Volunteers were also recognized for their contributions.
Cpl. Michelle Gaden and Officer Kenneth Long were responding to an accident in February when they saw the subject in the car repeatedly stabbing himself in the chest. They were able distract him, and then disarm and restrain him. It was determined at the hospital that he had stabbed himself in the heart, and the officers had saved his life with their quick action.
This was one of the “police stories” that was related May 20 at the second annual Ormond Beach Police Department Awards Ceremony. Volunteers and department staff members were included in the awards, and the new Greg Smith Field House at the Sports Complex accommodated the large crowd.
Police Chief Henry Osterkamp told the crowd that at least twice a week, he gets a letter from a citizen who is grateful for an officer’s actions.
“The compliments far outweigh the complaints,” he said, adding that he’d like to give awards to the entire staff of officers and department employees.
The crowd gave a standing ovation to Gaden and Long when they were presented with their plaques and the chief said there is “no higher honor to bestow on an officer.”
Gaden also received an individual lifesaving award. She was off duty, out of town, when she saw a child at the bottom of a swimming pool. She performed CPR and revived the child, who made a full recovery.
Officers also dealt with the modern crime of cyber bullying. In March, police received a call regarding death threats being made through social media to students and staff of Calvary Christian Academy. Investigators interviewed students and teachers, and got a subpoena for an Internet address of an Instagram user. One of the alleged victims turned out to be the suspect and confessed.
“There was a threat of shooting at the school,” Osterkamp said. “I don’t have to tell you how serious this could have been.”
Alert officers also eliminated a dangerous situation near Ormond Beach Elementary School.
In May of last year, they found shattered glass and blood outside a home, but the female resident clamed nothing was wrong. After obtaining a search warrant, the officers discovered children living in dangerous conditions. They seized 25 marijuana plants, about 105 grams of harvested marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The illegal operation was removed from the neighborhood, and the children were taken into protective custody.
The attempted use of stolen credit cards at Mower Depot, 290 Wilmette Ave, in which several suspects from South Florida were arrested, was a continuing topic through the evening as awards were presented in different categories. Those receiving awards included store owner Scott Edwards, who called police after becoming suspicious, and Juanita Garza, records clerk, who translated so the officers could interview the suspects.
After the suspects were arrested, a team effort was required in locating a U-Haul at a motel where stolen merchandise was stored, processing the evidence and identifying the suspects.
“We got a lot of very bad individuals off the street,” Osterkamp said.
In closing remarks, the chief recognized several officers who are retiring this year, and mentioned that he plans to retire next year.