VPD recognizes officers

| May 19, 2016
valdosta police group
VALDOSTA – Several Valdosta Police Department officers where recognized Wednesday during an awards and promotion ceremony at the Valdosta City Hall Annex.
VPD Purple Heart

Officer Jeffery Jennings

In June 2015, Officer Jeff Jennings responded to a call which involved a fleeing felon. Once officers caught up on foot with the felon, the offender began to fight officers which resulted in Officer Jennings receiving a head wound. Even though injured, Officer Jennings did not stop. He assisted other responding officers by providing vital information concerning the suspect. Subsequently, the suspect was located in the immediate area and was taken into custody without further incident. Officer Jennings was treated for his injuries and returned to duty a short time later.

VPD LifeSaving Awards

Lieutenant Adam Bembry

In June 2015, Lt. Bembry responded to a 911 call of a collapsed person. Upon arrival, Lt. Bembry found the person to have no pulse or respirations. He began CPR immediately and assisted with the application of an AED. EMS personnel arrived shortly thereafter. The victim was alive and breathing upon transport to the hospital. A Senior Paramedic with Lowndes EMS stated that Lt. Bembry’s actions were instrumental in saving the victim’s life.

Officer Matthew Varney
Sergeant Stephen Weisbrod

Officers Varney and Sergeant Weisbrod responded to a person threatening to harm himself in June 2015. The victim was hanging over an upper floor balcony railing at a local hotel and was threatening to jump. Officer Varney conversed with the victim for over 15 minutes, keeping the victim calm. Officer Varney convinced the male to come back over the railing. As the male had his full attention on Officer Varney, Sergeant Weisbrod was able to physically subdue the victim. EMS provided medical care for the victim. Officer Varney and Sergeant Weisbrod worked together, even though they did not verbally communicate, to bring a peaceful resolution to the incident.

Officer Jonathan Braddy

In November 2015, Officer Braddy was dispatched to the bridge on Clay Road. A young man was sitting on the bridge contemplating jumping. Officer Braddy spoke with the young man and tried to obtain information from him. Officer Braddy recognized the life threatening situation and quickly created a diversion that distracted the young man for mere seconds. Officer Braddy made his move and secured the young man from the bridge thus saving his life. Officer Braddy did not stop there. He continued to speak with the young man in a calming tone and genuinely showed he cared about this citizen.

Lieutenant Brent Johnson

 In January 2016, Lt. Johnson responded to a 911 call about a citizen sitting on top ledge of the James Beck Overpass. The citizen expressed a desire not to live. Lt. Johnson was familiar with the citizen and was able to immediately build a rapport with him. Lt. Johnson used skills he had acquired during his many years of policing to calm the victim and to redirect his focus. Lt Johnson was able to eventually coax the victim from the bridge and get the medical attention needed.

VPD Promotions

Sergeant Thomas Newton – Sergeant Newton began his career with VPD in September 2008 and has worked in the Bureau of Patrol and the Bureau of Investigations during his tenure at VPD. He was recently promoted to the rank of Sergeant over a squad of patrol officers assigned to the VPD Bureau of Patrol Services.

Sergeant Joel Hurley – Sergeant Hurley began his career with VPD in September 2005 and has worked in the Bureau of Patrol and the Bureau of Investigations during his tenure at VPD. He was recently promoted to the rank of Sergeant over a squad of patrol officers assigned to the VPD Bureau of Patrol Services.

Sergeant Sabrina Smith – Sergeant Smith began her career with VPD in June 2006 as a Patrol Officer in the Bureau of Patrol Services. She served as a School Resource Officer and then as a Detective in the Person Crimes Unit working primarily with domestic issues and cases involving children. In May 2016, Sergeant Smith was promoted to the position of Detective Sergeant of the Burglary Unit in the Bureau of Investigative Services.

Lieutenant Kyle Salter – Lt. Salter began his career with VPD in March 2000 as a Patrol Officer in the Bureau of Patrol Services. After several years, he became a Detective in the Persons Crimes Unit eventually being promoted to Sergeant over the Persons Crime Unit. In May 2016, Lt. Salter was promoted to his current rant, Lieutenant of the Bureau of Investigative Services. Lt. Salter oversees the day to day operations of the bureau which includes supervising personnel in the following units: Person Crimes, Property Crimes, Burglary, Juvenile, Gang, and Narcotics.

Lieutenant Adam Bembry – Lt. Bembry began his career with VPD in February 2005 in the Bureau of Patrol Services. He served as a Sergeant of a Patrol squad and was recently promoted to Lieutenant assigned to the Office of Professional Standards. Lt. Bembry works with the CALEA and State Certification Program, Internal Affairs, Hiring and Recruitment, Public Information, and various other duties.

Captain Kari Williams – Captain Williams is a 21 year veteran of the Valdosta Police Department. She has worked in the Bureau of Patrol Services, Bureau of Investigative Services and currently in the Office of Professional Standards. She has previously served on the VPD Power Squad and was a Sergeant over Property Crimes in the Bureau of Investigative Services. Captain Williams was promoted in July 2015 to Lieutenant in the Office of Professional Standards and in January 2016 was promoted to Captain in the Office of Professional Standards, she currently is responsible for administering the CALEA and State Certification Program as the VPD Accreditation Manager, Internal Affairs, Hiring and Recruitment, Public Information, and other duties as assigned by the Chief of Police. Captain Williams coordinates and schedules the Citizen Police Academy biannually and also oversees Community Policing Services.

Commander Bobbi McGrawCommander McGraw is a 20 year veteran of the Valdosta Police Department. She began her career as a patrol officer in the Bureau of Patrol Services. She served as a Detective in the Bureau of Investigative Services as a Property Crimes Detective, Person Crimes Detective, and Cold Case Detective. In 2005, she was promoted to Sergeant of the Narcotics Unit. She was promoted in 2007 to Lieutenant in the Office of Professional Standards and promoted to Captain in the Office of Professional Standards in 2009 where she served as the Accreditation Manager for CALEA and State Certification and other duties of the Office of Professional Standards. Commander McGraw was promoted to the Commander position in January 2016 for the Bureau of Support Services. She is responsible for supervising personnel who handle VPD records, municipal court, and the DARE program.

VPD Top Gun Award

Officer Brett Boyd – Officer Boyd achieved the fastest time on the VPD fitness/obstacle course while obtaining a 100% accuracy rate with the firearms portion of the course. He completed the course in 2 minutes 1 second and hit 10 out of 10 target, therefore; becoming the 2016 “Top Gun” for VPD.

10 Year Service Awards:

Criminalist Shannon Floyd
Sergeant Joel Hurley
Sergeant Heather Willis
Criminalist Selena Phinney
Lieutenant Stephen Thompson
Officer Tracy Haddix
Detective Robert Raymond
Officer Randall Hancock
Sergeant Thomas Newton

15 Year Service Awards:
Sergeant Joshua Ellwood
Officer Jason Figarola
Sergeant Chris Crews
Sergeant Steven Weisbrod
Sergeant Jeremyah Jones

20 Year Service Awards:
Administrative Assistant Elaine Plummer
Captain Matt O’Steen
Commander Bobbi McGraw

25 Year Service Awardas:

Officer Barry Williams
Officer Vernotis Williams

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