A dedication to duty and strong work ethic were keys to Sedalia Police Department Det. Kevin Klein being named Officer of the Year during a special ceremony held Tuesday.
Klein, who has been a detective in the SPD STING Unit for the past year after serving as an officer, “came out like a ball of fire,” said Police Chief John DeGonia.
“When he started (in the STING Unit) he hit the ground running,” DeGonia said. “He’s not a clock watcher, he gets the job done. For him, law enforcement is a profession, not a job. We’re proud to have him.”
Though Klein has known he would receive the award for the past few days, he said it was still a shock.
“It’s a really big honor, I’m lucky to have been chosen especially because there are a lot of great people in the department who could have been picked,” Klein said.
The biggest highlight from the past year, he added, was a search warrant in May that led to the seizure of a pound of meth. Earlier in the ceremony Klein and his fellow STING Unit detectives — Det. Larry Parham and Officer David Smith — were honored for their work in 2013.
“The STING Unit has been proactive in battling the drug trade,” said Master of Ceremonies Cmdr. David Woolery. “In 2013 they conducted 51 searches, made 225 arrests and had a 100 percent conviction rate. They seized 660 grams of meth, 11,000 pills, 2,700 grams of K2 and 934 grams of marijuana, in addition to 23 firearms and $31,000 in cash.”
Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser was also honored by the department.
“For the past 28 years (that Mittelhauser has been prosecuting attorney) we have worked together,” Woolery said. “You have been dedicated to fighting crime with us and it shows. The respect we give you has been well earned.”
The department also recognized two agents with the Buearu of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives for their work in “Operation Coin Collector,” an ATF-led two-year investigation that resulted in the arrest of 37 people, 23 of them in Sedalia, in November. The agents, in turn, gave the SPD a plaque thanking the department for it’s help in the investigation, and also honored Det. Joey McCullough for his work with the operation.
Other awards included:
• Letter of Commendation to Sgt. John Comfort
• Community Service Ribbons to Det. Jill Green, Det. Stephanie Davis, Officer Daniel Benner and Lt. Bill Chapman,
• Search and Entry Ribbons to Det. Larry Parham, 204 searches; Officer David Smith, 173 searches; Chief John DeGonia, 129 searches; Officer Ryan Reed, 103 searches; Det. Kevin Klein, 68 searches; Officer Travis Lorenz, 53 searches; Cmdr. David Woolery, 50 searches; Det.Sgt. Josh Howell, 33 searches; Cmdr. Larry Ward, 31 searches; Det. Michael Elwood, 27 searches; Officer Daniel Benner, 26 searches; Officer Jacob White, 26 searches; Officer Bradley Arnold, 24 searches; and Officer Preston Hesselbacher, 20 searches.
• Police Commendation Ribbons were given to Det. Stephanie Davis, Det. Jill Green and Det. Travis St. Cyr.
• Life Saving Ribbons were given to Sgt. Ron Miller, Det. Kevin Klein and Officer Aaron Berry.
• A Meritorious Service Ribbon was given to Det. Larry Parham, Officer David Smith, Det. Kevin Klein and Det. Joey McCullough.