Police Awards and Commendations

05/03/2017 by Manager


Each year the West Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors recognizes members of our police department and/or citizens in our community for actions that they had taken during the previous year that are believed to have been above what is expected of them and in some instances, have helped save or prolong a life of another individual.  At the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 2, 2017, they recognized one citizen and three officers for their actions that saved the life of another township resident.  Also recognized were two officers who had perfect attendance in 2016.  Lastly, they recognized a service organization, a local business, and a high school student honor society for their support of our police department by way of making monetary donations for equipment and the funding of community outreach programs. 

Prior to the awards ceremony, the Board recognized 11 officers who were involved in saving the lives of six individuals who overdosed on drugs and had to be administered “Naloxone.”  All individuals survived because of the officers’ quick action as well as the fact that they were in possession of Naloxone.  Officers recognized were; Officer Richard Bowermaster, Corporal Ryan Draper, Officer Karl Hartranft, Officer Bart Hollis, Officer Ryan McKernan, Officer Michael Murray, Corporal Douglas Ober, Officer Bradley Rohrbaugh, Officer John Schwab, Officer Robert Small, and Officer Thomas Ziegler.

The Board also mentioned that in March, Corporal Doug Ober received the Susquehanna Regional Police Department’s Meritorious Conduct Award from Chief Edward Haugh for his actions earlier in the year at a suicidal person incident.  Corporal Ober would you please stand and be recognized.

The first award presented during the ceremony was the West Hempfield Township Police Department’s Life Saving Award. This award recognizes three officers and a resident of the Township.  They are Sgt Timothy Coyle, Officers Richard Bowermaster and Bradley Rohrbaugh, and Mr. Steven Henry.  Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts none of the award recipients were present at the ceremony.  However, the Board still acknowledge their actions. 

On April 4, 2016 at approximately 9:40 pm, officers were dispatched to a residence on Hemlock Drive to assist Emergency Medical Services with a report cardiac arrest.  Sgt Coyle & Officer Rohrbaugh were first to arrive on the scene and found the victim unconscious and unresponsive.  Officers immediately began lifesaving measures, which included CPR and the activation of an AED.  Officer Bowermaster and a civilian, Steven Henry, a neighbor, assisted the first arriving officers and continued all measures until EMS personnel arrived on the scene.  The victim’s heart rhythm and breathing were restored and he was transported to a medical facility where he was admitted for treatment and eventually released.

The next award presented was the West Hempfield Township Police Department’s Perfect Attendance Award, which will be presented to Sergeant Christopher W. Kunkle and Officer John J. Schwab.

The Perfect Attendance Award is awarded to an officer who takes no time off during a specific calendar year for injury or illness.  Additionally, the officer is required to have reported for his/her scheduled shifts on time and prepared for duty. 

For their perfect attendance record in 2016, Sergeant Christopher W. Kunkle and Officer John J. Schwab are hereby awarded the West Hempfield Township Police Department’s Perfect Attendance Award. 

Also awarded was the West Hempfield Township Police Department’s Certificate of Appreciation, which was presented to the Paul Revere Leber Post #372 of the American Legion, Buckeye Corrugated, Inc. All-Size Division, and the National Honor Society of the Dayspring Christian Academy.

The Certificate of Appreciation is awarded to citizens, Organizations or businesses that distinguish themselves through the accomplishment of an extraordinary act or service to the Department or to the community.

Each of these organizations made significant contributions to the West Hempfield Township Police Department, which enabled the Department to purchase equipment, training supplies, community outreach & educational supplies, and first aid equipment/supplies to augment the department’s current first aid supplies.  All of this equipment or supplies is above and beyond what the department was able to budget  in its 2017 expenditures.  There is no doubt that the officers and the community will benefit from these contributions.

Accepting the certificates for BCI All-Size was Ms. Pam Snader, and for Dayspring NHS was Mrs. Donna Hurley.

The final award presented was the 2016 Officer of the Year.

Officer of the Year is awarded to an officer who distinguished him/herself through either an accumulation of exceptional contributions or a single incident, and whose actions clearly place the individual well above others of equal rank or grade. Areas of recognition include, but are not limited to: extraordinary valor, positive community impact, administrative accomplishments, crime prevention, training programs, traffic safety and innovative approaches to public service. This individual shall have truly represented the department in a favorable light, having reflected the vision and mission statements in his/her daily actions.

The 2016 Officer of the Year is Sergeant Christopher W. Kunkle.

Sergeant Christopher Kunkle has been a member of the West Hempfield Township Police Department October of 1996.  Sgt Kunkle is a 1996 graduate of Millersville University with a BA in Sociology/Criminal Justice and where he played on the University’s Division II baseball team for 4 years.  Immediately following his graduation from college, he attended the Reading Police Academy and graduated in October of 1996.  Sgt Kunkle was assigned to Patrol Division until 2002 when he was promoted to the rank of Detective and assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division.  From January 2012 until August 2016, he was temporarily assigned as a county detective with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.  In August of 2016, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and became the Criminal Investigation Division supervisor.

Sgt Kunkle has a strong work ethic and goes out of his way, not only assist officers from our department but he will do the same for any officer from any agency.

The Board also acknowledged that Sgt Kunkle, along with first responders from across the county were recognized by the Lancaster Barnstormers at their Monday evening’s game.