In the 2014 Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s continued efforts to rally behind the community and thank the men and women who protect and serve Cobb County 24/7, five of the county’s finest were honored with awards during the 20th annual Public Safety Appreciation Breakfast earlier this fall. The event, which drew nearly 600 people, also kicked off the 15th annual Public Safety Appreciation Week in Cobb.
The 2014 Public Safety Employee of the Year is 12-year police veteran Agent Kyle Arnold of the Acworth Police Department. He is currently assigned to MCS Narcotics and is one of the first entry officers when serving high-risk warrants. The nature of Arnold’s position puts him in constant risk, and it has been noted that he embraces it with the enthusiasm of a rookie but with the presence of mind and professionalism of a seasoned veteran.
Officer Paul Reynolds with the Marietta Police Department and Officer Tom Rooney with the Smyrna Police Department received the Award of Merit. They were each recognized for an act of courage that demonstrated genuine care and concern for the citizens of the community, going above and beyond the call of duty. Reynolds was nominated for his quick-thinking and life-saving techniques when responding to a call after a young, pregnant woman was shot on South Marietta Parkway in January. Rooney, for putting his life on the line and evacuating an apartment consumed by fire last November, saving 17 peoples’ lives.
This year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipient is Detective Tom Bastis with the Cobb County Police Department. He was honored for his service and performance, which exceeded the demands of his job. Nominated by SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center, Bastis was honored for his nearly six years of work with the Crimes Against Children Unit, which protects children in the community.
Lastly, Officer Charles Vill with Cobb Police is the Medal of Valor recipient. This award is the highest one given by the Chamber and Vill was recognized for an act of bravery in a life-threatening situation. The award is only presented when a deserving candidate is nominated. Vill was shot five times during a traffic stop on Feb. 4, but despite being seriously wounded, he maintained tactical awareness, acted quickly and was able to accurately describe the suspect over the radio, leading to his capture. He plans to return to work.
The following public safety personnel and units were also nominated for the awards: Detective Shannon Arrowood, Marietta Police; Officers Daniel Brown and Adam J. Hainline, Kennesaw Police; Police Dispatch Specialist Trina Dean, Kennesaw State University Police; Fire Engineers Steven Bradley and Dave Dwyer, Cobb Fire & Emergency; Sgt. Darin Hull, Cobb Police; Lt. Duane Manns, Southern Polytechnic State University Police; Investigator Bob Morris, Cobb Sheriff’s Office; Officer Charles A. Spann Jr., Chattahoochee Technical College Police; Firefighter/Paramedic Dave Hardin and Firefighter Engineer/Paramedic Jeff Menard, BERT Unit, Marietta Fire; Emergency Medical Dispatcher Erica Tillman, EMT-Paramedic Camellia LaLonde and EMT-Intermediate Ty Daniels, MetroAtlanta Ambulance; and Patrol Ranger Richard Biurgren, Patrol Officer Jose Rochez and Patrol Officer Melville Johnson, Kennesaw Mountain Law Enforcement Team, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. A committee of volunteers selected award winners. To learn more, visit cobbchamber.org/publicsafety.