Gaithersburg Police Announce 2012 Officer and Supervisors of the Year
The Gaithersburg Police Department is proud to announce the 2012 Officer of the Year and the Supervisors of the Year. Two supervisors were selected from amongst the three bureaus because they both exemplify the true meaning of a supervisor and each had a positive impact on the entire department in spite of having different job functions and responsibilities.
On January 22, 2013, after a comprehensive review of the supervisory nominations submitted to the command staff, Officer Gregg Johannesen was unanimously selected as the 2012 “Officer of the Year” for his outstanding work ethic and dependability. He led the department in both citizen contacts and traffic enforcement for 2012, issuing 1,299 citations, 889 warnings and making 78 DUI arrests. Additionally, Officer Johannesen handled 599 primary calls for service and wrote 194 reports. In the area of criminal enforcement, Officer Johannesen made 65 adult arrests, five juvenile arrests, issued 26 criminal citations and wrote seven arrest warrants.
He was recognized as the Officer of the Month for May, June, July and November, 2012. In addition to his patrol accomplishments, Officer Johannesen worked with the Street Crimes Unit on the Lakeforest Mall Initiative to reduce retail thefts, is a member of the Gaithersburg Police Department Honor Guard, won the Chief’s Pistol Award competition, and was recently selected as a Department Firearms Instructor. “Officer Johannesen has accomplished this with a great attitude as a team player, and always assists the officers on his shift,” said Chief Mark P. Sroka.
Sergeants Shawn Eastman (Special Operations Bureau) and Chris Vance (Operations Bureau) were selected by their peers as 2012 “Supervisors of the Year.” Sergeant Eastman led the Gaithersburg Police Street Crimes Unit (SCU) by example. He is the constant front runner in arrests and he holds each individual in SCU accountable to excel to the best of their capabilities. His supervisory methods have fostered a positive work environment, which in turn made SCU a successful and highly motivated unit. In 2010, when he took over the supervisory role, he refocused the mission of the unit on the handling of felonies and Part I offenses. As a result, SCU has increased felony and Part I offense arrests by more than 100% to date, making a total of 130 arrests this year. During 2012, SCU started working more closely with patrol to have them follow through with search warrants on leads they developed, creating a stronger working relationship between the bureaus while sharing knowledge and experience.
In addition to Sergeant Eastman’s supervisory role he is also responsible for numerous collateral duties including being an active member of the department’s Use of Force Review Committee, serving as one of the department’s firearms and general instructors, and actively participating in the Montgomery County Police Intern Program as an instructor of Law Enforcement-related classes. Since 2006, Sergeant Eastman has also been responsible for the management and coordination of the hiring process. In 2012 there were over 630 police officer candidate applicants, of which 49 were assigned background investigations that were handled by at least ten individual officers, leading to the hiring of seven new officers. Sergeant Eastman supervised all of these while continuing to oversee the day to day activities of the unit. He has played an instrumental role in the department’s hiring process throughout the years.
“The mentoring and hands on experience provided by Sergeant Eastman has been exemplary and worth recognition. He is a true leader with a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, unquestionable dedication to his unit and the department and is well respected by not only his peers at GPD but also by peers from allied agencies. Sergeant Eastman is a pillar of professionalism and an asset to the Gaithersburg Police Department," said Chief Sroka.
Sergeant Chris Vance has used his impressive background in police training, formal education, and his commitment to the department’s personnel to advance the professionalism of the officers of the Gaithersburg Police Department. He has been one of the lead sergeants in the department’s Field Training Program and his weekly reports on trainees have set the standard for other sergeants. He has used experiences on his shift to lead all sergeants in developing a Supervisor Mentoring Program. Sergeant Vance was one of two lead instructors who developed and implemented a reality based training program that was used at the Frederick City Outdoor Range. All officers in attendance expressed their enthusiasm for this training evolution and suggested that it be continued in future training sessions.
Sergeant Vance has undertaken several responsibilities within the department, including Taser Instructor, Lead Use of Force Committee member, organizing training for supervisors, and most importantly, the Shift 3 Sergeant. In each of these positions he demonstrates a strong desire to make every officer better. He is committed to the Taser program and has put in numerous hours to improve and make the program successful by putting together scenarios, ordering equipment, maintaining officer training files and developing lesson plans. He accomplished this while training two new instructors.
“He is a wealth of knowledge and experience. Instead of just giving an answer to a question, he will take the time to explain the answer. No matter what he is working on, he will stop what he is doing to listen. Sergeant Vance is dedicated and is an unselfish individual who is viewed with respect, admiration and is a true leader in life and within this department. The passion he shows for the law enforcement profession is well recognized and contagious,” said Chief Sroka.