By Devin Corbitt
The Belton Journal
The Belton Police Department held a ceremony Monday to present the Officer of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2014 and to pin newly promoted Sergeant Robert Prestin.
“It’s always a pleasure to be able to recognize our staff, our team, whenever they get an accomplishment for great work,” Police Chief Gene Ellis said.
Ellis announced this quarter’s Officer of the Quarter as the Belton Police Department Honor Guard team.
“The committee recognized the excellence during some of the hardest times in Bell County these gentlemen and lady have performed over the last quarter. They’ve done an outstanding job, worked exceedingly long ours in support of community operations, performing ceremonies,” Ellis said. “They had the difficult task of casket guard during the most recent officer funerals, house watches at the homes of the officers’ families, and all that with little to no notice and after working their own long ours. They’ve done us proud at many community ceremonies.”
The Honor Guard is led by Detective Raul Montes.
“Talk about a man that can get them in ship-shape,” Ellis said with a smile. “So if you see them (the Honor Guard) in step and the uniforms looking sharp, he’s got a big hand in that.”
The team is made up of Montes, Detectives Robert Prestin and Richard Kusak and Officers Joshua Koontz, Candace Hawkins and Anthony Adame.
Ellis then called Prestin back to the front to be recognized again.
“This is a defining moment,” Ellis said. “This is when a member of the team steps into a new leadership role in our organization. A sergeant is one of the most critical components in a police agency. They’re they police chief when I’m not here. I can’t be here 24/7, nor can the deputy chiefs.”
Officers in the department were put through a rigorous exam last fall to determine the order of promotions. Prestin came in second on that list after Sergeant Doug Taylor, who has been put in charge of the School Resource Officers for the Belton Independent School District.
“It’s always a great pleasure to be able to promote a new sergeant and watch them progress through their career and move up the ranks,” Ellis said.
Prestin grew up in Killeen, graduating from Ellison High School. He has been in law enforcement for more than 12 years. He worked for the Bell County Sheriffs Department before coming to the Belton Police Department seven years ago. He has two children with his wife, Rosie.
“If you follow the news that we’ve been involved in, especially major crimes, you’ve seen Robert show up many times, whether it be in the media or being recognized before the City Council for outstanding investigative work,” Ellis said. “He’s done an outstanding job as a detective for us.”
Although he is sad about leaving his detective position, Prestin looks forward to all the future holds for him within the department.
“It’s an exciting time for the City of Belton,” Prestin said. “It’s exciting to share, from the supervising point of view, with the growth of the city and all the good things that are going on, not just with the Police Department, but with the city as a whole. The department is growing every day, and it’s a joy to be able to share my years of knowledge with officers and help them grow like I grew throughout my career.”
Robert will now be put on patrol duties and be responsible for three to four other officers.
“Instead of being one-on-one with an investigation, I’ll be working with my guys to sharpen their investigative skills. I’ll be able to add to their toolbox that they can use in helping solve crime,” Prestin said. “I’m glad that I can add that support and knowledge where I can.”