Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
Photo: Police Chief Brandon Barnhill and Officer Melissa Dillon
Officer Melissa Dillon’s dedication to children and animals, and her work for them in 2016, helped earn her the Paducah Police Department’s Employee of the Year honor tonight at the department’s eighth annual Awards Ceremony.
Twenty-five police department employees and two citizens were honored at the ceremony, held at the Emerging Technology Building on the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Capt. Joe Hayes nominated Dillon for Employee of the Year, recalling that while assigned to the area, Dillon spent the majority of her time in the Elmwood Court housing complex. She and fellow officers established a parking pass system to eliminate non-registered guest causing problems.
However, the inspiration for one of Dillon’s biggest projects came one day as she was patrolling in Elmwood Court. A girl approached Dillon and asked if she had a basketball that she could play with. Dillon said she did not, but was so moved by the child’s request that she went out and bought one. That sparked Dillon’s dream to provide basketballs and other sporting equipment to every child at the complex.
The project grew, and Dillon and other officers obtained donations from more than 50 corporate sponsors and individuals for what came to be known as PHA/PPD Fun Day. Seventeen vendors set up and provided services to residents, and three bicycles and more than 600 individual pieces of sports equipment (balls, hula hoops, etc.) were given out.
The remaining funds were used to buy school supplies for the entire fifth grade class at Morgan Elementary school.
Officer Dillon also met with management at PetSmart, who agreed to allow the police department to conduct “Paws for a Cause,” during National Pet Adoption Weekend, designed to obtain donations for area animal shelters. The event raised more than 1,700 pounds of food, treats and cleaning supplies for animal shelters in McCracken, Graves, Marshall, Ballard and Massac counties.
Also nominated for Employee of the Year was Det. Blake Quinn. Quinn is a member of the police department’s Bomb Squad and recruiting team. For the majority of 2016, he was assigned to the Operations Division’s third shift where he spent countless hours mentoring and assisting young patrolmen. He has spent his personal time researching outlaw motorcycle gangs.
On the Bomb Squad, Quinn has played an integral part in the development and training of two new members of the squad.
Dr. Patrick Withrow and Matthew Lacefield were honored with Civilian Service Awards for their work with Capt. Anthony Copeland with presentations to schools throughout the area regarding substance abuse and making good life choices.
Others honored tonight:
Administrative Commendation: Officer Christopher Fearon
Safe Driving Awards:
Capt. Anthony Copeland
Sgt. Nathan Antonites
Officer Travis Counts
Sgt. Wesley Orazine
Officer Lofton Rowley
15-Year: Det. Matthew Wentworth
Lifesaving Award: Sgt. Wesley Orazine
Meritorious Service Awards: