NEW GARDEN >> Thursday was a night for looking back and recognizing the good work of local police officers.
Friends, relatives and local officials gathered at the New Garden municipal building for the last annual awards ceremony for the New Garden Police Department. As of the end of 2016, the department was dissolved and became part of the larger and newly formed Southern Chester County Regional Police.
But, as Chief Gerald Simpson said, “We still have some unfinished business to take care of.”
As it came out during the ceremony, many of the members of the former New Garden Police had performed some outstanding actions over the past year, and as a small token of their work were presented with pins commemorating them.
Sgt. Keith Cowdright received the prestigious Gerald Davis Award, named for the longtime former chief, who was in the audience.
Cowdright was the department’s criminal investigator on June 29, 2016 when he was called to a heroin overdose incident. His actions working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Delaware DEA led to the bust of two suspects who were involved in the sale and possession of 6,500 bags of heroin and possession of an illegal weapon. And on Oct. 13, 2016, Donte Jacobs of Delaware was indicted for delivery of fentanyl and heroin that resulted in the death of another person.
Simpson described his work as “exceptional.”
Officer Ryan Kushner earned the Meritorious Service Award for apprehending a triple murder suspect from West Virginia as the suspect left New Garden Township and entered Avondale in his vehicle.
Sergeant Joseph Greenwait and Patrol Officer Jeremony O’Neill earned the Life Saving Awards for interceding in and saving the life of a person who was attempting suicide by carbon monoxide asphyxiation on Feb. 23, 2016. They also received citations from State Rep. Eric Roe for their actions.
The following officers received awards for outstanding DUI enforcement: Maria Mattini, Stephen Madonna, Benjamin Brown, Jeremony O’Neil, John Gibson, Ryan Kushner and Joseph Versagli.
Additionally, Raymond Sullivan was sworn in as a member of the Southern Chester County Regional Police by District Justice Matt Seavey.
New Garden Township Supervisor Randy Geouque greeted the audience and praised the officers who were about to receive awards as well as police in general. He said that in a time when people find fault with the police, only a miniscule number are bad officers. He said being a law enforcement officer is a difficult job that requires numerous outstanding personality traits.
Simpson introduced the program and likewise praised the officers. “Superman had nothing on you,” he told his team.
He said these officers showed “resolve, forward thinking and dedication” and were some of the best in the state.
“There is no other profession in which you can affect other people’s action (like this)” he said.
A small reception followed the ceremony.