NORMAN — The Norman Crimestoppers Committee presented the 15th Annual Public Safety Awards banquet Thursday night at Norman’s Holiday Inn.
Norman Police Officer Glenda Vassar was the first female officer to receive the Police Officer of the Year award. Vassar has worked as a Norman officer for two-and-a-half years and was commended by Chief of Police Keith Humphrey as someone who “truly goes the extra mile.”
“Officer Vassar exemplifies the mission statement of the Norman Police Department in every aspect of her daily duties,” said Humphrey as he read from her supervisor’s nomination letter.
Whether Vassar was building community relations with business owners within her beat, keeping Campus Corner alleyways clean to make it more appealing for future patrons and businesses, or making sure a juvenile didn’t fall through the cracks with the Department of Human Services, she has been “a positive role model for women of all ages,” Humphrey read.
From the Norman Fire Department, driver and engineer David Awbrey received the Fireman of the Year award. During the wildfires in August last year, Awbrey stopped and detained a subject who was later arrested for arson.
“High integrity, trustworthy, reliable, accountable” were just some of the words Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey used to describe the typical traits of a firefighter.
“Firefighters all come to work with the knowledge that they may have to risk their lives to save another,” he said, adding that Awbrey possesses all of these traits.
The Paramedic of the Year award went to Jason Carter. Dr. Patrick Cody, medical director for EMSStat, presented Carter with the award.
“The thing that impressed me about (Carter) was one of the questions we like to ask (in interviews) is what is your five-year plan?” Cody said. “Without missing a beat, he pointed to one of the captains and said, ‘I want that guy’s job.”
Now, four years after his initial interview, Cody said he is almost there.
Deputy Sheriff Jonathon Jackson took home the annual award from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department. Undersheriff Rhett Burnett presented Jackson with the award.
“Whenever a deputy was needed he could be counted on at any moment’s notice to respond,” Burnett said. “His efforts were superior, his attitude was superior.”
An example of Jackson’s outstanding work included responding to an arson call that resulted in a shooting incident. Because of Jackson’s actions and his partner’s actions, no lives were lost, Burnett said.
Jackson also made numerous outstanding drug arrests.
Also from the county side, Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillingham was recognized for her work within the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Greg Mashburn presented Dillingham with her award.
“She has been amazing,” Mashburn said. “She’s been involved in the community for a very long time.”
Mashburn said Dillingham is a “go-getter” and a hard worker who is always on top of things. Dillingham works in the civil division representing county officials and working with some aspects of law enforcement.
Master Police Officer Greg Vollmer and his canine partner Caesar were selected from the University of Oklahoma Police Department as outstanding officers of the year.
OU Police Chief Liz Woolen told the audience about a 90-degree day in June where a 3-year-old child was rescued by the officer team. Not only that, but Vollmer and Caesar also have been successful in assisting with missing child calls.
The duo was unable to receive their appropriate awards in person, a plaque and tennis balls, due to a training session in North Carolina.
From the University of Oklahoma Risk Management department, OU Fire Inspector Justin Daniels was awarded. Daniels has assisted with many fire safety programs and has enhanced fire safety education. He also assisted in a string of arsons that happened a while back in which the people were prosecuted.
The Mary Abbott Children’s House presented Teresa Capps with the Wayne Martin Memorial Award this year.
“Our recipient exemplifies all of the very, very great qualities in serving children that Detective Martin was known for,” said Clint Williams, executive director of the Mary Abbott Children’s House.
Williams said since 2004, the group has given away the award for a professional dedicated to improving the quality of life for Cleveland County children and having an unwavering commitment to children. Capps has changed the lives of countless children and families, he said.
Last but not least, the recipient for the Steve Cain and John Dutch Memorial Scholarship this year was Brinyn Wilson, a senior at Norman High School who is concurrently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma.
Wilson is active in the community and volunteerism. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her entire high school career and has received numerous honors and awards in her advanced courses.
This is the first year the two memorial scholarships, one from the police department and one from fire the department, have been combined to honor a single recipient. Wilson received $1,000 from the scholarships to aid her with tuition and fees.