BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee Police Division’s annual awards banquet returned on May 3 after a short hiatus because of COVID-19.
Officers and several members of the community were honored for both the 2020 and 2021 awards they received. Chief Josh Sprow congratulated the award winners and thanked them for their dedication during his opening remarks.
After Sprow spoke, Sgt. Andrew Dean, the award review board chairman, introduced guest speaker Haraz Ghanbari. Ghanbari is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and represents all of Wood County.
“Thank you for the opportunity to spend a little time with you all and celebrating your tremendous accomplishments and your service to the great community of Maumee,” Ghanbari said.
During his speech, Ghanbari spoke about the importance of proactive policing and remaining engaged with the community. Ghanbari also thanked the families of the law enforcement officers for the sacrifices he said they make each day.
After Ghanbari’s speech, Dean thanked the rest of the city leaders, other members of the community and the families for their support of the division. He then recognized the individuals receiving awards.
The top honor of the night went to police detective Patrick Tucker and patrolman Christopher Rutledge. Rutledge was named the 2021 Officer of the Year and Tucker the 2020 Officer of the Year.
“One of the most prestigious honors to be bestowed upon an officer during his or her career is being named Outstanding Officer of the Year,” Dean said.
Dean and Sgt. Andrew King nominated Rutledge, whom they said exceeded the expectations outlined and has received several commendations for his work over the years.
“Chris routinely goes above and beyond with his assignments and is a great asset to the Maumee Police Division,” Dean said. “His professionalism and work ethic is a clear example of how the community expects their police officers to perform, and he is deserving.”
Rutledge thanked the two for nominating him and said what they cited in the nomination was just a case of him doing his job.
“I have always felt that we have a duty to be as thorough and detailed as possible, so prosecutors have all the information available, allowing them to do their jobs,” Rutledge said.
He explained to the attendees that one of the instances outlined in his nomination – a fraud case – was something he took on to help alleviate the workload of the other detectives and he knew he had the skills required.
Rutledge next thanked his fellow officers and the division for supporting him. He also thanked his wife and parents for their advice and support.
“All I’m doing now in my day-to-day work is following my mom’s words of encouragement and applying my dad’s work ethic,” Rutledge said. “It has served me well in this career, resulting not only in being named Officer of the Year, but in earning another career goal of mine – being assigned to our detective bureau next year.”
Detective Tucker, the 2020 Officer of the Year, was nominated by detective Jillian Elliot.
“He never hesitates to jump in and help with cases or cover on call when needed,” Elliot said in the nomination letter. “In addition, he also helps fellow officers by acting as an Ohio labor council representative for the past several years.”
Elliot said Tucker had received 10 letters of commendation and thank-you letters from citizens, along with a chief’s achievement award during his 17-year career at Maumee.
Tucker, who grew up in Maumee, said the Maumee Police Division felt like the perfect fit when looking for a job, and he thanked the division for helping him. He also thanked the mayor, city council and administration for supporting the division, making him more effective at his job, he said.
“I feel the city of Maumee to be very fortunate with the police division we have,” Tucker said. “The level of professionalism, job knowledge, integrity and commitment to the community that all of the members of this police division have displayed are second to none.”
Tucker then thanked his parents for raising him right and supporting him on his path. He also thanked his mother- and father-in-law for helping with his children, and his wife and children for helping him get to where he is in his career.
The following awards were presented during the event:
Officer of the Year: Det. Patrick Tucker and Ptl. Christopher Rutledge.
Distinguished Service Award: Chief David Tullis.
Life Saving Award: Sgt. Andrew Pollauf, Ptl. Corey Scharer, Ptl. Bryan Fritz and Ptl. Jerry Robinson.
35-Year Honorable Service: Chief David Tullis and secretary Janet Huse.
25-Year Honorable Service: Ptl. Wendy Newsome.
20-Year Honorable Service: Sgt. Andrew Dean.
15-Year Honorable Service: Det. Patrick Tucker and ACO Ken Streichert.
5-Year Honorable Service: Ptl. Sean Bakhsh, Ptl. Cory Henson, Ptl. Caroline Hoover and dispatcher Diana Ruble.
30-Year Safe Driving: Ptl. Timothy Roberts.
25-Year Safe Driving: Sgt. Tom Hixon, Ptl. Brian Walczak and Sgt. Nicholas Foels.
20-Year Safe Driving: Sgt. Andrew Dean, Ptl. Kelly Russel and Ptl. Jason Lohner.
15-Year Safe Driving: Ptl. Jillian Elliot, Ptl. Patrick Tucker, Ptl. Corey Scharer and ACO Ken Streichert.
5-Year Safe Driving: Ptl. Cory Henson, Ptl. Sean Bakhsh and Ptl. Caroline Hoover.
3-Year Safe Driving: Ptl. Bryan Fritz, Ptl. Cody Corado and Ptl. Christopher Rutledge.
Crossing Guard Honorable Service: Dan Lubinski (five years) and Vicki Haggard (15 years).
Class B Employee Award: Janet Huse.
Citizen Award: Edward Lutz, Anthony Lutz and Richard Filas; George and Georgia Bieber; Lisa Giesige, Holly Ingram and Toledo Area Humane Society, represented by Stephen Heaven.