Many officers receive recognition at the Plant City Police Department awards ceremony | Trending

Among those recognized at the PCPD awards ceremony are new and retired officers, a special recipient of the Chief’s Award, promoted officers, two retired K9s and officers who earned special recognition for their accomplishments.

The Plant City Police Department recognized many of its own, and one civilian, at an awards ceremony last week at the Michael S. Sparkman Police Center.

After a welcome, invocation, presentation of colors, pledge of allegiance and opening remarks to a standing-room-only crowd, masters of ceremonies Robert McLellan and Dave Millich turned to recognize the honorees .

The Life Saving Award was awarded to:

* Corporal William Harvester and Officer Justin Castro- In July, Harvester and Castro responded to a call involving a female citizen who wanted to take her own life. They located her in a nearby pond and, disregarding their own personal safety, entered the water and were able to save her life, keeping their oath to protect and serve the community. Along with the response, officers Adam Heist, Greg Nelsen and Oresha West received the Employee Recognition Award.

* Officer Michal Pietrusinski- In August, Peitrusinski was enjoying a leisurely stroll with his fiancée when he saw a house engulfed in flames and heard screams coming from inside the structure. He entered the house to save the lives of the children who were trapped inside. Their bravery and quick resolve saved one child’s life before firefighters arrived at the scene to rescue the other child.

A unit citation was issued to ten officers who responded to a report of an armed robbery in progress near the intersection of Charlie Griffin and Mud Lake Roads. After a lengthy and intense interaction with an armed suspect, officers were able to diffuse the situation without casualties, showing teamwork, restraint and professionalism. Officers recognized include Sergeant Justin Carpenter, Sergeant Justin Lee, Detectives Daniel Hernandez and Thomas Trimble and Constables Dustin Colkmire, Quentin Garrell, Derek Hartmann, Austin Johnson, Rebecca Monroe and Cody Shou. Telecommunicator II Flor Torres also received the award for her participation in the incident.

Six members of the department received employee recognition awards for successfully apprehending a fleeing subject following a single vehicle crash. It was later determined that the vehicle had been stolen. A large amount of methamphetamine was found inside a backpack the suspect was carrying. The suspect was also wanted on several outstanding violent felony warrants from other jurisdictions. Officers recognized included: Officers Jef Hilsman, Greg Nelsen, Michal Pietrusinski, Josh Snyder, Yarley Vasallo and Devin Wilson.

Officers earning promotions include Sergeants Tiffany Lindsey-Tester and Justin “Chad” Carpenter and Corporals Patrick Walker and William Harvester.

Kaitlynn Falletta, Badge #393, was sworn in to begin her journey as a PCPD Police Officer. Prior to joining PCPD, he worked for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for eight and a half years.

Retiring from the department was Officer Thomas Velez, who has been with PCPD since 2012 and served in its uniform patrol unit. After his honorable service, Velez will be allowed to keep his firearm, a PCPD uniform, a retired police ID and later receive his retirement badge. “We wish him a very happy retirement,” McLellan said.

Jax and Leto, two police K9 dogs, also retired and were recognized for their contributions to the Department.

Not all awardees are PCPD employees. Chief Bradford presented the Chief’s Award to Plant City resident Judy Wise for her tireless and immeasurable support of the PCPD, including supporting police families, assisting with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and holiday meal preparation with the Elks Lodge to honor officers for their service. .

“He moved to the city in 1998 and quickly began to make an impact on the city not because he was looking for recognition but because he has a servant’s heart and loves people,” Bradford said. “She is known for the generous contributions of her time and talent.”

Bradford ended the ceremony with words of appreciation for all PCPD employees. “We in law enforcement face many challenges, but the members of this department have stepped up to treat those we serve with dignity and respect,” he said.

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