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Annual awards recognize police officers' service
By Brian Beckley
The Bonney Lake Police Department honored its own last week, handing out awards for the officer, service officer and reserve officer of the year during the department's annual dinner.
Kelly Maras was awarded officer of the year, while Louise Emry received her third service officer of the year nod and rookie Scott Pries garnered the recognition in his first year as a reserve officer.
“Everybody is officer of the year,” Interim Chief Arthur “Buster” McGehee said.
The awards were based on votes by members of the department. The chief said all three of the recognized officers made an impact this year.
“Kelly was nominated because he is dependable, hard-working and developed a team atmosphere on the graveyard shift,” McGehee said.
McGehee said Maras, a 10-year veteran, has “really been doing some proactive police work on the night shift” and not only leads by example, but also sets a standard everyone should try to attain.
Emry was recognized this year because she “never complains” and is always eager to look out for the rest of her unit and help with scheduling conflicts.
McGehee said Pries was a quick learner who finished at the top of his reserve academy class.
“Everybody is real pleased with him,” he said. “He's a real welcome addition to the reserve force.”
Officers also were recognized for their service during the dinner. This marks the 10th year for Maras and Ken McDonnough, the 25th for Lt. Tom Jenkins and the 30th for Rose Kessner.
McGehee also took a moment to reflect on his first year at the helm of the Bonney Lake Police Department. McGehee was hired on an interim basis after former chief Bryan Jeter left for a position in Puyallup last December.
“We got a lot accomplished,” McGehee said, adding that the force accepted him and stayed focused throughout the year.
“It's been an interesting year. It's been fun, it's been challenging,” he said.
McGehee said there was a lot of activity this year and some of the big stories that stick in his mind were the discovery of two children tied to a water heater in a Bonney Lake home, the arrest of a murder suspect who fled to the Cedarview neighborhood and an increase in car thefts over the summer.
He also said he was pleased the department's record system is now up to date. According to McGehee, records were about eight months behind when he was hired.
Next year, the chief said he wants to try and focus more on traffic enforcement in neighborhoods, a point of concern for many residents.
“I want the officers to find every nook and cranny in this town,” he said.
Though his future with the city is uncertain, McGehee said he is proud of his staff and the service they provide.
“I learned that Bonney Lake has a really good police department,” he said. “There's some dedicated officers that work here.”
Brian Beckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.