The Tooele City Police Department held its annual awards banquet Thursday night at Tooele Technology College, with those in, and around, the department receiving commendations.
Following dinner and a video of highlight moments throughout the year, Tooele City Police Chief Ron Kirby acknowledged the inherent difficulty in recognizing all of those who deserve it.
“There’s no possible way to recognize each member of the department for the good things that you do,” Kirby said. “Recognizing that often things that each of you do happen in the middle of the night when everyone is home, in bed, sleeping.”
Before going into the primary awards, Kirby read a number of appreciation posts from citizens to the department. They ranged from making a child’s day by saying hello to assisting the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Some of the finest moments of the department are known only to those members of the department who are there and the citizens they help,” he said.
The department’s awards are chosen by a committee from submitted nominations.
The awards kicked off with the Award of Excellence, given to Kami Perkins, the city’s human resources director and treasurer. Kirby lauded Perkins work to keep the department’s salary and benefits competitive for officer hiring and retention.
“Honestly, she did work that I didn’t think was gonna happen,” Kirby said.
He also added thanks to Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn and the Tooele City Council for increasing the department’s budget.
Two Medals of Valor were awarded to officers Jake Stallings and Casey Bronson for their involvement in the apprehension of a domestic violence suspect last October. Prior to the arrest, the suspect, Christopher Michael Ono, 27, of Tooele, pointed a pistol at an officer, who fired back, prompting his surrender.
“It wasn’t until I saw the body camera that I really, fully appreciated what these officers did,” Kirby said. “… It was amazing.”
Bronson also received the Chief’s Award, which is selected by Kirby independent of the awards committee. Kirby said Bronson was recognized with the Chief’s Award for his ongoing contributions to the department and outstanding service above expectation.
Winn spoke following the presentation of the Chief’s Award, thanking everyone who contributes to the police department, from crossing guards to sworn officers.
“So I think a little bit about how I can thank you and standing up here and saying thank you is not enough,” she said. “It’s not enough. So we’re going to build you a police station, if it kills us.”
The mayor also provided an update on construction of the new $9 million police station, which is being constructed on Garden Street behind Tooele City Hall. She said the paperwork on the low-interest loan for the project will be signed in April and the property is cleared for construction.
“I’m hoping by this time next year that you are in your building,” Winn said.
The final award of the evening, presented by Winn, was a surprise to Kirby — an award recognizing his 20 years of service to the department.
“I want to thank you for your service,” Winn said. “You have made this department what it is.”
Including 20 years with the Tooele City Police Department, Kirby has served a total of 38 years in law enforcement.