As the year nears its end, the Huntsville Police Department awarded a few of its own in presentations last week for exemplary work on the force.

Wade Roberts was named patrol officer of the year for 2004-05 and said he was honored to be chosen, but knows there are others who serve with him who also deserve recognition.

“This really means a lot to me because I was voted on by people here at the office,” he said Wednesday. “There are plenty of other people here who deserve this award.”

Roberts, employed with HPD for five years, said events over the last year have made it clear to him that he’s in the right career and has no plans of leaving HPD anytime soon.

“We’ve had several drug warrants I had a hand in, writing and developing cases,” Roberts said. “There are three or four of us that do a lot of work with DWIs, and all of us push each other to get out and work. It really makes you feel like you’ve contributed to the community.

“Oh. And the hurricane stuff, Katrina and Rita,” he added with wide eyes. “The time we spent up here together, we had a good time, but it was a little worrisome. You can’t train for something like that, you just have to experience it first-hand and learn from it. I can’t even begin to explain all the things that went on. It was a wild few days.”

Roberts was previously named Rookie of the Year in 2001.

All sworn personnel and select civilian personnel with HPD were awarded “Hurricane Rita” uniform bars to commemorate the tremendous work performed and the personal sacrifices made during the unprecedented event.

HPD Chief Jean Sanders said annual awards are an important part of the year, and because the voting is done department-wide, all the officers and staff can take pride in them.

“I think it’s a true reflection of what they believe to be a good detective or good (officer),” she said. “In my first year here, this is very meaningful to me, not only to give the awards, but to thank them for all the hard work.”

Other annual awards received:

• Supervisor of the Year — Sgt. Darryle Slaven

Slaven has been with HPD since 1989 and previously served in patrol, as a detective and as a firearms instructor and field training officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is currently assigned to the Uniform Service Division.

• Senior Officer of the Year — Mike Legerski

Legerski has been employed with HPD since 1995 and serves on the Crime Scene Unit and Special Response Team. He has also served as a field training officer, Taser instructor, firearms instructor and in accident reconstruction. He has an associate’s degree in police science and a bachelor’s in criminal justice. He is currently assigned to the Uniform Services Division.

Also this year, Legerski became a member of the new “Bulls Eye” Club for officers who have shot a perfect 250 during firearm qualification.

• Detective of the Year — Jim Barnes

Barnes has been employed with HPD since 1994 and has served on the bike team, as a field training officer and intoxilyzer operator. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and has previously been awarded the DWI Enforcement Award from MAAD and was named police officer of the year in 2003.

• Rookie of the Year — Blane Rodgers

Rodgers has been employed with HPD in the last year and is assigned to the Uniform Services Division. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

• Civilian Employee of the Year — Melinda Strange and Claire Willson

Strange served as a dispatcher with HPD from 1986 to 1993 before becoming a crime scene investigator. She is currently assigned to the administrative section of the Support Services Division. Strange is the Vice President of the Texas Association of Property/Evidence Technicians and is a member of the Texas Division of International Association for Identification.

Willson is a receptionist for HPD and has worked there since 2001. She is a 2004 Public Works Road-EO Lady Trucker recipient.

• Sgt. Curt Landrum received a 15-year service award.

• James Fitch and David Warner received senior officer promotions after five years of service and passing a written exam.

• Everett Harrell received a Master Peace Officer License given by the state based on years of service and education.

• Darryle Slaven received the “Top Gun” award for shooting a perfect 250 during annual firearm qualification.

“I am very proud of these employees and their accomplishments,” Sanders said. “These awards do not come without hard work, dedication and sacrifice. This is a small representation of the high quality of employee we have working here at the Huntsville Police Department.”

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