Gabriel Martin was recognized as the Citizen of the Year at the Albany City Commission meeting on Tuesday night. (Submitted photo)
ALBANY — While Albany’s city commissioners were conducting business at their most recent meeting, some time was taken to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the city’s residents.
At the Albany City Commission meeting on Tuesday night, awards were presented as nominated by Albany Police Department officials for Officer of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Civilians of the Year for 2013.
Sgt. Kawaski Barnes, an investigator with the APD Family Protection Unit, was recognized as the top officer of the year. A nomination letter submitted in December notes his 90-100 percent caseload clearance rate, his involvement with Project Lifesaver and the institution of a mandated reporter training program for child abuse as the reasons for the nomination — as well as his involvement in various community events such as the APD’s annual Thanksgiving meal and the Gospel Explosion event held in May of last year.
“I strongly recommend Kawaski be honored for not only organizing such events during the year, but also for his consistent dedication and commitment to the Albany Police Department and the citizens of Albany,” stated the letter, written by Sgt. C. Hawkins. “He also has demonstrated what can be accomplished through hard work and teamwork. His commitment forges a stronger relationship within the community and attributes to the positive image of the Albany Police Department and the success of law enforcement abroad.”
The 2013 Citizen of the Year Award went to Gabriel Martin, pastor at the Kingdom of God Ministries in Arlington, for her involvement with the APD Family Protection Unit. A letter recommending her for the honor, submitted by Barnes, said that her most notable contribution as been the annual Thanksgiving dinner — providing food and drinks for over 900 citizens and coordinating volunteers at the most recent event.
“Pastor Gabriel Martin has embraced and adopted the vision of working tirelessly to improve the relationship between the Albany Police Department and the citizens of this great community,” Barnes wrote in the letter. “She has proven herself to be a model citizens and become a part of the Albany Police Department Family Protection Unit family. It is for these reasons that we recommend Pastor Gabriel Martin for Citizen of the Year.”
Maj. Russell Barnes from the APD made two nominations for the Civilian of the Year Award, resulting in two awards being presented for this honor on Tuesday evening. They went to Sonya Johnson, the department’s planning/research and accreditation manager, and W. David Sparks, crime analyst with the APD.
In the nomination letter, the department’s recent accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in November was noted as a reason for them both being recommended for the honor.
“We had 36 months from our application date to become accredited. We did it in only 18,” the letter read. “We are one of only 33 out of over 200 municipal police departments in the State of Georgia to have achieved that recognition. The improved efficiency thus created within the APD enhances the quality of our community through police services and the Albany Police Department’s public image.”