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Dayhoff: Westminster Police deliver honors during awards ceremony

Dayhoff: Westminster Police deliver honors during awards ceremony

Twenty-four police officers and civilian employees were honored April 24 at the Westminster Police Department’s annual awards ceremony.

Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell and Deputy Chief Christian Price presented the honors at the event held in the community room at the Best Western Westminster Hotel.

Friends, family and loved ones joined Westminster police officers and members of the Westminster Mayor and Common Council to celebrate the annual awards and promotion ceremony.

“This morning, we celebrated the Westminster Police Department’s Award Winners; the city’s officers are among the finest in the state,” said Westminster Mayor Mona Becker. “Congratulations to all the awardees!”

At the Westminster Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, the 2023 police officer of the year was awarded to Detective Courtney Brandt (left.) According to remarks by Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (right,) “Throughout 2023, Detective Courtney Brandt has played a pivotal role in the success of the WPD Criminal Investigations Bureau.” (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)

This year’s awards included: police officer of the year, civilian employee of the year, supervisor of the year, police rookie of the year, Catherine’s Cause Award for excellence in DUI enforcement, lifesaving award, chief’s commendation, unit citation, and community partnership award.

Awards programs among the fire service and police agencies are a time-honored tradition.

“I look forward to the awards ceremony because we do not always hear the details of the stories of what our officers do on a daily basis and the length they go to protect and save our citizens,” Westminster Council member Ann Gilbert said.

At the Westminster Police Department's annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, two lifesaving awards went to Lt. Stephen Blackwell (left) and PFC. Victoria Ash (center,) pictured here with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (on the right.) On Dec. 3, 2023, PFC. Victoria Ash and Lt. Stephen Blackwell responded to a call for service involving a person that was in cardiac arrest. PFC. Ash and Lt. Blackwell quickly responded to the scene. Upon arrival they quickly assessed the situation and began to perform CPR. As a result of their actions, the individual regained a pulse and was subsequently transported to Carroll Hospital Center. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)
At the Westminster Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, two lifesaving awards went to Lt. Stephen Blackwell (left) and PFC. Victoria Ash (center,) pictured here with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (on the right.) On Dec. 3, 2023, PFC. Victoria Ash and Lt. Stephen Blackwell responded to a call for service involving a person that was in cardiac arrest. PFC. Ash and Lt. Blackwell quickly responded to the scene. Upon arrival they quickly assessed the situation and began to perform CPR. As a result of their actions, the individual regained a pulse and was subsequently transported to Carroll Hospital Center. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)

Council member Dan Hoff added in an email interview after the awards ceremony, “I am very proud of our police department, and the job they do for our community!”

On April 24, the first order of business after welcoming remarks by Price, the Pledge of Allegiance, and an opening prayer by Westminster Police Chaplain Misty Budzinski was Kevin Chojnacki’s promotion to the rank of corporal. According to Price, Chojnacki “has excelled in several areas during his time at the WPD. Cpl. Chojnacki is a K-9 handler. His partner is Leo, a drug detection police K-9. This assignment requires dedication to work with his police K9 both on and off duty.”

For the year 2023, Cpl. Jesse Clagett was awarded the “Catherine’s Cause Award” for being the Westminster Police Department’s top DUI enforcer for 2023.

At the Westminster Police Department's annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, Sergeant Tim Dellospedale (center,) and Cpl. Kevin Chojnacki (left with his partner Leo,) were awarded a valor award. Pictured here with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (on the right.) On May 13, 2023, Sgt. Dellospedale, and Cpl. Chojnacki responded to a call for service involving an armed suicidal person at the Carroll Hospital Center. The incident could have quickly escalated to a lethal encounter had it not been for the verbal de-escalation skills, quick thinking, and brave actions of these officers and deputies that were involved. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)
At the Westminster Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, Sgt. Tim Dellospedale (center,) and Cpl. Kevin Chojnacki (left, with his partner, Leo) were awarded a valor award. Pictured here with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (on the right.) On May 13, 2023, Dellospedale, and Chojnacki responded to a call for service involving an armed suicidal person at the Carroll Hospital Center. The incident could have quickly escalated to a lethal encounter had it not been for the verbal de-escalation skills, quick thinking, and brave actions of these officers and deputies that were involved. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)

Present at the ceremonies to assist in the award were Cindy and Capt. Phil Mullikin. Price reported, “Catherine’s Cause is dedicated to the education of people convicted of DUI or DWI. They have held Victim Impact Forums every other month since 2007. They have spoken to over four thousand offenders…”

The community partnership award went to Bowman’s Feed & Pet. Two lifesaving awards went to Lt. Stephen Blackwell and PFC. Victoria Ash and Sgt. Allen Ecker, for separate incidents.

“On Dec. 3, 2023, PFC. Victoria Ash and Lt. Stephen Blackwell responded to a call for service involving a person that was in cardiac arrest,” reported Price. “PFC. Ash and Lt. Blackwell quickly responded to the scene. Upon arrival they quickly assessed the situation and began to perform CPR. … As a result of their actions, the individual regained a pulse and was subsequently transported to Carroll Hospital Center.”

“On Feb. 22, 2023, Sgt. Ecker responded to a call for service involving an individual in cardiac arrest due to an opioid overdose,” said Price. “Upon arrival Sgt. Ecker found the unresponsive person in the parking lot, he immediately began performing CPR. … The individual was transported to Carroll Hospital Center for further treatment and ultimately made a full recovery.”

At the Westminster Police Department's annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, Sgt. Allen Ecker (left) pictured with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell (on the right,) earned one of the five 'chief's commendation awards. And the 2023 volunteer of the year award went to Auxiliary Officer Glenn Mathues, pictured here in the light blue shirt with Chief Ledwell. In 2023, Mathues logged a total of 159.5 volunteer hours and assisted with 27 community events. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)
At the Westminster Police Department’s annual awards ceremony, held on April 24, Sgt. Allen Ecker (left) pictured with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell, earned one of the five chief’s commendation awards. And the 2023 volunteer of the year award went to Auxiliary Officer Glenn Mathues. In 2023, Mathues logged a total of 159.5 volunteer hours and assisted with 27 community events. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)

Sgt. Tim Dellospedale and Chojnacki were awarded a valor award.

“On May 13, 2023, Sgt. Dellospedale, and Cpl. Chojnacki responded to a call for service involving an armed suicidal person at the Carroll Hospital Center. The individual arrived at the Carroll Hospital Center Emergency Department with a loaded shotgun pointed at his face. When he entered the Emergency Departments waiting room it was occupied with multiple patients.

“This incident could have quickly escalated into a lethal encounter had it not been for the verbal de-escalation skills, quick thinking, and brave actions of these officers and deputies that were involved. Sgt. Dellospedale, Cpl. Chojnacki, and PFC. Stiffler displayed courage and restraint while dealing with an armed subject who was suffering from a mental health crisis.”

Patrol Squad A earned a unit citation. Members of the squad included Lt. Michelle Donovan, Sgt. Brian Hoff, Cpl. Alex DeAngelis, PFC. Dominick Frank, PFC. Cynthia Hall Ofc. Jacob Everhart.

Price reported, “During 2023, the members of Patrol Squad A distinguished themselves by demonstrating a combination of problem-oriented policing, purposeful proactivity, and sound criminal investigations.”

Five individuals were awarded a chief’s commendation: Communications Specialist Gina Bowers, Sgt. Allen Ecker, PFC. Dominck Frank, PFC. Brandon O’Neil, and Officer Jacob Everhart.

The Westminster Police Department held its annual awards ceremony on April 24, From left to right are Sergeant Tim Dellospedale, pictured here with Westminster Police Chief Tom Ledwell. Dellospedale earned the 2023 supervisor of the year award. In the right hand photo is Detective Stephen Winkler who earned the 2023 police rookie of the year award. Winkler is pictured here with Chief Ledwell. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)
From left to right are Sgt. Tim Dellospedale, who earned the 2023 supervisor of the year award, and Det. Stephen Winkler, who earned the 2023 police rookie of the year award. (Courtesy Nicholas Eid, Westminster Police Department.)

The 2023 volunteer of the year award went to Auxiliary Officer Glenn Mathues. In 2023, Mathues logged a total of 159.5 volunteer hours and assisted with 27 community events.

Sgt. Tim Dellospedale earned the 2023 supervisor of the year award. The 2023 civilian employee of the year award went to Property Management Specialist Will Parks. Detective Stephen Winkler earned the 2023 police rookie of the year award.

The 2023 police officer of the year was awarded to Det. Courtney Brandt, who, according to remarks by Ledwell, “has played a pivotal role in the success of the WPD Criminal Investigations Bureau.”

Westminster Council President Greg Pecoraro spoke for many when he said after the ceremonies, “Congratulations and thanks to all of our award recipients for their hard work throughout the year on behalf of the citizens of Westminster.”

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. His Time Flies column appears every Sunday. Email him at kevindayhoff@gmail.com. 

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