Dunaway named Officer of the YearBy HASKEL BURNS,
Although the recipient of Hattiesburg Police Department’s Officer of the Year award is announced shortly before the start of the department’s annual Awards Day, Detective Jeremy Dunaway was still slightly surprised when he received the award during last week’s ceremony at the Hattiesburg Police and Fire Training Academy.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Dunaway said. “I’m grateful, and I feel blessed to be honored as this year’s recipient.
“We have a lot of hard-working men and women at the department, so being selected as a recipient is a pretty big honor, and I’m excited about it.”
Police Chief Anthony Parker said Dunaway was more than deserving of the honor, citing an example in which a suspect opened fire on him and other officers during an arrest in Lamar County.
“(Dunaway’s) bravery under stress of fire, and the way that he conducted himself during the whole operation (is commendable),” Parker said. “Also, over the past year, he’s been one of the most prolific with felony arrests in our department.
“So he’s a hard-working guy – we have to make him go home sometimes, he works so hard. I’m very proud of him.”
Dunaway was one of several officers and civilians honored at the ceremony, which opened with a prayer by Lt. Charles Johnson, a welcome by Mayor Toby Barker and remarks by Parker. A presentation of certificates was then headed up by Parker, Assistant Police Chief Peggy Sealy and Major Hardy Sims.
Those awards included:
• Most Citations: Ray Walley (2,612)
• Most DUIs: Maxwell Gavin (142)
• Most Felony Arrests: Alexander Kitch (66)
• Most Misdemeanor Arrests: Maxwell Gavin (192)
• Most Marijuana Seized: William Gordon (1,636.35 grams)
• Most Methamphetamine Seized: David Wynn (986.90 grams)
• Most Cases Solved: Kelly Gardner (97 cases)
• Most Prescription Drugs Seized: David Wynn (1,206)
• Most Weapons Seized: Jeremy Dunaway (13)
• Most Money Seized: Maxwell Gavin ($4,223)
• Best Work Attendance, Sworn: Seth Blackmon
• Best Work Attendance, Non-Sworn: Cigi Brown, Dorothy Parks
After those awards were given, 15 service awards were given to individuals with five, 10, 15 and 20 years of service to the department. Following that, Charlesha Killingsworth was presented with Civilian Employee of the Year, Darryl Ford with the Service Award, Tracy Ash-Green with the Excellence Award and Dunaway with Officer of the Year.
“Any time we can give our officers the recognition is good, because in the culture we’re in today, we get bashed a lot,” Parker said. “So any time we can do something positive for them, to know how much we appreciate them and the hard work that they do, is a bonus and a benefit.”