AMVETS recognizes outstanding officers

Published 1:36 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sunday marked the start of National Police Week but Monday was the day of festivities for many departments.

AMVETS Post 23 in Opp honored one officer from each department in the county chosen for their dedication to their line of work.

Officers of the year are Joshua Hudson of Opp Police Department; Kevin Norris of Andalusia Police Department; Jessica McGraw of the Florala Police Department; and Joe Snyder from the Covington County Sheriff’s Office.

Opp Police Chief Michael McDonald said he chose Hudson for his dedication.

“We hired him on in 2014 as a patrol officer and then we moved him over to DTF,” he said. “Hudson demonstrated total dedication, he worked during the day, the night, his off days, his duty days. I appreciate that kind of devotion and it’s a big deal. I’m proud to have him in our department.”

Andalusia Police Chief Paul Hudson chose Norris for his dedication, as well.

“He’s very dedicated and takes the job to heart. He does his job well,” Hudson said.

“He volunteered to take a six-week-old Germen shepherd puppy that we were trying to find a home for. We tested the dog out to see if he would make a good K-9 and he passed the test.”

Hudson said Norris trained the dog himself.

“From there, Kevin did all of the dog’s training on his own and on his days off. He never asked for any overtime. I know that our department and our community is a better place,” he said.

Florala Police Chief Sonny Bledsoe named Jessica McGraw, the assistant chief of police, officer of the year for her abilities.

“I wanted Jessica to be recognized for all the hard work she has done within the past year, which is a hard plate to handle,” Bledsoe said. “Jessica keeps computer equipment going when it breaks down. She’s great at dealing with the public, listening to problems, and she’s a shoulder to cry on so to speak. Jessica also handles the K-9 side of things for Florala PD. She has turned into an awesome police officer, assistant chief and friend. Thank you for all you do for the Florala PD.”

Sheriff Dennis Meeks named Joe Snyder the deputy of the year for the Covington County Sheriff’s Office.

“Joe has been with us since 1999 and he started out as a resource officer,” Meeks said.

“As a part of his responsibility, he has to maintain the safety of our children in schools and he serves as a mentor not just for children but other resource officers.”

Meeks said that Snyder goes above and beyond for his duties.

“He’s the supervisor of the other three resource officers. The Sheriff’s Office is very fortunate to have Joe as a member of our family and he has worked beyond his school resource responsibilities. He’s a leader that leads by not only example but by integrity. He’s reliable and he’s always someone you can lean on.”

“I know about the challenges you all face,” Post Commander James Clifton said.

“To everyone that’s a family member of a police officer, we also want to thank you for your support.”

“This week we’re celebrating the dead. Those that died in the line of duty,” Opp Police Chief Michael McDonald said.

“In 2017, we had 135 officers die. This year to date, we’ve had 53 officers die in the line of duty with 30 that died in the result of homicide. We are also recognizing the living for their dedication,” McDonald said.