Family, friends and colleagues gathered together Thursday night to recognize the men and women behind the badge. The 14th annual Owensboro Police Department Award Banquet kicked off by showing the crowd the viral OPD Lip Sync Challenge video (shown above).
The top awards of the night included Officer of the Year, Detective of the Year and Telecommunicator of the Year, which went to Kris Collins, Nick Wellman and Neal Ann Keelin, respectively.
After the awards were presented, OPD Chief Art Ealum made a promise to his officers and the community.
“I promise you I am here, I am going to continue to fight for officers and what they need,” Ealum said. “We will continue to put our best foot forward — we will serve, be respectful and professional.”
Ealum also noted that OPD is growing, while stressing the need to maintain a certain level of integrity.
“Our strength will increase and we will fill those vacant positions in five months,” he said. “But not everyone gets the right to wear the badge. We turn more people away than we accept, that’s the nature of our business. We are short-handed, but we are not desperate.”
Andrew Boggess, OPD’s Public Information Officer, said the banquet is a positive yearly event because it gives all of the officers a chance to come together.
“As a 24-7 organization sometimes it’s hard to actually get together and enjoy time together,” he said. “This is one of only a couple times of year we get the chance to do that. It’s also great to recognize these officers who do exceptional things every single day.”
For a full list of award winners, click here.