ST. GEORGE — Some of the city’s finest, along with their spouses, were honored for their dedication to serving the Mesquite, Nevada community during the first annual Mesquite Police Department awards banquet held at the Casa Blanca Resort.
The event was held Feb. 18 to recognize the accomplishments of a number of employees and officers that went above and beyond the call of duty over the past year.
The gala also provided the opportunity to recognize the officer’s spouses, who support them as they serve the community, and who are also affected by the stress associated with the job, which can have a tremendous impact the family, Mesquite Police Sgt. Wyatt Oliver told St. George News.
The long hours, unpredictable shifts and the crisis-driven nature of the job make it even more important for officers to have a strong support network, which their spouses play a key role in maintaining. Recognizing their efforts is important, Oliver said, as they provide the support needed to maintain the balance between home and work that contributes to a healthy department.
“The event gives the spouses an opportunity to attend a special event honoring their efforts that go on behind the scenes and can go unnoticed,” Oliver said.
In fact, it was the efforts of the “entire law enforcement family” that prompted Mesquite Police Chief Maquade Chesley to launch the annual event as a way to provide a venue for the officers and their spouses to “dress up and have an evening where they could relax and just have fun,” Oliver said.
The awards were presented to officers and employees who exceeded the duty requirements expected of their position — and those who had demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service while maintaining the highest standards of public safety and police protection.
The department presented seven awards, including officer of the year, corrections officer of the year, animal control officer of the year, dispatcher of the year, supervisor of the year, records clerk of the year and the lifetime achievement award.
This year, the Police Officer of the Year award was given to Officer Drayton Woods, Corrections Officer of the Year was awarded to Clint Aldred, the Animal Control Officer of the Year was given to Walter Dalton, Dispatcher of the Year was awarded to Ashlem Chacon, Records Employee of the Year was awarded to Teresa Leal-Flores, the Supervisor of the Year was Lt. Jordan Bundy, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to retired Sgt. Mike VanHouten.
Oliver said the Casa Blanca Resort “went above and beyond to decorate the hall, provide extra lighting and other amenities that really made the evening extra-special for the department and everyone attending.”
The plan is to have the awards banquet become part of an annual tradition for the Mesquite Police Department, Oliver said.
The Police Officer of the Year Award was first presented in 1984 and recognizes a single police officer or team of officers for an exceptional act of valor symbolizing the service of police in the state of New York. Since the award’s inception, police departments across the country participate in the program in various ways to honor those serving on the front lines in communities across the country.