BERLIN – The Berlin Police Department honored several officers for outstanding service to the community during the past year.
Town officials praised the efforts of Berlin’s police force this week as Chief Arnold Downing shared news of various commendations the department awarded to its officers at the close of 2018.
“We can’t say thank you enough to those officers that step out there each and every day and protect and serve this community,” Downing said.
Gary Bratten was named the department’s “Officer of the Year” in recognition of the number of warnings, citations and arrests he handled in 2018. In one particularly noteworthy arrest, Bratten seized more than $5,000 and charged the subject with possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
“He also was noticed in the community,” Downing said. “We went ahead and moved him to the midnight shift and a week or two afterwards we had churches asking us ‘what happened to the officer that was coming by here every day during service?’ We’re proud to bestow this award upon him.”
Senior Police Officer Edward Carmean was honored for 10 years of service to the department while Senior Police Officer Christopher Bireley was honored for 20 years of service to the department. Bireley also received a meritorious service award for a K-9 track that led to a felony arrest for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. J.D. Lawson was recognized for meritorious service during a domestic incident that involved a barricade situation in December of 2017.
Four officers — Senior Police Officer Joseph Kerr, Senior Police Officer Claude Holland, Sgt. Michael O’Connor and Patrolman Kevin Lloyd — were awarded lifesaving citations. Kerr saved a life during an attempted suicide by hanging in December of 2017. O’Connor saved a subject who was actively cutting herself in November of 2018, while Lloyd also saved a subject who was actively cutting herself in December of 2018. Holland’s lifesaving commendation came as a result of his actions in May of 2018, when he rescued a mother and two children from a flooding vehicle.
Mayor Gee Williams asked Downing to pass along the town’s gratitude to the department’s 14 officers.
“It’s things like this that folks never see,” he said. “Please let them know how grateful we are.”