Story by Peggy Kreimer Hodgson Rotary PR Specialist
Nine members of the Cincinnati Police Department were honored on Thursday, April 27, for exceptional performance, leadership and valor on the streets and behind the scenes.
The awards were presented by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, which annually recognizes Cincinnati Police officers and staff for excellence.
Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge said numerous community groups hold recognition programs.
“The Rotary Club award is at the top of the list,” she said. “That’s the award the officers want to get.”
The award for valor went to Officers Jeremy Randolph and Rachel White for their quick response to an assault and car theft at the Target parking lot in Western Hills in October, 2022. They pursued the car, arrested four teens and recovered a firearm. Chief Theetge commended White and Randolph for their quick thinking and courage as they “put others before self to engage violent offenders.”
Sgt. Michael Barge, Officer Thomas Weigand and Officer Mark Bode, members of the District 2 Violent Crimes Squad serving Evanston, Hyde Park and Oakley, were honored for superior achievement for their tireless work on multiple investigations of drug and firearms dealing. Two suspects were convicted and are serving prison sentences. More than $130,000 of drug money was recovered.
Police Capt. Steve Saunders of Loveland received the Career Enhancement Award. Saunders manages the Criminal Investigations Section which includes homicide, personal and financial crimes and fugitive apprehension. His 33-year career has included neighborhood policing, SWAT team, recruit instructor, Internal Investigations and public information officer. He has a master’s degree in education from Xavier University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Three civilians in the Crime Analysis and Problem-Solving Squad were honored for Administrative Excellence. Mark Manning of Symmes Township, Jon Vogt of Mt. Auburn and Dr. Jillian Desmond of Ft. Thomas, Ky., compile and analyze data to identify connections and develop innovative responses to help officers prevent crimes as well as solve them. The team developed an effective strategy to deal with the growing number of thefts of Hyundai and Kia automobiles. Their solutions included prevention measures for residents and supported a lawsuit against the car makers.
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati initiated the Rotary awards to honor excellence in key public service professions including law enforcement, education and public safety.
Program chair is Rotarian Michael Vilardo of Madisonville.