SIDNEY — Sidney Police Sgt. Ethan Brown has been named Sidney Police Department’s 2022 Officer of the Year. Also, Sgt. Tim Kennedy, who was shot in the line of duty in 2021, was presented with a purple heart.
Police Chief Will Balling presented Brown with the Officer of the Year honor in conjunction with Kennedy’s purple heart, as well as the handing out the Medal of Valor to Sidney Police Officers Brandon Heindl and Bobby Benshoff and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office’s Deputy Joel Howell.
The Medal of Valor is the highest award given for exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life, according the U.S. Department of Justice.
Beginning with Brown, Balling said he had been selected for the honor by a selection committee of his peers at the department that was comprised of a captain, a sergeant, and two officers. The nomination was based upon the following categories: job knowledge; dedication to duty/public service; self-motivation; cooperation and attitude; contributions to the good of the department or community; significant individual accomplishments involving criminal investigations, major arrest, actions taken at great personal risk or life-saving measures.
Brown started with the department on Nov. 30, 2015. During his time with the department, Balling said he has served as a patrol officer, drug detective and was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant.
Some of Brown’s special duties include: tactical team member, evidence technician, CIT certified and FETI trained interviewer.
Brown has also won the following awards or ribbons: Fitness Ribbon, Life Savings Ribbon, Military Service Ribbon, Expert Marksman Ribbon and the Elite Eight Award.
Balling shared that Brown received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green University, and is currently attending Liberty University for his master’s degree in business administration. In his spare time he is also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Aside from all of Brown’s above achievements, as well as his growth as an officer and his willingness to volunteer for extra details, Balling said what struck him most and caught his attention was the following in his nomination letter, “Sgt. Brown is always ready to work and in good spirits. He is a natural leader and will do anything to help another officer. He is also motivated to help improve the department. Sgt. Brown leads by example and goes above and beyond what is required of him. He has always shown that he is ready to volunteer and help out when needed. He displays our core values of compassion, courage, integrity and professionalism.”
Moving on to the other police awards, Balling said “special recognition may be in order whenever an employee performs their duties in an exemplary manner,” and after Heindl, Benshoff, Howell was nominated, he was proud and honored to present them with the Medal of Valor for their work during and after Kennedy was shot.
On Oct. 6, 2021, Kennedy and Heindl attempted to serve a warrant. The incident suspect, Brandon Steele, fled, fired at and shot Kennedy, and after an ensuing county-wide police manhunt and SWAT team standoff, was apprehended. Kennedy underwent emergency surgery at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton and was released six days later.
The nomination letter said, “Officer Heindl, Benshoff and Deputy Howell knowingly put themselves at risk to respond to the area of Sgt. Kennedy and rescue him. …”
Balling also presented Kennedy with the Purple Heart for his work during which he was seriously injured “but continued to fight.”
“I am proud to be part of the Sidney Police Department and work with our first responders in our department and all throughout the county,” Balling said. “During this incident several agencies assisted and many more reached out to see if they could help. While we are here to honor these four individuals, I agree with Sgt. Macke that all first responders and individuals that assisted during this incident should be commended.”
All were honored with with a standing ovation. Howell was unable to attend.
Kennedy expressed his gratitude for the out pouring of compassion he received after the incident.
Also Monday evening, Mayor Mardie Milligan proclaimed May 15, 2022 to be Peace Officer’s Memorial Day and May 11-17, 2022, to be Police Week in the city of Sidney at the top of the council meeting.