Police Chief James Singletary recognized several officers, citizens, organizations and businesses at the annual Beaumont Police Department Chief’s Commendation Dinner on Thursday evening, Jan. 23, at the Event Centre on Crocket Street in downtown Beaumont.
Honorable Judge Larry Gist acted as emcee and speaker, and Officer Mike Custer and the Last Stand Band provided entertainment. Port Arthur Police Officer Marcelo Molfino and his team at Molfino’s Catering catered the dinner, which was a great success in spite of inclement weather. The Officer Conrad Gernale Memorial Scout Troop 194 presented the colors and led the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance to kick off the night. The troop is named after Officer Conrad Gernale, a BPD officer killed in the line of duty in 2002. Gernale’s badge number was 194.
Chief Singletary presented the Beaumont Police Department Appreciation Award to six civilians who provided direct assistance to BPD during the past year. Civilians honored with appreciation awards at the event were Susan Allen, paralegal at Reaud, Morgan & Quinn; Charles Giglio, Giglio Distributing; City of Beaumont Street & Drainage Division Manager Thomas Gill; retired Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Livestock Officer Charlie Melancon; City of Beaumont Fleet Management Department equipment mechanic David Saide; and City of Beaumont Fleet Management Department leaderman mechanic Bobby Schofield.
Chief Singletary then presented Appreciation Awards to 13 Law Enforcement Explorer Scouts who serve with the Department Law Enforcement Explorer Post 730. Paula Blount, Sgt. Kaden Brown, C.J. Cobb, Glendarius Comeaux, Lt. Jacob Froman, Chris Henry, Korey Lewis, Brad Martin, Capt. Chase Ratcliff, Lane Seehuser, Raymond Speight, Sgt. D.J. Valdez and Cody Welch from Post 730 received awards.
After presenting awards to the Explorers, the chief recognized 13 officers who retired in 2013. The following retired officers received recognition: Sgt. Patrick Gurski, 40 years; Lt. Ray Beck, 38 years; Officer Melvin Devaugh, 36 years; Lt. Mark Pierce, 35 years; Officer Reed Abel, 34 years; Sgt. Dean Shows, 32 years; Det. David Froman, 32 years; Officer James Martin, 31 years; Sgt. Joe Ball, 29 years; Det. Cindy Ball, 27 years; Det. Sheila Barton, 25 years; Officer William Fisher, 21 years; and Officer Jeff Safar, 19 years.
There was also a special presentation to the family of Sgt. Teddy Ratcliff, who recently lost his battle with cancer. The chief presented Ratcliff’s family with a shadow box in honor of the long-time officer’s service to BPD.
Besides the appreciation awards, Chief Singletary presented department commendations to three civilians and 13 officers who provided exemplary service to agency throughout the past year. The three civilians receiving commendations were Cindy Bloodsworth, Michael Inboden and Kim Byrd Jackson. Sgt. James Reaux, Officer Danny Valdez, Officer Jesse Warner and Officer Heather Wilson were honored for their service as Police Explorer Post 730 Advisors. Officer Thomas Swope and Officer Justin Proenza received recognition for their efforts as Santa in Blue Coordinators. Other officers honored were Det. Donald English, Officer John Flanagan, Sgt. Robert Flores, Det. Sgt. Jesus Tamayo, Officer Steven Garrison, Det. Sgt. Kenneth Karr, Officer Erin Smith and Officer Isiah Volrie. Besides having the “biggest biceps” in BPD, according to the chief, Volrie was commended for taking down an armed robbery suspect during a call in 2013.
“He acted without hesitation despite the obvious danger posed,” Singletary commented.
In closing, Judge Gist said he wanted to thank the Beaumont boys in blue for “keeping us safe” on behalf of all those gathered at the event. He encouraged attendees to do the same when meeting an officer out in the community.
“When you see an officer in a restaurant or somewhere, stop and say, ‘Thank you,’” Gist advised.