Sunday, January 21, 2007

Police Honor Local Citizens at Annual Awards Ceremony

West Enders Bevinn O’Brien and Christine McHale received citizen awards at the second annual Portland Police Department Recognition Ceremony, which was held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Saturday, January 20. The two women were honored for grabbing and holding onto a man who was assaulting another woman at Westgate’s CVS pharmacy. The man was pinned to the ground by the women until police reached the scene. Both women are in their fifties, and placed themselves in a potentially dangerous situation. When O’Brien was asked about her actions, she said “I didn’t think; I just did it.”

Other citizen awards went to:
-Elite Taxi, for aiding in the apprehension of someone the police were looking for;
-Stephen Claffie and John Totman were recognized for their assistance in finding locations for training sites needed by the department;
-William Charles, for his many hours of volunteer work at the police department;
-Jeffrey Russell, who realized a home was being burglarized and notified police;
-Carol Young of the Peer Support Team, for her work with the stress program the police are involved in;
-Zoo Cain, who contacted the police after realizing that he hadn’t seen a resident he usually came in contact with while making his newspaper deliveries. The man had fallen and received needed help.

Lt. Bill Preis and his Day Directed Patrol team were award recipients for their creativity in using bail information to make arrests with respect to the pervasive drug problem the police department faces.

Other department personnel got awards for important arrests, outstanding accomplishments, valor, bravery, and heroism.

Officers Richard Ray and Frank Pellerin received recognition for their recent service in Iraq.
Sarah Colton, the West End’s Community Policing Coordinator, was also honored. Sarah followed a suicidal woman and kept her in sight, while notifying police, thereby saving the woman’s life.

An emotional part of the ceremony involved a black-and-white portrait of Sgt. Michael J. Wallace. The portrait was painted by Sgt. Bruce Coffin and was being presented to the police department to hang in the police headquarters. Sgt. Wallace died in 1994, and was a revered detective sergeant, known for taking people under his wing and mentoring them.

Chief Tim Burton spoke of Wallace’s wonderful qualities and his longstanding service to the department. In a very personal touch, he mentioned being the ring bearer at the sergeant’s wedding.


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