Kudos, Josh Hodge: CPD Officer of Year

Posted 8/12/17

When crime-scene investigations go wrong, or emergency-response teams fall short of the public’s expectations, fingers of blame often point to law enforcement officers.

However, when the …

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Kudos, Josh Hodge: CPD Officer of Year

Posted

When crime-scene investigations go wrong, or emergency-response teams fall short of the public’s expectations, fingers of blame often point to law enforcement officers.

However, when the professional conduct, and unparalleled courage, of these same law enforcement responders defuses potentially lethal circumstances, or when their actions save lives, it is the same public that too often forgets to show appreciation with words as simple as, “Thank you.”

In our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown, the latter is not the norm. True, our brave men and women in blue — whether they serve within the ranks of the Cleveland Police Department, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office or Charleston Police Department — don’t always get the kind of recognition they deserve; at least, from the general public.

But to their credit, leaders within each of these local departments take every opportunity — and whatever time required — to reward the kind of professionalism, and the compassion, necessary to serve in law enforcement roles.

The latest example came recently when the Cleveland Police Department and Chief of Police Mark Gibson assembled their elite and their families, as well as a few special guests, for the agency’s annual awards luncheon.

Held in the packed banquet hall of the Museum Center at Five Points, the gathering’s mission was a heartfelt one — the honoring of excellence by those who wear the badge of honor.

Of the many awards presented by Gibson — who this newspaper credits with boosting the public image of the CPD over the past two years — the cream-of-the-crop recognition went to Josh Hodge, who was named 2017 Officer of the Year.

Although our initial coverage of the awards banquet — published in the Sunday, Aug. 6, edition — incorrectly reported officer Don Nation as the recipient, it was Hodge who earned this prestigious recognition. Nation did, in fact, receive the Chief’s Achievement Award, as well as a slew of additional honors.

We at the Cleveland Daily Banner corrected our oversight in the Aug. 7 edition with a front-page story which included the reprinting of two photographs of the two primary award recipients. Likewise, we have offered our apologies to Hodge, Nation, the police chief and the entire department.

The fault behind these errors was ours, and ours alone. Such circumstance sometimes haunts the print media, as well as our brethren in broadcast and digital. Even when we try to do good, we sometimes do bad.

But our shortcomings should not detract from the prestige of Hodge’s award, as well as those of Nation and the full collective of CPD recognitions.

All were hard-earned. Each was warmly deserved.

Gibson, who understands quality law enforcement because his own conduct epitomizes the trait, said it best of Hodge when he pointed to the award recipient, “He consistently carries out the mission of the Cleveland Police Department with the right balance of tactics and compassion.”

A decorated former U.S. Marine, Hodge earned the added praise of his police chief who spoke of the 2 1/2-year officer’s “... work ethic, faith and integrity.”

Sgt. Evie West, CPD public information officer, said of Hodge, “He is honest, has a good attitude and treats everyone with respect.” Likewise, she offered, Hodge is a protector of those in this community who need help, while he is equally passionate about putting behind bars those who belong there.

We salute Hodge and the many among the CPD force who were honored on this day — whether for community service, conduct, safety, education, military service, life-saving, meritorious service or letters of commendation.

Gibson, and our entire community, are justified in feeling a deep sense of pride in the Cleveland Police Department.

Officer of the Year Josh Hodge is one such justification.

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