The Plano Police Department held an award ceremony last week in lieu of its traditional awards banquet.

Eight employees were awarded titles and plaques to commemorate their work in 2019.

Among the awards presented were the Officer of the Year, as well as awards for the top rookie, supervisor and civilian employees. The Lifesaver Award and the Medal of Valor were also presented.

Detective Stephen Howell won the Officer of the Year award for 2019.

“This is recognized as an individual award but this isn’t really an individual award. There were several people who contributed to this,” he said.

Howell has been with the department since 2009.

Sgt. Brad Ewell won the sworn supervisor award, and Records Supervisor Su Weigel won the Civilian Supervisor Award. Crime Analyst Andrea Desmond won the Civilian of the Year Award. Officer Jimmy Farias was the recipient of the Rookie award.

Assistant Chief Sandra Rodgers-Tomeo, with the help of Chief Ed Drain, introduced the recipients. Before offering the Lifesaving Award to Deputy Chief T.J. Brantley, Rodgers-Tomeo told the story of Brantley's efforts in saving a child last year.

“Call notes indicated a 4-year-old with autism (spectrum disorder) had walked out of his apartment approximately 20 minutes prior. There was further information that the child loved water but could not swim,” she said.

Brantley reportedly searched for the child in the creek.

“The child was standing in chest deep water and was very distraught,” Rodgers-Tomeo said.

She said Brantley secured the child, scaled back up the creek bank and carried him back to his mother.

Deputy Chief Mike Tower also won the lifesaving award for his work during a traffic accident. Tower reportedly "approached from the passenger side and attempted to communicate with the driver when he observed a baby seat in the backseat," Rodgers-Tomeo said.

The car engine then set on fire. Tower was able to get the driver and child out of the car. 

The department said the ceremony was to “recognize the police officers and civilian employees who have excelled in making Plano’s neighborhoods safer and a more enjoyable place in which to live and work.”

Officer Richard Henderson won the Medal of Valor.

“We congratulate all the nominees and recipients for their outstanding work,” the department said in a release.

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