By Charlotte Caldwell
SIDNEY – Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye presented the Deputy of the Year, Corrections Officer of the Year and Dispatcher of the Year awards for the second time at the Shelby County Annex on April 4.
“This is not an award that we give out that was picked by the administration. Each one of you have been picked by your peers and the people that you work with and that is a testament to your dedication to the office of the Sheriff,” Frye said before handing out the awards. The Deputy and Corrections Officer of the Year were also given awards for a quarter of the year previously.
Chris VanMeter received the Deputy of the Year award. He is on his second stint working in law enforcement in Shelby County and he has been in law enforcement for 17 years. VanMeter was the deputy who found Logan Heath when his truck went off the road into a cornfield in October by noticing new tire tracks in the road.
Tina Lay received the Corrections Officer of the Year award. She has worked in law enforcement in Shelby County for 28 years and helps with the DARE program.
Danielle Steinke received the Dispatcher of the Year award. She has been working as a dispatcher for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for 15 months. She also works for the Mad River Township Fire and EMS Department in Clark County and has worked in the EMS field for 19 years.
All of the recipients were surprised after receiving the awards and stated they were nervous to come to the annex as the purpose of the meeting was kept purposefully vague to make it a surprise.
“I am very proud of those employees that work at the Sheriff’s office. They go above and beyond. Dispatchers handle every call that comes into this office and most generally the public will never put a face with a voice. Our corrections officers deal with many issues, from people spitting on them, throwing feces and dealing with some of the worst people in our society. Of course, our deputies are on the front line day in and day out,” Frye said.
Frye also presented a plaque to Shelby County Commissioners Julie Ehemann and Tony Bornhorst in attendance to thank them for their support of the Sheriff’s office, specifically citing the $281,000 body camera project and the projects in the jail the commissioners have approved.
“The ceremony was very fitting for today. We are recognizing April as County Government Month. Each individual present is representative of the commitment and service that county government provides to the community,” Ehemann said. “I am very thankful for our law enforcement community and the dedicated work that is done by them every day.”
“Most county residents never see/interact with a dispatcher until it is an emergency. Most county residents never meet/interact with a corrections officer. Most county residents probably avoid a deputy as they are on the roads until they need their help. Unsung workers that do their job for the betterment of our Shelby County community,” Bornhorst said.