LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s a job not everyone is cut out for…a job that’s different than others…that requires men and women to put their lives in danger to protect their community.
“We want to make sure we’re telling everyone we appreciate you, we recognize what you do” said Sergeant Billy Gregory, with the Kentucky State Police.
And that’s what the Kentucky State Police did for its troopers Thursday night, recognizing them for their bravery, service and heroic moments from 2019. The pandemic forced KSP to postpone the annual award ceremony to this year.
“It’s all about a celebration of people who everyday are doing heroic work and this is just highlighting those that are going above and beyond even what we consider heroic, to do the best they can do, to serve and protect the citizens of the commonwealth” said Sergeant Gregory.
Out of more than 800 submissions, 62 troopers were recognized.
There were awards of meritorious service, trooper of the year, detective of the year, life saving awards, and more that given to each one.
And, stories of why each trooper was awarded a plaque or medal were re-lived at the ceremony.
Stories of a trooper running into a burning home, pulling its owners to safety, to a trooper stepping into the line of fire to save his fellow trooper from assault, to another trooper collecting donations and working to improve a community.
“There are so many of those things that we’re doing every day, but the real work that we do is serving and protecting the citizens of the commonwealth and that’s what’s key, that’s what makes us who we are, that’s our charge and that’s the oath that we make every day” added Sergeant Gregory.
Sergeant Billy Gregory says it’s important for people to see what they do; he says to see the real work that changes lives for the better.
“We’re coming to work for every citizen of the commonwealth, regardless of their political association, socioeconomic background, the color of their skin, we don’t care…we’re doing our job, we’re coming to work to work for the citizens of the commonwealth and this is what we do.”
Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown announced at the ceremony that in the next state budget…the Governor is going to make what Secretary Brown calls an historic state police budget request.
Kentucky State Police released a list of recipients as follows…
“The 2019 award recipients include:
Trooper Jerry A. Baker Jr. was named 2019 Trooper of the Year. Trooper Baker is a 3-year veteran of KSP assigned to KSP Post 13 in Hazard.
Detective Michael R. Robichaud was named 2019 Detective of the Year. Detective Robichaud is a 10-year veteran of KSP assigned to the KSP Post 1 in Mayfield.
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Mark A. Puckett was named the 2019 Jason Cammack Officer of the Year for the KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Troop. Officer Puckett is a 9-year CVE veteran of KSP assigned to the CVE Central Region.
Trooper Shane Jacobs was named 2019 Public Affairs Officer of the Year. Trooper Jacobs is a 19-year veteran of KSP assigned to KSP Post 10 in Harlan.
Detective Terry A. Scott was named 2019 Arson Investigator of the Year. Detective Scott is a 19-year veteran of KSP assigned to the Special Operations Branch.
Officer Rick D. Kuiper was named 2019 Facilities Security Officer of the Year. Officer Kuiper is a 8-year veteran of KSP assigned to the Security Branch.
Seven troopers were awarded the KSP Citation for Bravery, an honor bestowed on officers of the agency who perform acts of bravery, without regard for personal risk despite clear and obvious peril, and clearly above and beyond the call or risk of ordinary duty.
Five troopers received the Lifesaving Medal, which is awarded to officers who perform life-saving acts under extraordinary circumstances.
Three troopers received the Guthrie Crowe Award, which is named in honor of the first commissioner of KSP and bestowed upon officers of the agency who sustain a severe wound or injury during the performance of their law enforcement duty.
Eighteen troopers were named Detective of the Year at the post, branch or division level.
Twenty troopers were named Trooper of the Year at the post, branch or division level.
Three Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers were named Officer of the Year at the regional level.
The mission of KSP is to promote public safety through service, integrity and professionalism using partnerships to prevent, reduce and deter crime and the fear of crime, enhance highway safety through education and enforcement, and safeguard property and protect individual rights.
KSP’s focus this year is to maintain and strengthen its essential workforce in order to better provide public safety, maintain critical services and better reflect the diverse communities that KSP serves. The agency has expanded their recruitment department with the addition of one female trooper, one male trooper and the hiring of three new minority troopers. KSP is also partnering with Dr. Aaron Thompson of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Vickie Stone of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet, and working closely with retired minority KSP Troopers, to further improve their diversity recruitment efforts.”