Dayton Police honor officers during annual awards ceremony

Dayton Police Badge (Contributed)
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Dayton Police Badge (Contributed)

Dayton Police officers who worked tirelessly to bring offenders who hurt children to justice, risked their own safety to stop a vehicle out of control on the highway and who went out of their way to connect with the community in special ways were honored Thursday afternoon at the annual Dayton Police award ceremony.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, who is retiring in July, said during the event that the Dayton Police Department works hard for the city’s residents and that the award winners should be proud.

“You, the men and women of the Dayton Police Department are a strong, talented and compassionate group. You just seen that once again through these awards. You take pride in your work every single day. You’re a shining example of what a law enforcement agency should be, not just here in Southwest Ohio but across the region and the nation,” the chief said.

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A number of officers were awarded department citations, merits and leadership awards for going above and beyond to help make Dayton a safer community. Lt. Jason Hall won the Supervisor of the Year award and Gloria Gates won the Professional Staff Member of the Year award.

Lt. Col Eric Henderson and Lt. Col. Matthew Carper were both awarded an Exemplary Leadership Award for their contributions to the Dayton Police Department.

The Officer of the Year Award was earned by Detective Zachary Fehrman for his work with children and bringing people who physically and sexually abuse them to justice. Biehl said Fehrman investigated 181 complaints and assisted 98 victims at Care House.

The chief cited a case in particular where Fehrman helped put away a man for more than 20 years accused of sexually abusing a child and another case where a father was indicted in connection to the killing of his young son.

“Detective Fehrman is highly thought of and works his hardest to fight for victims and to give them a voice,” Biehl said.

Two Dayton police officers were also honored with the Steve Whalen Memorial Policing Award.

Sgt. Danielle Cash was honored with the 2020 award for her work organizing and overseeing the Angel Tree Program that coordinates gift donations from Dayton Police to underprivileged children who may otherwise not have gifts for Christmas.

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Also, police officer Byron Branch was honored with the 2021 Steve Whalen Memorial Policing Award for his work in the community -- specifically spending countless hours mentoring youth and building relationships with a group home.

Branch previously won the Officer of the Year Award after losing his leg and nearly dying after being struck by vehicle on Interstate 75.

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Also during the award ceremony, the Dayton Officers who stopped the Oregon District shooting -- Sgt. William C. Knight, Officer Brian Rolfes, Officer Jeremy Campbell, Officer Vincent Carter, Officer Ryan Nabel and Officer David Denlinger --- were honored for their actions with the Top Cop 2020 award.