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Police, wastewater departments win awards

Posted: April 30, 2018 4:24 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Camden Police Department (CPD) Patrolman Ryan Anderson (front, center), who serves as Camden High School’s school resource officer, poses for pictures after being recognized by Camden City Council on April 24 as this year’s recipient of the CPD’s Clyburn Award.

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Camden City Council recognized a number of employees from two departments during its April 24 meeting. Council recognized the Camden Police Department (CPD) and individual officers for winning several awards during a Law Enforcement Network (LEN) event on April 11 and for awards handed out during the department’s own banquet on Feb. 27.

Council also recognized employees at the city’s wastewater treatment plant for winning an individual and facility award during a S.C. Environmental Conference (SCEC) at Myrtle Beach in March.

CPD Chief Joe Floyd began by introducing this year’s recipients of the CPD’s own Officer of the Year and Clyburn Award winners. The 2017 CPD Officer of the Year is Sgt. Keith Strickland.

“He’s a shift supervisor and, in that regard, when I’m home, he’s running the police department,” Floyd said. “He came to us with many years of experience. He didn’t get this way by being a young chap. He spent a lot of years in law enforcement where he had developed a lot of management skills far beyond what we had him doing, so we appreciate the job that he does for us.”

Noting that he will reach his 20th anniversary as the CPD’s chief in May, Floyd remembered creating the Clyburn Award 19-1/2 years ago in honor of former officer Wilson Clyburn. Clyburn, he said, served as an officer for 30 years, and who had an ability to make people feel better after talking with him even on a bad day.

“That’s a powerful took in law enforcement and, every year, I recognize one of my officers who has that ability to communicate that way with people. It’s a huge resource and benefits our entire agency,” Floyd said.

With that, he called Patrolman Ryan Anderson up to the front of the council chamber.

“Ryan is our (school resource officer) at Camden High School and he not only interacts with the kids there during the school day, he has a lot of interaction with all of our young people even after school,” Floyd said.

As revealed at the April 11 LEN event, the CPD is 2017 Agency of the Year for DUI enforcement and, generally speaking, victim services. The CPD is a Category 3 LEN member, which Floyd said is comprised of agencies with between 25 and 50 officers. The CPD is part of a LEN comprised of agencies within the 5th Judicial Circuit, which covers just Kershaw and Richland counties.

The statewide Category 3 award recognized the CPD for making 92 DUI arrests in 2017. In addition, the LEN recognized CPD Cpl. Carl Olson individually in Category 3 for making 29 of those 92 DUI arrests. The department and Olson also won silver LEN agency and individual awards. Olson’s silver award recognized him a second time for the 29 DUI arrests he made. The silver agency award to the CPD’s recognized its level of participation in the LEN.

“I do want to say this: These officers are road officers. They’re not traffic officers. It’s not their primary job to go out and find DUIs. Their main and first responsibility is to respond to calls -- whether it’s wrecks or break-ins, an assault. When they’re not busy with that … they spend time doing traffic enforcement. So, traffic enforcement’s only one part of their duties,” Floyd said.

He went on to say that not everyone can handle being a Camden police officer because of all the tasks and technology to do those tasks they “throw” at them.

The LEN presented bronze awards to three CPD officers to their DUI arrests: patrolmen Mark Ferrusi (18), John Goldsmith (11) and Brian Clark (10). Goldsmith and Clark were on hand during the April 24 meeting to be congratulated by council.

Ahead of the police department awards, council recognized the wastewater treatment plant and employee Jamie E. Potteiger III for winning facility and individual Crystal Crucible awards during the March SCEC event.

“Remember, back during the budget session, I was bragging on the wastewater treatment plant and the people we have down there?” Camden Public Works Director Tom Couch asked. “Well, I’ve got proof tonight for those brags.”

Couch said the purpose of the individual award is to recognize individuals for significant contributions and their professionalism in wastewater analysis, education, training, certification and more.

“(Potteiger) is our lab director. He has an ‘A’ in biological wastewater treatment, an ‘A’ in wastewater collections (and) an ‘A’ in water distribution,” Couch said.

Reading from Potteiger’s nomination, he said, “He has more than satisfied the (S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control) lab certification. The lab is neater, better organized and cleaner than ever. Process control analysis is more accurate, which equates to a better overall final product. Jamie really takes pride in his performance, and has the lab performing at an all-time high.”

Couch also talked about the facility Crystal Crucible award, calling it “really a city of Camden award” that recognizes the employer for allocating resources to promote safety, education and professionalism, as well as recognizing that all the employees can perform all the tests Potteiger does in his absence.

Also during the April 24 meeting, council proclaimed May 3-6 as “The Wall That Heals” Exhibit Days, specifically recognizing American Legion James Leroy Belk Post 17 for its role in bringing the exhibit to the city. Camden will be the only South Carolina city to host the exhibit.

The proclamation notes that The Wall That Heals honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War and bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and woman who died during the conflict, including 906 from South Carolina, of which 13 are from Kershaw County.

It also recognizes that Post 17 -- with the assistance and support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Marine Corps League, city, Kershaw County, towns of Bethune and Elgin, Kershaw County School District, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site -- arranged to bring the mobile exhibit to Camden. It will be set up at Historic Camden, and will include an educational experience for local schools and organizations on the history of the Vietnam and the actual Wall in Washington, D.C.

Post 17 members were on hand to receive a copy of the proclamation.

During all of the evening’s presentations, Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford handed out city coins to each person being honored or recognized.

In other business during the April 24 meeting, council:

• received a presentation from Connie Munn of the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments (COG) on health and human services the COG offers and supports in its multi-county area;

• unanimously passed first reading of the city’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget;

• unanimously reappointed A. Mark Mohr to a seat on the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission with a term to expire Aug. 31, 2020;

• unanimously approved a Leader’s Legacy bench recognition honoring Marilyn Porter Kohn and her husband, Edwin R. “Rudy” Kohn Jr.; and

• entered executive session to discuss a contractual matter related to wholesale power -- council took no action upon returning to open session.

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