HUNTERSVILLE – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce recognized the outstanding public safety officers from the area police, fire and rescue teams at an Oct. 14 luncheon at NorthStone Country Club.
Chamber President Bill Russell led the ceremony and presented the awards. “While every officer in our region demonstrates daily the dedication they have to their task, our area chiefs have selected one individual who best represents their respective organization,” Russell said.
The chamber congratulated the following officers:
• Officer Patrick Maldarelli, Cornelius Police Department: Maldarelli has been with the Cornelius department for 1 1/2 years and was recognized for taking initiative. On May 18, Maldarelli’s persistence in questioning in one case led to the resolution of several other crimes involving thousands of dollars in stolen property.
• Detective Stephen Ingram, Davidson Police Department: Ingram was recognized for his determination to seek justice for victims. In 2005, Ingram investigated a case in which a Davidson resident disappeared and later was found dead. His community connections and personal drive eventually helped convict two men.
• Detective Jennifer Sprague, Huntersville Police Department: Sprague, hired as a police officer in 2002 and promoted to detective two years later, was recognized for her work with sensitive cases. Since January, Sprague has worked on 24 sexual assault cases, four assaults, six child abuse cases and two missing-person cases. Her superiors commended Sprague for her dedication, professionalism and success.
• Sgt. Laura Vanzant, Davidson College Police Department: Vanzant was recognized again this year as Davidson College’s outstanding officer. She began her law-enforcement career with the Cornelius Police Department in November 1999. As the first female sergeant at Davidson College, Vanzant has assumed multiple responsibilities for her department.
• Capt. Jim Pace, Cornelius-Lemley Fire and Rescue: Pace, a member of the department since 2001, was commended as a solid performer and strong role model for younger members of the department. Pace, who gave up his own time to take classes to make him a better responder, was part of team that responded for about 30 percent of the 2,400 emergency calls the department received this year.
• Capt. Josh Peklo, Davidson Fire Department: Peklo was recognized for his dedication to serving the public. In addition to pulling six overnight shifts each month, Peklo responds to emergency calls from home and work when he is available. He played a big part in developing a volunteer shift that greatly improved Davidson’s level of service.
• Garrett Logan, Gilead Fire and Rescue: Logan, a full-time student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was recognized for his enthusiasm and commitment. Logan will complete his degree in fire safety engineering next May. Since he joined the department in 2006, Logan has earned at least five certifications related to fire safety.
• Eddie Hutto, Huntersville Fire Department: Hutto, who joined the Huntersville Fire Department in 2007, was recognized for his dedication to the town. “He is one of the most dedicated firefighters I have seen, and he truly loves the job. I am proud to see young people who are active and involved in the community in which they live,” Chief Larry Irvin wrote.
• William Cochran, North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad: Cochran, a member of the department for four years, has risen to the position of assistant chief and plays an important part in training officers.
Wachovia, Central Piedmont Community College’s North Campus, the Herald Weekly and North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers sponsored the luncheon.