Local law enforcement honored Sunday evening | North of Vernon


Everything was cheerful and bright at the Law Enforcement Appreciation Christmas Party on Sunday December 19 at The Barn event in North Vernon.

The event was coordinated by the City of North Vernon and Al Davisson with the First Baptist Church to honor all law enforcement officers, EMS, dispatchers, department staff and their families.

The volunteers served drinks and a variety of appetizers to the guests before dinner was served. Throughout the dinner, names were drawn for prizes of $ 100.

Additionally, Mark Dove decided to host the ‘first snowball fight of the year’ which resulted in Dove throwing a styrofoam ball at random people while they ate and, if they were eating. grabbed it, they had to put their hands in a hat and pull out a gift card.

The shenanigans continued when all new officers from the city and county departments who attended the event were called in to sing Christmas carols, a department tradition. JCSO MPs Max Marcoux, Morgan Gabbard and Matt Miller as well as NVPD Officers Austin Grunden and Chris Knight, though a little reluctantly, took turns singing a few words from the classic “Jingle Bells”, their faces turning as red as Rudolph’s nose with time all was said and done.

At the end of the evening, Mayor Mike Ochs, Sheriff Kenny Freeman and Chief Keith Messer presented awards to outstanding staff.

Sheriff Freeman honored Jennings County Sheriff’s Office staff consisting of Matron Kim Lionhart, Deputy Matron Diana Gee and Administrative Assistant Chrystal Wilson as Employee of the Year.

“We wanted to recognize those who sometimes go unrecognized,” Sheriff Freeman said. “They are doing a good job.”

North Vernon Police Department officer Michael Holliday received the 2021 Officer of the Year award.

Chief Messer explained that he and Mayor Ochs did not want this year’s recipient to be chosen based on statistics, such as the number of traffic stops or arrests. Instead, they wanted to select an officer based on their positive attitude.

“Holliday is that officer everyone enjoys working with,” said Chief Messer. “He’s always positive. If you walk in and have a bad day, he’ll cheer you up.

Finally, Indiana State Police Officer Derrek Simpson was also recognized and honored for his service.

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