Governor signs resolutions for Clanton police officersBy Emily Beckett Published 2:42pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Two Clanton police officers had an opportunity to meet Gov. Robert Bentley on March 5 and watch him sign resolutions recognizing their achievements in law enforcement.
Officers Patrick Quinley and Wade Johnson with the Clanton Police Department were recipients of CPD Officer of the Year awards in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and they were invited this year to attend the governor’s signing of two House Joint Resolutions at the state Capitol commending them for their awards and service.
Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell started the department’s Officer of the Year Program in 2009, and in 2010, Capt. Neil Fetner contacted state Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville, for his help with enacting House Joint Resolutions commending each person named Officer of the Year.
“In conjunction with their medal they get, they get a document signed by the governor,” Fetner said. “I think it does a lot to bolster morale when you give the officer a little bit more recognition and when the governor shakes their hand and thanks them for their service.”
The officers were also able to keep the ink pens Bentley used to sign their resolutions.
Fetner was able to coordinate Quinley’s and Johnson’s resolution signings with Officer Elizabeth Morrow of the Jacksonville State University Police Department receiving a commendation from the governor for winning three silver medals at the 2013 World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Ireland.
Past recipients of the CPD Officer of the Year award include: Sgt. Elijah Bearden, 2009; Detective Robert Bland and Sgt. Neil Fetner (Director’s Medal), 2010; and Officer Donald Giles, 2011.
The award is given at the department’s annual Christmas party.
“The selection is based on all-around officer—attitude, performance, productivity and even public input,” Fetner said. “That’s one thing we really want to get from the public—if we have an officer that is doing a really good job, we want to hear about it. We use that information to select an Officer of the Year, to address any issues that might be out there and to get feedback from the public of how we’re doing and their perception of us.”
Quinley, who has been with the department since 2011, said he was surprised to receive the award and have the opportunity to meet the governor.
“It’s an honor,” Quinley said. “That’s something in my career I never thought would happen, but I’m glad it did.”
Johnson has been with the department for 22 years and said it was an honor for him to receive the award, too.
“So many times, you get the other side of the spectrum—you get complaints,” Johnson said. “It was a fresh sense of reward to be recognized for your accomplishments.”
Fetner said he has arranged resolutions for other events also, such as remembering and honoring fallen officers, including Johnson’s father, James Earl Johnson, who passed away in 2012.
“It’s something that’s available to the public as a whole, not just to law enforcement or government officials,” Fetner said, adding that he plans to arrange resolution signings for every CPD Officer of the Year in the future.
“Sometimes, it’s a thankless job,” Fetner said of law enforcement. “I thought it was a way to motivate the officers to take pride in their work and keep on keeping on even though you don’t get thanked every day.”