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APD Recognizes Outstanding Service to Apopka


Chief Michael McKinley and Rookie of the Year Officer John Giarratana

On June 6th, 2015, Sergeant Brett Webster responded to a report of a suspicious person. Webster arrived to find a subject in front of a building. He lost sight of him when the subject walked behind a parked van. Webster attempted to make contact with the subject, but found he had armed himself with a large Samurai sword. The subject demanded to speak with the chief of police and approached Webster. Webster immediately created distance with the subject, drew his weapon and ordered the subject to drop his weapon. After repeated orders, the subject dropped the sword and surrendered.

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In 2015, 129 police officers died in the line of duty. Their average age was 40 years old. The Apopka Police Department (APD) suffered no fatalities in 2015, but this harsh reality stares every officer in the face every day that they are on the job.

On Friday evening, the APD came together to honor those who provided outstanding service to our community at the 2015 APD Annual Awards Program. The event was held at the Apopka Community Center on Central Avenue. 4-Rivers Barbecue catered the event.

Pastor Freddie Filmore of Freedom Ministries gave the Invocation, The Apopka Police Honor Guard performed the Posting of the Colors and Sergeant Steve Harmon led the Pledge of Allegiance. Police Chief Michael McKinley gave an introduction, and Mayor Joe Kilsheimer also offered opening remarks.

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Officers Jason Wiggins and Jason Berry

On August 8th, 2015 Wiggins and Berry responded to a call at a local bar in Apopka. A caller had advised that a woman was drinking in the establishment, while leaving her two toddlers unsupervised outside in a vehicle. Wiggins and Berry arrived and made contact with the mother. The woman denied the accusations and was obviously impaired. Wiggins and Berry conducted an investigation and determined that the allegations were in fact true and arrested her for Child Neglect. The father of the children was out of state, so Wiggins and Berry located local family members to take custody of the children to avoid them being further traumatized. It was discovered during the investigation that the mother had an interlock device on her vehicle due to her alcoholism and the children knew how to disable the device by blowing into it.

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Chief McKinley and The APD handed out over 100 awards in over 20 categories. Here are the Employees of the Year, Medals and High Honors given out:

Communications Technician of the Year - Haley Lovell

Civilian of the Year - Holly Roell

Rookie of the Year - Officer John Giarratana

Officer of the Year - Officer Ashley Sullivan

Supervisor of the Year - Sergeant Ed Chittenden

Distinguished Service - Sergeant Brett Webster and Detective Steve Landry

Life Saving - Officer Barry Brown

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Officer Amber Lovelace

On October 14th, 2015 Amber Lovelace responded to what was reported to be a pair of missing and endangered adults. The adults had both been diagnosed as being in the late stages of dementia. The pair had left that afternoon at around 2pm in an older model black and grey Chevrolet Caprice and had not been heard from since. Lovelace conducted the initial investigation and issued a statewide Silver Alert. At about 8 pm, Lovelace was returning to her home after an extended shift due to this investigation. While in route to her home, she saw a vehicle matching the missing persons in the parking lot of the Market of Southside in Orlando. Lovelace confirmed that it was the vehicle used by the missing couple. A short time later, the missing adults returned to the vehicle. They were lost and disoriented, and were about to leave the area in a further attempt to return home. Lovelace was able to summon medical attention for the pair and have them returned safely to their home.

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Chief McKinley closed the ceremony by praising the entire Department;

"What we heard tonight was just a small portion of what the men and women of the Apopka Police Department do every day."


2015 Police Awards, Apopka Police Department, Chief Michael McKinley


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