Ptl. Willbanks selected as Officer of the Year

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ptl. Erik Willbanks was recently named Trumann Police Officer of the Year.

This officer of the year award is just one of many changes the Trumann Police Department has seen since the appointment of Larry Blagg as the new Chief of Police.

This has included the formation of a Police Booster's Association and the VIPER Squad.

This year marked the first time in the history of the Trumann Police Department that an Officer of the Year has been named.

All full time employees of the department voted to name their Trumann Police Department Officer of the Year for 2005.

Chief Blagg said the areas he asked employees to look at was general knowledge of law enforcement, public relations skills, arrests and contacts made and ability to work well with other employees.

Chief Blagg announced Ptl. Willbanks as the officer of the year at the department's Christmas party this past weekend, where he presented Willbanks with a plaque.

"It was a very close race, there were several ties," said Chief Blagg. "Erik received only one more vote than several other officer's."

Chief Blagg said he was glad it was a situation where all employees voted for the honor.

"It would have been hard for me to pick," Chief Blagg said. "There were several officer's that deserved it."

Ptl. Willbanks has been with the department for approximately one year. He is a lifetime resident of Trumann and a 1997 graduate of Trumann High School. He and his wife, Chellie, make their home in Trumann. Chellie, who is from Harrisburg, is a second grade teacher at Cedar Park Elementary in Trumann.

Ptl. Willbanks works the third shift at the department and is a member of the VIPER Squad.

"I am very appreciative the department chose me," said Ptl. Willbanks. "TPD is a great place to work because supervising officers help keep us motivated and excited to do our jobs."

"I really enjoy working with all my co-workers," he said. "I am really grateful Chief Blagg gave me shot here at the department."

Chief Blagg said Ptl. Willbanks has been eager and willing to learn about law enforcement.

"I have always wanted to be a police officer," said Ptl. Willbanks. "I hope to work and retire from this department."

Chief Blagg said he is very proud of all Ptl. Willbanks has accomplished during his time at the department and even more proud that he is a Trumann native.

"I am really looking for all new hires to be from Trumann if possible," said Chief Blagg. "If someone is a native of Trumann and lives here, I believe they will treat the residents with more respect and care because they are their neighbors, friends and family."

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