Investigative Unit State Agent of the Year – Victoria J. McBride, Canton District Office, was selected as State Agent of the Year. Agent McBride joined the Ohio Investigative Unit in August 2000 and is assigned to the Canton District Office. In 2007, she transferred to the Athens District Office. In 2010, she returned to the Canton District Office.

Police Officer of the Year – Police Officer Brian A. Hatcher, Ohio Expo Center, was selected as Police Officer of the Year. Officer Hatcher joined the Patrol in September 1997 and was assigned to the Ohio Expo Center. During his 18 year career Officer Hatcher has also been assigned to the Department of Public Safety Charles D. Shipley building. Brian is currently a Field Training Officer and has retained his Safe Driving ribbon his entire career.

Note to Editors: Below are District honors for: District Trooper of the Year, District Dispatcher of the Year, District Trooper Recognition and District Employee Recognition. For photographs of award winners, e-mail wwwOHP@dps.ohio.gov with requests.

Findlay District – Tpr Justin N. Slusser, Lima Post; Dispatcher Jennifer J. Sabin, Bowling Green Dispatch Center; Tpr. Gerald L. Gibson, Findlay District Investigations; Candy N. Robinson (Administrative Professional 1), Toledo Post.

Bucyrus District – Tpr. Juan R. Santiago, Elyria Post; Dispatcher Carrie L. Wolford, Mansfield Dispatch Center; Tpr. Brian D. Kelley, Bucyrus District Investigations; Kristin L. Seitz (Administrative Professional 1), Sandusky Post.

Cleveland District – Tpr. David M Brown, Canfield Post; Dispatcher Cheryl A. Smith, Canfield Dispatch Center; Tpr. Christopher T. Jester, Cleveland District Headquarters; Kelly M. Semple (Motor Vehicle Inspector), Cleveland District Commercial Enforcement Unit.

Piqua District – Tpr. Steven G. Posada, Wapakoneta Post; Dispatcher Dawn M. Fremder, Springfield Dispatch Center; Tpr. Kimberly A. Trout, Piqua District Investigations; Stacy L. Mullen (Administrative Professional 4), Piqua District Headquarters.

Columbus District – Tpr. Chad M. McMunn, Lancaster Post; Dispatcher James M. Stegner, Delaware Dispatch Center; Tpr. Bradley E. Long, Columbus District Headquarters; Tracy J. Miller (Administrative Professional 1), Mt. Gilead Post.

Cambridge District – Tpr. Thaddeus J. White, St. Clairsville Post; Dispatcher Richard F. Skelly, New Philadelphia Dispatch Center; Tpr. Shawn W. Allar, Cambridge District Headquarters; Richard J. Drabik (Stationary Load Limit Inspector), Cambridge District Commercial Enforcement Unit.

Wilmington District – Tpr. Andrew T. Dunn, Georgetown Post; Dispatcher Neil E. Yockey, Batavia Dispatch Center; Tpr. Jennifer Soderquist, Wilmington District Headquarters; John W. Herbert (Maintenance Repair Worker 2), Batavia Post.

Jackson District – Tpr. Thomas G. Cassity, Chillicothe Post; Dispatcher Rodney D. Robinson, Athens Dispatch Center; Tpr. Keith A. Fellure, Jackson District Investigations; Paul R. Keesee (Maintenance Repair Worker 2), Portsmouth Post.

GHQ –  Dispatcher of the Year: Dispatcher Courtney S. Franklin, Columbus Communications Center; Jessica L. Scalley (Program Administrator 1), Office of Personnel; Mark A. Wong (Public Safety Intelligence Analyst), Office of Strategic Services; Gretchen Lopez-Martinez (Management Analyst), Office of Field Operations and Melinda S. Harrison (Program Administrator 1), Office of Criminal Investigations.

Auxiliary Awards
The following awards are for the Patrol’s Auxiliary members who are an all-volunteer force that provides assistance to troopers.

William J. Duffy Award of Excellence – Stephen C. Martin
This award requires a minimum of 300 volunteer hours per year over three consecutive years.
Auxiliary Lieutenant Stephen C. Martin joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary in 2011 and is assigned to the Delaware Post. Over the last three years, he has volunteered an average of 351 hours per year which includes riding on patrol, working at sobriety checkpoints and assisting at special details.
In addition to volunteering with the Patrol, Auxiliary Lieutenant Martin’s full-time job is a support specialist for Solutions thru Software.

State Auxiliary Officer of the Year- Eric L. Ross
Auxiliary Officer Eric L. Ross joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary in 2013 and is assigned to the Springfield Post. In 2014, Auxiliary Officer Ross volunteered 475 hours of time in assisting with Patrol duties. This time included riding on patrol, assisting at the Ohio State Fair, Ohio State University football game details, sobriety checkpoints, Shield details and working at the Academy store.

Auxiliary Officer Ross works for the City of Fairborn in the Water Department as a maintenance worker.

Earl Ulmer Meritorious Service Award – Bryon M. Doty
The Ulmer Meritorious Service Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an Auxiliary officer for outstanding service, courage, valor or heroism.

Auxiliary Major Bryon M. Doty of the Delaware Post earned the Ulmer Award for his outstanding services to the Patrol. He joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary in 2011. Auxiliary Major Doty has amassed unparalleled hours of services time in the nearly four years that he has been with the Auxiliary program. He has won multiple District Awards along with the State Award and the Duffy Award. He has worked at all Ohio State University football games and has cooked before every game for the troopers working the games. He regularly works special details, rides with troopers on a regular basis even during holidays, and is ready to assist and help in any situation with the Patrol or Auxiliary. He is ready to service at a moment's notice without hesitation and with no thoughts of receiving anything in return for his efforts. He continues to display the core values of the Patrol and the Auxiliary in his everyday action.

In addition to volunteering with the Patrol’s Auxiliary, Auxiliary Major Doty owns his own electronics company.

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