Safety Town officer named first Officer of the Year

Department recognizes ‘exceptional personnel’ at awards banquet.

MIDDLETOWN — Officer Mike Davis has been named the city’s first Officer of the Year, due to what colleagues describe as a career filled with spectacular work.

Davis, a 44-year police department veteran synonymous with the city’s summer Safety Town program, was honored Thursday, May 13, during the Middletown Division of Police’s 2010 Police Memorial Week Awards Banquet. He was among several department employees recognized for their commitment to the community.

Maj. David Van Arsdale said Davis was one of four employees nominated by his peers, but the department’s command staff felt he deserved the inaugural Officer of the Year title.

“He’s just for years been the face of the police department,” Van Arsdale said. “He has done a great job of representing us in the community and seemed like a great choice to kick off this new award program.”

The 61-year-old school safety officer’s name was everywhere two months ago, after he collapsed while on the job at Wildwood Elementary School. He was saved thanks to the quick reaction of a handful of school employees and is doing well after receiving a defibrillator and pacemaker.

Officer Jerry Bowman was named Corrections Officer of the Year during the awards banquet, in addition to Dispatcher Karen Shyers being recognized as Dispatcher of the Year.

Van Arsdale said Bowman has been working with the department for 10 years and was selected for “his willingness to work as a team player and outstanding performance. Shyers, who has been a dispatcher for 20 years, was chosen for the award as a result of “her outstanding job knowledge and the way she treats the public and her fellow dispatchers.”

The awards program had been in existence for several decades, though Van Arsdale said it was not until 2008 that the department resurrected the annual ceremony.

“It was somewhat neglected for years,” he said. “We’re trying to ... really make an effort to recognize our exceptional personnel.”

Also recognized during the annual banquet were:

Officer Terry Ballinger, who entered a burning building to rescue a wheelchair-bound woman from the second floor and later re-entered the structure to search for another occupant.

Officer Ken Rogers, who pursued and apprehended a shoplifter at Walmart after suffering a separated shoulder and torn ligaments during a fall.

Officer David Kirsch, who began lifesaving acts to prolong a shooting suspect's life until medics arrived. He also got a description of the suspects that resulted in an arrest.

Officer Jonathan Hoover, who was able to talk a father of four out of taking his own life.