Township officers are honored
While the usual public recognition ceremony celebrating the performance of officers of the Sumpter Police Department was cancelled due to public safety restrictions, Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke recently presented the awards to officers and posted the 2020 award recipients online.
|Ofc. Joseph Hogan.|
Selection is based upon the member's significant contribution to the mission of the Sumpter Township Police Department and was awarded to Ofc. Joseph Hogan.
Luke said that during the course of the year, Hogan exemplified what a Sumpter Township Police officer should be.
“Despite personal risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan continued to be proactive in the community, particularly in the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home Park, in response to several violent crimes. Through his exceptional police skills, Ofc. Hogan conducted self-initiated activity and apprehended drug dealers within the community,” Luke said. Luke added that Hogan's keen sense in narcotics enforcement led to the discovery of numerous Ecstasy tablets and illegal prescription pills intended to be distributed within the community, following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase. His skills also came to light in the apprehension of a suspected heroin dealer and parole absconder at a known drug house,” Luke said.
Hogan arrested a suspected crack cocaine dealer, who in turn tried eating a large amount of the drug to eliminate evidence. Despite the dealer's efforts, Hogan was still able to recover evidence and articulate the offense, Luke said.
“Officer Hogan's ability to detect criminal activity is second to none, his investigations are solid, and his reports are articulated clearly and concisely, resulting in approved charges,” Luke concluded.
This award is presented to a member of the department who has performed an efficient and valuable service either in the performance of a specific task or in the outstanding performance of general duties over an extended period.
Awards this year went to Sgt Brian Steffani, Det. Lt. John Toth and Det. George Salajan. Luke said the department had taken a report of a 14-year-old female that had run away from home. While the juvenile had left of her own accord, the mother grew concerned that her daughter was being coerced by a 19-year-old man trying to get her to leave the state, with information that they were possibly en route to Florida. Over two days, Steffani conducted follow-up with the child's mother and obtained a lead to their whereabouts and then coordinated with a local police department in Pennsylvania, who quickly acted on Steffani's information. Within a short time, the juvenile was recovered, and the adult male was arrested. The male was sentenced to jail in Pennsylvania for resisting arrest for his actions upon being located by Pennsylvania officers and subsequently extradited to Michigan, where he is still being held on several charges. The juvenile female was returned to her parents.
During 2020, Toth and Salajan have worked diligently on all major cases that came into the department, Luke said. In an unprecedented year full of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, they worked tirelessly on a caseload that included several CSC cases, numerous drug cases, and multiple shooting incidents in the Rawsonville Woods Mobile Home Park. This was in addition to a quadruple homicide that's still proceeding through the court process. The detectives' guidance to patrol and their contribution to the department mission have been invaluable, the chief said.
Members qualifying for this award have accrued a minimum of 20 years of continued service. The employee must demonstrate a consistent commitment to the department through the quality of work performed.
The award went to Det. Lt. John Toth who has served the township for 20 years.
These awards are presented to department members who are credited with actively saving a human life.
This year, Ofc. Hudson and Ofc Rodriguez; Sgt. Balowski, Ofc. Herrick and Ofc. Hogan; Sgt. Steffani and Ofc.Gottschalk; Sgt. Balowski and Ofc. Herrick and Sgt. Steffani and Ofc. Hogan, all in separate instances and calls were directly responsible for saving lives.
The chief of police may present this award to a member of the police department for any reason deemed worthy of recognition
This year. Luke presented the award to Ofc. Devos and Ofc. Herrick and Ofc. Toney and Sgt. Cayce marking separate incidents of exemplary performance of their duties along with Sgt. Balowski, Ofc. Herrick, and Ofc.Hogan in another call and Sgt. Steffani, Ofc. Gottschalk, Ofc. Hogan, Det. Lt. Toth and Det Salajan.
The awards were presented, Luke said, for the officers bravery and exemplary performance in separate incidents and calls for service during 2020.
“I want to personally thank the award recipients along with all other members of the department for a job well done in 2020. What a strange year it was but your dedication and service to the community in the face of unparalleled adversity did not go unnoticed,” Luke said.
The details of specific cases and response to calls for service can by found on the Sumpter Township Police Facebook page.