Police hope ribbons boost pride, morale

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A new program to honor Clanton police officers with military-style ribbons is hoped to boost pride and morale in the department, Sgt. Neil Fetner said.

The program was the brainchild of Cpl. Robert Bland, who has a background in the military.

“(We hope the recognition provides) motivation and gives them something to be proud of,” said Fetner.

The ribbons are given for special achievements and to recognize the kind of work each officer does.

For example, there are ribbons for Officer of the Year, a Medal of Honor for exceptional bravery, a Purple Heart Medal for officers injured in the line of duty, and a medal for officers who have saved the lives of others.

Other ribbons mark what department an officer works in, like administrative, detective, K-9, traffic or patrol divisions.

“In the military, (the medals) bring pride not to just the individual, but the entire unit also,” said Bland. “I wanted to instill a sense of pride in the uniform we wear, promote morale and encourage individuals to achieve more. Essentially, it’s a road map to where you’ve been (in your career).”

The medals and ribbons will be handed out each year during an awards program.

Officers honored for this year include Bland, a commendation ribbon and Co-Officer of the Year; Capt. David Clackley, a commendation ribbon; Fetner, Police Star Metal and Co-Officer of the Year; Officer David Hicks, a commendation ribbon; Det. David Kline, a commendation ribbon; Deputy Chief Keith Maddox, a commendation ribbon; and Det. Freddie Mayfield, a commendation ribbon.

Fetner said ribbons concerning certifications, training and work in the community might also give officers extra incentive to learn more and work harder.

“We want our officers to be out active in the community,” Fetner said.

The ribbons will only be worn when officers are in their ‘Class A’ uniforms at events like parades. In addition to the ribbon or medal, a letter of commendation also goes into each honored officer’s employee file.