Optimist Club of Downtown Flint announces ‘Officer of the Year’ awardees

MUNDY TWP. — Seven area police officers, a Michigan National Guardsman, and a Flint City Police K9 unit member will be recognized by the Optimist Club of Downtown Flint at the annual “Respect for Law” ceremony and luncheon, at noon on Tuesday, April 17 at the Genesee Career Institute Conference Center, 5081 Torrey Road.

The event honors deserving officers who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, achievement, and genuine commitment to their profession and the citizens they serve. Sonitrol Great Lakes has been sponsoring the event for the past 10 years.

The Optimist Club of Downtown Flint congratulates each of this year’s honorees:

Officer Kyle Brandon – Flint Township Police Department

Trooper Denis McGuckin – Michigan State Police, Flint Post

Sgt. 1st Class Lucas Catterfeld – Michigan National Guard

Captain Casey Tafoya – Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Lt. Jeff Neville – Bishop International Airport Authority

Officers John Boismier, Larissa Fuester, James Wheeler – City of Flint Police Department

K9 Officer Edo – City of Flint Police Department

The club also will be honoring Taeler Smith, a second year Forensic Science student at Genesee Career Institute, as its Student of the Year.

Officer Brandon, Trooper McGuckin, Capt. Tafoya, and Sgt. 1st Class Catterfeld are being honored for their courage and lifesaving teamwork in rescuing a car crash victim from his burning vehicle last December at Linden and Miller Road.

Lt. Neville, a police officer at Bishop International Airport, together with fellow officers and airport personnel, subdued a knife-wielding attacker last June in the airport terminal. The attacker, later charged with terrorism, stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck. Despite his life-threatening injury, Lt. Neville continued to fight the attacker to prevent harm to others nearby.

Flint Police Officers Boismier and Fuester are being recognized for their professionalism, tact, and quick thinking in preventing a potential suicide involving a teenage girl last March.

Officer Wheeler is being credited with peacefully resolving a potentially dangerous standoff last July, through his pastoral experience, that saved the life of a suicidal individual.

K9 Officer Edo, a German Shepherd certified in human tracking and evidence detection, successfully located a lost twoyear old boy from Genesee Township on a chilly November evening, who was missing for 2-1/2 hours.

“In these times so challenging and ever so dangerous for law enforcement and other first responders, it’s important to pause and salute the men and women who fearlessly serve our communities and citizens,” said Sonitrol Great Lakes President Mike Wanstreet. “That’s what this event is all about.”

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