Two Lawrence Police Officers Receive Service Awards
Writer / Neal G. Moore
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 261 in Lawrence believes it is important to recognize the men and women who serve to protect us—and not just military personnel. Annually, the VFW names its selections for Lawrence Police Officers of the Year—one merit and one reserve. This year’s award recipients are LPD officers Tim Christie and Matthew Hickey.
During a meeting of the Police Merit Commission, the duo was cited for their exemplary public safety work. “I try not to make my selections for just a single act, but for officers that perform at the highest level throughout the entire year,” Police Chief Mike Walton explained during a low-key ceremony in the city hall council chamber.
Merit officer Christie was singled out for responding to more than a thousand police runs, including the arrests of 16 drunk drivers and 71 other suspects. Christie also serves as field training officer for new police recruits. Last year, Officer Christie chased and apprehended a man who had attempted to shoot police officers during a vehicle pursuit. Christie and other officers came under gunfire and were able to return fire, wounding the suspect without harm to others. Chief Walton noted that Officer Christie showed extreme bravery and good judgment during the life-threatening situation.
Reserve officer Hickey is a retired firefighter. Last year, he worked 835 volunteer hours—well above the required 384. Officer Hickey also more than doubled his required training hours. Hickey’s service included 287 calls for assistance from citizens, processing 55 crime victim reports, and the arrests of 153 traffic violators. In announcing the award, Chief Walton made special note of Officer Hickey’s attitude and sense of humor. “He is always making everyone around him smile,” Walton said.
Merit Commission chairman Rick Wilson expressed appreciation for Christie’s and Hickey’s work, and for all Lawrence police officers. “They do great work every single day, protecting and serving this community,” said Wilson.
On a related note, the commission moved forward the candidacies of 16 individuals for consideration as new police officers. Chief Walton anticipates four or five department openings in the next year.