BELPRE - Belpre city officials and council honored officers with the city police department and Washington County Sheriff's Office as well as a dispatcher and pharmacist on Monday for their part in the arrest of three Tennessee residents earlier this month.
Mayor Mike Lorentz, Police Chief Ernie Clevenger and Washington County Deputy Sheriff Mark Warden gave certificates of recognition to Belpre officers Sgt. Joseph Field, Sgt. Michael Stump, Patrolman Eric Augustein, Patrolman Garry Freed, reserve officer William Wilson and dispatcher Rebecca Davis as well as Washington County Sheriffs deputies Scott Mankins, Cody Huffer and Jeremiah McConnell.
Kroger pharmacist Peter Senchyshak was also thanked for his part in the case. Washington County Sheriff's Detective Kevin Hornbeck was not present at Monday's Belpre City Council meeting.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Officers from the Belpre Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office were recognized during the Belpre City Council meeting Monday for their work leading to the arrest of three Memphis, Tenn., residents earlier this month for alleged filling fake prescriptions. Deputy Sheriff Mark Warden, Belpre Police Chief Ernie Clevenger and Mayor Mike Lorentz presented commendations to Belpre police: Sgt. Joseph Field, Sgt. Michael Stump, Patrolman Eric Augustein, Patrolman Garry Freed, reserve officer William Wilson and dispatcher Rebecca Davis as well as Washington County Sheriffs deputies Scott Mankins, Cody Huffer, and Jeremiah McConnell. Kroger pharmacist Peter Senchyshak was also thanked for his part in the event.
Mankins was awarded the Mayor's Medal for his work.
They all were honored for their efforts in the Sept. 8 arrests of Mario L. Reed, 28, of 2851 Montague St., Memphis, Tenn., Nickolas Q. Pruitt, 29, of 2821 Redbud Circle, Memphis, and Felicia A. Bryant, 34, of 1100 Marechalneil St., Memphis, for a total of 26 felony counts including illegal processing of drug documents, possession and complicity.
Because they were dealing with multiple suspects who were targeting multiple locations, the Belpre Police Department called in the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Major Crimes Task Force to assist.
"What really amazes me about this whole thing is the cooperation we have," Lorentz said. "A phone call from the pharmacy to the officers and this is how it works right here."
Warden accepted the Chief's Citation on behalf of Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks who was not able to attend.
"Mincks has tirelessly performed his duties and assisted and coordinated resources for the betterment for the city and county," Clevenger said. "This is a great example that the cooperation between the departments is going well - these three people were wanted from Memphis all the way to Virginia and we were able to get them because of the great work between the departments."
In other business at Monday's council meeting, Lorentz and his wife Joyce were honored by the city - police department and council - for their dedication to the city and its residents.
Councilman Larry Martin presented the couple with certificates thanking them for their hard work in the aftermath of the June storms.
"As the electric had gone out, the city of Belpre was left to fend for itself as all other cities in the area were facing the same problems," Martin said. "Without hesitation the mayor and his wife went above and beyond their duties."
Both Mike and Joyce Lorentz helped find fuel, food and cooked meals for citizens while working 18 and 24-hour shifts at the makeshift shelter to ensure everyone was taken care of.
"This is just what we know what to do," said Joyce Lorentz.
Council voted to bypass its rules and passed all three readings of an ordinance regarding residency of city police officers to include Wood County, W.Va.
Councilmembers approved the change during a Police and Fire Committee meeting in August.
"I know a lot of times we fast track stuff that we don't always agree with" said Councilman Eric Sinnett. "Being two police officers short, I think it is necessary this time."
Safety-Service Director Dave Ferguson said the change is necessary because there are a limited number of officers in the area who have applied for the two positions and by changing the ordinance the city would have a better chance of hiring more experienced officers.
Clevenger said that with two new officers, Belpre will have nine, which will allow for three shifts with three officers on duty.