Officers, supervisors and civilians were awarded this month by the Plano Police Department for their service to the community.
The recipients of the 2014 annual awards are:
• Officer of the Year—Officer Bill Rollins
• Sworn Supervisor of the Year—Lt. Doug Deaton
• Civilian Supervisor of the Year—Debbie Jones
• Civilian of the Year—Sally Lopez
•Rookie of the Year—Officer Ryan Polite
• Medal of Valor Award—Officer Michael Christon
• Excellence in Problem Solving—Officer Erik Ahrens
• Lifesaving Awards—Officers Mike Philley, Scott Kermes, Chris Jones and Ronald Smith
Rollins received the Officer of the Year award for his professionalism and compassion as a patrol officer when he encountered a woman living in her vehicle, unable to enter her home due to unsafe living conditions. The woman was also suffering from disease, malnutrition, dehydration and mental illness.
According to a department summary, Rollins lifted the woman from her vehicle and accompanied her to the hospital for treatment, coordinating with social service agencies to help the woman and her pets. Rollins also investigated a string of thefts that had contributed to her living situation, personally arrested the perpetrators and recovered the stolen goods. Rollins also scheduled himself to work on Christmas to ensure the woman had company, but she passed away shortly before the holiday, according to the summary. Rollins helped the woman for the last time by locating her hand-written will.
“Officer Rollins exemplifies the mission of the Plano Police Department by providing outstanding police services on a daily basis to maintain a high quality of life that we enjoy here in our great city. He is an excellent example of what it means to be a police officer,” said Officer David Tilley, spokesman for the Plano Police Department. “His dedication to the job, the profession and the citizens of our community each and every day is one of the reasons he received this prestigious recognition.”
Rollins said this type of neighborhood policing is the standard by which every law enforcement agency should hold itself to. This type of training has caught on in Plano, said Rollins, who hopes the same mentality will take root in other agencies across the country.
“This community philosophy is something every [police department]needs to have,” said Rollins, who has been with the Plano Police Department for 21 years. “My belief is that every officer needs to be a community police officer. At first, I though everyone went to jail and got a ticket. I didn’t understand what the word ‘discretion’ meant. You don’t always have to use [your power]as a hammer—it can be a hand on the shoulder. You can pick somebody up instead of putting them on the ground.”