On Thursday, September 14, the Plant City Police Department (PCPD) hosted a promotion and awards ceremony, attended by officers, their families and community leaders.
The promotions were necessary following Police Captain David Milllich’s retirement after 21 years of faithful service to the citizens of Plant City, which caused a ripple effect that allowed multiple officers to be promoted to more senior roles. As per tradition, Millich received one uniform, a “retired” PCPD badge, ID card and wallet and his service firearm.
During opening remarks, Captain Al Van Duyne, Commander of the Information Services Division, shared a quote by former Porsche CEO Peter Schultz: “Hire character. Train skill.”
Van Duyne said that while the quote aptly describes the formula used by PCPD, it also places value on experience and fostering growth among its personnel. “That experience and growth were characteristics evident among this evening’s promotees, as they prepare to now take on new and increasing levels of leadership positions within the police department,” said Van Duyne.
A total of four officers were promoted during the Sept. 14 ceremony.
Captain Michael Ward was sworn in as a PCPD officer in 2003. The former lieutenant will assume command of the Uniformed Patrol Division, the largest of the department’s three divisions.
Lieutenant of Uniform Patrol Justin Lee was sworn in as a PCPD officer in 2002. The former sergeant will assume the role of shift commander in the Uniformed Patrol Division.
Sergeant of Information Services Jason Fowler was sworn in as a PCPD officer in 2012. The former corporal will assume the role of sergeant of the Information Services Division.
Corporal of Uniform Patrol Richard Nave was sworn in as a PCPD officer in 2015. Nave has been assigned to supervise a squad within the Uniformed Patrol Division.
Several officers and one civilian employee were presented with awards for acts of heroism, bravery and going above and beyond their duties.
The Life Saving Award was presented to Officers DeeDee Gregory and Devin Wilson who, because of their courageous efforts, saved the life of a 48-year-old woman. On July 23, Gregory responded to a medical emergency where the woman wasn’t breathing. Gregory, the first to arrive on the scene, immediately checked for a pulse and breathing and, finding none, began to utilize her department-issued AED. Wilson arrived on the scene shortly after and assisted in lowering the woman from the bed to the floor, where Gregory began chest compressions until Plant City Fire Rescue (PCFR) arrived on scene and took over the woman’s medical care and transport her to South Florida Baptist Hospital. The woman was eventually released from the hospital and went home.
Chief James Bradford commended Gregory and Wilson. “Your actions quite obviously changed the trajectory of somebody’s life and the lives of their families,” he said. “You’ve done an act of service that went above and beyond.”
The Certificate of Employee Recognition award was presented to Sergeant Paul Tester, Corporal Christian Lopez and Digital Evidence Technician Brandon Volden. Tester and Volden were instrumental in procuring a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, the migration of files from the outdated CAD and facilitated and actively participated in the training of department personnel.
“Thank you for putting forth the effort with the CAD system,” said Bradford. “Your hard work will show exceptional benefits for years to come.”
In his closing remarks, he also congratulated the newly promoted officers. “Thank you for being willing to take the next step in your career, and we look forward to the guidance and support you’re going to provide,” he said. “We have faith in you.”