By Emily West, Correspondent
On Thursday, March 31, the Belton Police Department held an award ceremony for the recognition of outstanding public service in the past year. Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis conducted the ceremony, presenting the honors chosen by the command staff committee to the many recipients. In addition, the seventh class of Citizen Patrol Training was graduated from its many weeks of hard work and bonding. Chief Ellis remarked of each of the public servants honored: “these individuals define ‘hardworking.’”
Officer TammyJo McCleney, who joined the Belton Police Department nearly two years ago, first received an honor for her hard work in the BPD’s “RU OK” program. This program is designed to care for elderly citizens who have no one to check on them during the day, and does so by calling each client on a regular basis. If the client does not answer, BPD dispatches an officer to check on the house and to ensure the client’s health and safety. Though this program, the BPD has saved four lives, and for her action in these scenarios, Officer McCleney received the honor of Officer of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2015.
Additionally, Officer McCleney received a Distinguished Service Medal, “the highest honor as far as a service award that we (the Belton Police Department) have,” according to Chief Ellis. Officer McCleney received this second merit “for her tireless efforts to get us up to 130 ‘RU OK’ clients that we’re caring for,” continued Chief Ellis, as he awarded Officer McCleney with the honor. Anita Wyatt of the Belton chapter of Citizens Helping in Police Service (CHIPS) volunteers also received a Distinguished Service Medal for her outstanding volunteerism in the year 2015. Wyatt donated over 1000 hours to the city of Belton in 2015, more than 25% of the entire number of hours donated by all of the CHIPS volunteers, collectively. “Anita is now moving to a paid position as our volunteer coordinator,” Chief Ellis informed the Journal.
Office Anthony Adame was also recognized for his outstanding efforts and focused police work in the past year, as Chief Ellis named him Officer of the Year for 2015. “He (Adame) consistently conducts self-initiated arrests–– over 202 arrests in the year of 2015. He also works closely with officers and liaisons from other law enforcement agencies to reduce drug activity in the area, and has been involved in great DUI reduction efforts.” Officer Adame was the Officer of the Quarter in the Third Quarter of 2015, especially for his excellent performance on Labor Day weekend, conducting over 50 traffic stops and eight DUI arrests.
Chief Ellis also awarded his own commendation, the Chief’s Award, to the following CHIPS volunteers: Roxanne Sanders for her involvement in the Belton Police Department’s anti-drug program; Debbie Smith for the assembly of over 1000 signs for seminarian of key information; Glenn Hughes of Texas Pictures for his highly professional and emotive productions in support of BPD’s “RU OK” and Silver Santa programs; and Byron Saint Clare, the BPD’s Public Works Director, for his devotion to the construction of the newly erected Central Texas Regional Law Enforcement Training Facility. Code Enforcement Officer Kim Ross was also recognized for her constant devotion to the beatification of the city of Belton, even to the point of cleaning up litter and serving as animal control.
Lastly, the CHIPS volunteers who donated over 100 hours in the past year were recognized, and he seventh Citizen Patrol Certification class was awarded their certificates.