Optimist Club of Downtown Flint Announces ‘Officer of the Year’ Awardees
Ten area police officers will be recognized by the Downtown Flint Optimist Club at a luncheon celebrating National Law Day on Monday, May 6. Sonitrol Great Lakes — one of Michigan’s largest locally owned and operated security firms — is sponsoring the annual event, which will begin at noon at the Genesee Career Center, 5081 Torrey Road in Flint.
The awards honor deserving officers who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, achievement and genuine commitment to their profession and the citizens they serve. Sonitrol Great Lakes has been sponsoring this event for the past 11 years.
“We are excited to once again sponsor this great event, honoring our local law enforcement officers for their heroism, dedication and outstanding service to the public,” said Mike Buckel, Optimist Club past president and vice president of operations for Sonitrol Great Lakes.
The Optimist Club of Downtown Flint congratulates each of this year’s honorees:
Flint Police Department: Sgt. Kristopher Jones, Officers John Boismier, Rod Hall, Al Essix, James Wheeler, Quion Wheeler, Detective Sgt. David Hanson. Genesee County Sheriff’s Office: Deputy Paramedic Larisa Sloan. Michigan State Police - Flint Post: Detective Trooper Jonathan Miller, Detective Sergeant Bill Jennings.
In addition, the club is honoring Alyssa Hasselblad, a second year forensic science student at the Genesee Career Institute, as its Student of the Year.
Sgt. Jones is being honored for his leadership and direction in a September 2018 incident involving the arrest of an armed suspect at Southwestern Classical Academy, and ensuring the safety and evacuation of students at the school.
Officers Boismier and Hall are credited with saving the life of a resident trapped inside a burning building in February 2018. That same month, Officer Boismier and Officer Essix responded to a fiery two-car collision in Flint, saving a trapped driver and arresting the other driver – a breaking and entering suspect.
Officer James Wheeler, in responding to an August 2018 domestic assault complaint, was able to de-escalate a tense situation with a suicidal suspect, leading to an arrest without injuries. Officer Quion Wheeler is being recognized for his work with detectives in November 2018 leading to the arrest of a suspect in a shooting-related homicide. Detective Sgt. Hanson is being honored for saving the life of a choking victim last July while on duty at the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.
Deputy Paramedic Sloan’s medical expertise and quick lifesaving actions resulted in a healthy outcome for the mother and newborn during an emergency childbirth – which had life-threatening complications – in a moving ambulance last March.
State Police Detective Trooper Jonathan Miller worked closely with the Prosecutor’s Office as the officer in charge for several jury trials in July 2018, as well as a murder case from 2017 that concluded with a jury conviction in April 2019. Miller’s 2017 murder case involved five defendants. As a result of Miller’s investigative work, one defendant agreed to plead to second degree murder and testify against the remaining co-defendants at trial. A jury found the remaining four defendants guilty on numerous charges, including the shooter, who was found guilty of felony murder.
Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Bill Jennings is assigned to the Flint Major Case Unit tasked with investigating over 100 critical shootings and homicides within the City of Flint and has been instrumental in solving many of them, including numerous cold cases. D/Sgt. Jennings also earned a Lifesaving Award for saving the life of an individual when he entered a burning house to help remove a victim. Administering CPR, D/Sgt. Jennings revived the victim who then went into cardiac arrest. Compressions continued. If not for his actions, it is unlikely the victim would have survived.
President Eisenhower first declared National Law Day in 1958. It is meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and recognize its importance for society.