Vinton Police Chief Fabricio Drumond announced the recipients of the 2020 Police Department Awards at the Town Council meeting on April 20.
Cpl. Andrew DiCarlo was named Officer of the Year for 2020. He was presented a letter stating:
“The awards you receive in your career commemorate achievements and are direct indications in memorializing your contributions to the community in which you serve. Awards such as the Officer of the Year award are a recognition of an individual’s sacrifice and passion to create a safe place for all to live. As the precursors for the award nominations indicate: ‘the officer demonstrates a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional development.’
“It is natural over the span of a career in public service to question whether you have made a difference or made an impact. Without a doubt, the simplest actions taken by any individual in uniform have a profound impact on a victim of a crime and the community it surrounds. There is no metric that can measure a person’s passion and their determination to make an impact; it is simply a manifestation of a person’s divine love and care for humanity as a community caretaker.
“This year, we highlight one individual for high esteem, Esprit de Corp, and the dedication of their own time for the better of humanity—Cpl. DiCarlo. The fabric of law enforcement and the notion of the rule of law depends on the actions and the core values of each individual in uniform. The law enforcement profession is needed and will always be needed; it is a pillar for comraderies, human shared values, and the love of a nation and community.”
Cpl. Brandon Alterio received the 2020 Leadership Award–nominated and voted on by his peers.
His letter of recognition stated, “In the law enforcement profession, each law enforcement agency sets its sights on unified objectives, creating safe communities, building partnerships, and preserving the rule of law. The role of a law enforcement officer can already be difficult but can quickly become amplified during troubled times. During difficult times, officers are the people that are counted upon to step up for the community in need and be the guiding principle in civility. Without law enforcement and the rule of law, there would be chaos, victimization, and disorder would rule over human decency. Law Enforcement provides a necessary system of checks and balances to our society while the effective law enforcement leader molds the character and instills the morality in those officers that are needed to effectively handle this responsibility.
“Being a leader is the ability to constantly consume and adapt to the evolving nature in both their personal and professional lives. Being a police leader requires a lifelong journey of being a constant learner, a constant listener, and a person who is willing to sacrifice for the betterment of another. Leaders are effective because of how they approach their work and how they value their team. The leader’s attitude can reflect their vision, their work ethic as it directly correlates to how they choose to live their lives. By virtue, leadership is a choice, the conscious choice to influence the people whether in their care or not. The paradox of an effective leader is that they become effective because they make others better than themselves.
“In law enforcement we are drawn by a select few officers who travel the hard road, exhibit high esprit the corps, captivate us, and have the natural tendency to show care and worth to others. In simplistic terms, leaders are exceptional humans that develop a lifestyle of giving and dedicate their service to the lofty visions of aspiring others to achieve great things.
“Cpl. Alterio was named Officer of the Year last year in 2019 and continues to excel,” said Chief Drumond.
Officer Justin Baker was presented with the Lifesaving Award for 2020.
His letter of recognition stated, “The value of life is not calculated by personal careers or your monetary value. Despite varying moral and belief systems, we can attribute that our lives are extraordinarily valuable—a glorious gift from our Creator.
“In our profession, the value of human life is at the heart of every service-minded profession. Over the course of our lives, we hear repeatedly that serving a cause greater than oneself is the key to contentment, and I agree with that sentiment. The fulfillment we achieve in our lives is attributed to how we serve others, with sincerity, and with no expectation of reciprocity. Often, in our profession, we are challenged with circumstances where the very person we engage with is in critical need—in this case, their life may depend on it.
“On May 26, 2020, just after noon, officers responded to a call for service regarding an unresponsive male in his vehicle. Officer Baker, the responding officer, had two critical tasks to respond to. First, locate the vehicle, and second, render necessary aid. Officer Baker did just that. He quickly located the vehicle on a side street, identified the circumstance, and sprang into action. Officer Baker safely removed the motorist from the vehicle and identified that the incident was critical, as the patient was unresponsive. Officer Baker began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). At that particular moment, and in the minutes thereafter, Officer Baker shaped another person’s life. Through his calling for service, he successfully resuscitated the patient.
“As formerly mentioned, our lives are best served when we use them to benefit others. In this case, Officer Baker gave a fellow person a second chance at continuing life. Often, in this profession, we are left with the thought of whether we are making a difference in the community we serve. Officer Baker can rest assured that on the aforementioned date, he did.”
Cpl. Jeremy Shrewsbury received the Drug Safety, DUI, and Traffic Safety and Enforcement Awards.
“He had a phenomenal year and completely excelled,” said Drumond.
His letter of recognition for the Drug Safety Award noted, “As it stands today, law enforcement officers continue to do their due diligence in combating illegal drugs that ravish our communities. Criminal organizations exploit far too many lives creating debilitating addictions that continue to introduce illicit substances into our communities.
“These criminal organizations seek to profit at the expense of precious human lives. Consider the aftermath addiction can have on a family, a community, and the strain it induces in our government systems. The job of law enforcement officers continues to grow as we watch an opioid crisis reach unprecedented levels and those that seek malice see an opportunity to exploit.
“No matter how large the odds, how bad the crisis, law enforcement will continue to combat against these poisonous substances that hurt so many and influence so much of our crime today.”
Shrewsbury’s DUI Award stated, “Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes–that’s one person every 50 minutes. These deaths have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 more than 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotics.
“In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44 billion that year. Driving after drinking is deadly, yet it continues to happen across the United States. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. In fact, on average, over a 10-year period, from 2009-2018, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes. According to the Center for Disease Control, on average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before the first arrest. As we adjust to the challenges of recent legislatives movements, the CDC further reports that marijuana users are 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver with no evidence or marijuana use.
“Tough enforcement of our drunk-driving laws is a major contributor to reducing unnecessary and preventable deaths. One of the main goals of drunk driving enforcement is to raise the perception among drivers that if they choose to drive drunk they will be stopped, investigated, and arrested.
Cpl. Christopher Shively also received the Traffic Safety and Enforcement Award for 2020. The letters he and Cpl. Shrewsbury both received stated, “The two fundamental objectives of traffic safety and enforcement are to promote sustained compliance with traffic laws through deterrence and to prevent hazardous traffic conditions from occurring and therefore prevent or reduce the number of traffic accidents. Repeated studies have been conducted on both traffic safety and enforcement.
“What each study concludes is that the perception of police presence alone reduces crime, and enforcement action only reinforces that conclusion. In this day and age, we can concede that our livelihoods and obligations revolve around vehicular transportation. According to a Cooper Tire study, an average American spends an average of 18 days a year, roughly 8 hours per week, in a motor vehicle. The “Global Status Report on Road Safety” predicts that road accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.
“With the upsurge in vehicular traffic, safety and enforcement become indispensable for the motoring public. A 2006 study out of the University of California-Fresno concluded: ‘Aggressive traffic enforcement decreased motor-vehicle collisions, crash fatalities, and fatalities related to speed, and it decreased injury severity.’
“With this information in mind, the traffic stop is possibly one of the most valuable self-initiated actions that a police officer can perform. Consider the impact that may have on a community in the span of an individual officer’s career. Traffic enforcement is an easily implemented injury prevention program with an immediate benefit. It is a clear and measurable action that high-visibility traffic enforcement is a necessity, has value, and does make our community safer.”
Members of Town Council commended the officers for their awards and thanked the Police Department, which “continues to make us proud.”