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At Gladstone Police Department’s annual meeting this month, awards went to citizens and officers who went above the call of duty for the past year, according to a vote of GPD members.

Volunteer of the Year — Erica Brown, the daughter of Gladstone officer Bob Maple, for the past four years has been the team captain for the GPD Penguins. By participating in the Polar Plunge, the Penguins have raised more than $6,000 for the Special Olympics.

Employee of the Year — officer Tony Fich. Fich wrote a proposal to purchase new rifles that was accepted by the city administrator.

“He has a particular interest in criminal investigations, and he’s what you’d call a hound dog in terms of seeing a case from beginning to end. I’d say he has a bright future,” Police Chief Jim Pryde said.

Citizen of the Year — given to someone who has helped another or helped to improve the community’s public safety — was Steve Leitz, owner of Baskin-Robbins in Gladstone. His dedication to organize the businesses of Gladstone in crime prevention has made the community safer and more aware of crime. Leitz also donated more than 1,000 coupons for a scoop of ice cream to GPD school resource officer Eric Graves to hand out throughout the year to deserving students.

Chief’s Award — Officer Graves also was the recipient of one of the Chief’s Awards for being an unsung hero behind the scenes. When he catches a student with a traffic infraction, he’ll sometimes let the student choose whether he writes them a ticket or calls their parent.

“He’s really great at showing discretion,” Pryde said.

Maria Aikin, Pryde’s executive assistant who is conducting an effort to get the department accredited among her many other duties, was the other recipient of a Chief’s Award.

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