Regional police department holds annual awards ceremony05/23/2023 03:20PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw Detective Gregory Smith earned the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department’s 2022 Commissioners Award during the department’s annual awards ceremony on May 17.
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
The Southern Chester County Regional Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held this year on May 17 at the New Garden Township Building, is a celebration to honor excellence in policing, but this year’s event was also marked with a solemn reminder of the human price that is too often paid by officers in the line of duty.
In his opening remarks, Acting Chief Joseph Greenwalt recognized 2023 National Police Week by asking those in the audience to respect, honor and remember the more than 23,000 police officers in the U.S. who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1786, and whose names are etched into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“In 2022 alone, 246 officers were killed in the line of duty, and their names will soon find their place on that wall, where family and friends can go to honor them, for not only the way they died, but the way they lived,” Greenwalt said following a short video that captured a candlelight service at the memorial wall. “In February, we had a department meeting to discuss numerous moving pieces to our evolving organization, and I asked the officers to begin to treat each other as if they were gone tomorrow.
“This was a result of the many funerals I have attended, where several people would take to the podium to speak about how great a fallen officer was and how much he or she meant to the department, community and to their family. So the point of tonight is to make sure each of them know while they are here how much they mean to the department and the community, and how important the work they do really is.”
2022 Commissioners Award
Detective Gregory Smith earned the SCCRPD’s 2022 Commissioners Award – the department’s highest honor and given to a recipient who is nominated by his/her peers. Smith, who had been previously nominated twice for the award, was recognized for his compassion and dedication to service.
In 2021, Smith was assigned a theft case where an elderly woman had been taken advantage of by three people who made several transactions and purchases from her credit and debit cards that totaled nearly $30,000. After obtaining search warrants for several different bank statements, independent retailers used by the suspects, surveillance footage and interviews, Det. Smith was able to obtain body warrants for all three individuals, who were later arrested.
In May of 2022, Det. Smith was the lead investigator on a domestic assault case involving shots fired during a domestic argument. Through his interviewing skills, Smith was able to get the shooter to confess to pointing a gun at the victim on more than one occasion – a case that has since been directed to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. In addition, Det. Smith has handled two rape crimes involving juveniles, and nearly 30 cases involving crimes against children.
Citizen’s Commendation Award
Area resident Daniel Beltran received the SCCRPD’s Citizen’s Commendation Award for the actions he took this past Jan. 8 at the Sunoco station at 8955 Gap-Newport Pike, when he observed a subject in a physical altercation with a female patron who was sitting in her vehicle at one of the gas pumps. Beltran heard the suspect yell “Get out of the car” and realized the victim needed assistance. Mr. Beltran and other patrons ran to assist the victim, causing the suspect to run and drop the victim’s wallet that he had gained during the struggle.
Beltran then remained on scene and informed officers that the suspect fled the area toward the CVS on Newark Road. While he lost sight of the suspect, Beltran provided an accurate description of the suspect to SCCRPD officers, and the suspect was later taken into custody.
In other awards, Sgt. Ben Brown, Sgt. Ryan Kushner, Acting Sgt. Greg Blue, P.O. Brandon Krissinger and P.O. Stephen Syska were recognized for their work as field training officers, who guide newly-hired officers through a rigorous training program.
Officers receiving commendation awards included Acting Sgt. Blue, P.O. Brian Bolt, P.O. Stephen Boyer, Sgt. Kushner, P.O. Nicole Lantz, Sgt. Stephen Madonna and P.O. Zackary Mullen.
Lifetime DUI enforcement awards were given to Acting Sgt. Blue, P.O. Riley Miller, P.O. Raymond Sullivan and P.O. Syska, while P.O. Boyer received a second-year award and P.O. Krissinger received a third-year award.
Life saving award recipients included P.O. Officer Justin Busam, P.O. Krissinger and P.O. Sullivan.
P.O. First Class Joseph Cooper (26 years) and Acting Lt. Joseph Versagli (12 years) were recognized for their years of service to the department.
“In a time when watching the national news and local news can leave one wondering if law and order has been disregarded -- or even if simple civilization has shifted and cannot be saved -- the fine men and women of this department and our other brother and sister departments in Southern Chester County continue to hold the line between normalcy and chaos,” Greenwalt said in his closing comments. “These officers hold themselves accountable, and equally important, act quickly and professionally when others need to be held accountable.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].