Rotary Club Honors Hamilton County Sheriffs

Three deputies who disarmed a gunman who had just shot two co-workers in an Anderson Township restaurant were among six members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office honored by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati on Aug. 16, 2018

The 2018 Rotary Awards honored members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for significant achievement in administration, education, valor and service.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to the dedicated men and women on the front lines who keep our community safe,” said Rotary Awards program coordinator, Trish Smitson of Hyde Park.

Sheriff Jim Neil said the Rotary’s motto of service above self also describes the deputies, whose accomplishments reflect outstanding service to the people of Hamilton County. “I was elected sheriff and the deputies were deputized to protect and serve the people in Hamilton County and beyond,” said Neil. “Some of our operations have footprints in 12 to 15 counties.”

The 2018 HERO/VALOR AWARD was presented to Deputies Nicholas Rauen, Lawrence Mehn and Jeffrey Landis. On Dec. 13, 2017, Deputies Rauen, Mehn and Landis, without firing a shot, disarmed and captured a gunman who had shot two co-workers at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Anderson Township and was threatening to shoot himself. The deputies confronted the gunman, who had shot his ex-girlfriend in the head and face and had shot the McDonald’s manager in the back. The Deputies calmed the gunman and convinced him to lay down his gun. They took him into custody, gave aid to the seriously injured victims until medical personnel arrived, searched the building for additional victims and suspects and secured the area as additional law enforcement officers arrived. Rauen, Mehn and Landis calmed a chaotic scene, dealing with frightened witnesses that included workers and customers. In their nominations, Rauen, Mehn and Landis were commended for “quick thinking and decisive actions (that) prevented additional harm to the suspect, victims or the public.”

The ADMINISTRATIVE EXCELLENCE AWARD was presented to Deputy Robert Weber of Court Services. “Deputies serve in all the Common Pleas court rooms and provide security, which means they deal with a lot of fights and violent situations,” said presenter Maj. Walt Hendrick of Court Services.  He said Deputy Weber has received scores of commendations and is known for his decisive action and quick response to calmly resolve tense situations. Weber received a Squad Commendation for assisting in the arrest of an inmate who had escaped custody and a divisional Commendation for assisting a Harrison Police Officer who was struggling with a violent suspect. “He inspires people around him to do their job, do it well and do it professionally,” Hendrick said.

The SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was presented to Major Chris Ketteman, Director of Corrections. In his 30 years with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Major Ketteman has received 54 letters of commendation. He has worked in the Patrol and Criminal Investigation services and was commander of District Three, which includes Columbia, Sycamore and Symmes Townships.  In 2017 he was named Director of Corrections, overseeing myriad programs to help prisoners successfully re-enter society, including adult education, literacy, addiction recovery, veterans programs, and jail ministry programs.  With a daily average of 1,524 inmates, Ketteman determined that inmate overpopulation created an unsafe environment for staff and inmates.  Ketteman implemented multiple strategies to improve the situation, including transferring inmates to jurisdictions that could accommodate them, housing inmates in double cells when possible, and relocating several non-custodial services to free more space for housing. His insight resulted in the Hamilton County Commissioners authorizing funds to refurbish existing space within the jail to increase housing capacity

The CAREER ENHANCEMENT AWARD  was presented to Captain Scott Kerr, of the Corrections department. In May, 2018, Kerr became the first supervisor from the Jail Services Section of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to graduate from the rigorous Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute.  He was named a Dean’s Scholar, indicating students who receive an “A” or better in every course in the 12-week college-level program. The course is designed to develop informed, effective, ethically and technically competent law enforcement managers. Courses focus on law enforcement issues, diagnostic problem solving and administrative law. Applicants must pass an exhaustive entrance exam. Only a select number from across the country are accepted, and must relocate to Louisville for the 12-week program. In nominating Kerr, Director of Corrections Maj. Chris Ketteman said “Captain Kerr is the future of law enforcement and he, now, has a valuable tool at his disposal as he directs the next generation of deputies for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Jail Services Section.”

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati initiated the Rotary Awards more than a decade ago to honor excellence in key public service professions. Awards honor members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (August), Cincinnati Firefighters (October), Cincinnati Police (April) and Cincinnati teachers (June).

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1910 as a service and networking organization with a mission to provide selfless service in the community and the world and to meet needs of children with disabilities. With close to 350 members, it is the largest Rotary Club in Greater Cincinnati. The Rotary Foundation is its philanthropic arm. For information on The Rotary Club of Cincinnati see