Officer of the Year honors Newman

Published 3:32 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Officer of the Year Award that Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer presented to Officer Riley Barnett on Dec. 21 held even more meaning than in previous years.

This was the first year Fulmer presented the annual award as the Officer Donald “Josh” Newman Officer of the Year Award.

Newman was a Jemison police officer who died while responding to a car accident at the beginning of his shift the night of March 5. He was 30 years old and had been with the department since 2008.

Fulmer said each Officer of the Year is selected based upon nominations submitted by police officers and city personnel in order to “let the ones he works around all the time have a say in who they feel has (gone) above and beyond, all around, in showing their professionalism and dedication to the work and to the citizens and the people in the department.”

“He (Barnett) received a majority of the votes,” Fulmer said. “He’s still fairly new to the profession but has come a long way since we hired him. He’s a great officer.”

Fulmer gave Barnett his award at the police department’s annual Christmas dinner Dec. 21.

He also presented Newman’s widow, Tracy, and 4-year-old son, Jace, with a commemorative plaque and a United States flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Newman, along with a certificate of authenticity he received from the U.S. Capitol Police.

According to Fulmer, Newman told his wife at the 2010 Christmas dinner that one of his goals for the next year was to earn the Officer of the Year Award through hard work and a job well done.

From now on, Newman’s name will always be associated with the award he so avidly sought.

“We’ve got a good group of officers,” Fulmer said. “They all work hard and do a great job. Officer Barnett did go above and beyond. We have received several calls commending his service from citizens.”