WATCH: Cocoa Police Officers and Employees Recognized for Professional Excellence in Awards Ceremony

By  //  June 19, 2021

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Chief Evander Collier IV and members of his command staff presented the awards

ABOVE VIDEO: More than one dozen police department employees were recognized for professional excellence, heroic acts, and actions that went above and beyond while performing public service to the citizens of Cocoa during 2020. (CPD Video)

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – More than one dozen police department employees were recognized for professional excellence, heroic acts, and actions that went above and beyond while performing public service to the citizens of Cocoa during 2020.

Chief Evander Collier IV and members of his command staff presented the awards during a special ceremony held at the Cocoa Civic Center Thursday evening.

The mayor and members of council were also present to congratulate and recognize the employees.

Chief Evander Collier IV and members of his command staff presented the awards during a special ceremony held at the Cocoa Civic Center Thursday evening. (CPD image)

Among the awards presented was the 2020 Officer of the Year, which was given to Officer Brian Fredette for courageous and selfless actions that led to saving the life of a woman who was being stabbed.

According to Officer Fredette’s coworkers who nominated him for the award, “It took a great deal of inner strength, composure and quick thinking to respond in such a way that instinctively puts your own life at risk trying to save someone else. In a time when many in this profession second-guess themselves daily, this officer is compelled to do his very best in everything he does. He seeks nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing he makes a difference, no matter how big or small. Officer Fredette displays the kind of character we all seek in law enforcement.”

Among the awards presented was the 2020 Officer of the Year, which was given to Officer Brian Fredette for courageous and selfless actions that led to saving the life of a woman who was being stabbed. (CPD image)

The Employee of the Year award was presented to Administrative Secretary Charlene Jenkins-Catechis. In 2020, the police department endured significant changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Payroll adjustments needed to be made, some employees were asked to work from home, codes and protocols to manage more than 90 officers and employees’ compensation, benefits, and sick leave all changed and the variances were challenging.

A mistake impacted a person’s livelihood. Secretary Jenkins-Catechis’ professionalism, attention to detail, and overall excellence made it a seamless effort that is worthy of recognition.

The Employee of the Year award was presented to Administrative Secretary Charlene Jenkins-Catechis. (CPD image)

The Communications Officer of the Year award was presented to Michelle Perry. CO Perry is a prime example of an excellent communications officer.

She handles her tasks appropriately and efficiently. As a lead communications officer, it is apparent her level of training and experience.

In addition to answering 911 calls, dispatching calls for service to officers, and conducting teletype functions, CO Perry has an array of other duties which she performs with great professionalism and dedication.

The Communications Officer of the Year award was presented to Michelle Perry. CO Perry is a prime example of an excellent communications officer. (CPD image)

The VCOP of the Year award was presented to two volunteers, John Sauter, and David Lightholder. John Sauter has been a great asset to the VCOP program.

His tireless efforts are consistently above and beyond the call. VCOP Sauter is among the most dependable, dedicated and available volunteers in the agency donating hundreds of man hours to serve.

David Lightholder leads the department’s public-private partnerships in the community. VCOP Lightholder, through his role as chairman of Community First Charity, has helped fund the outreach programs that have made a positive impact in the lives of so many youth and families in the city of Cocoa and surrounding areas.

During 2020, his collaborative fundraising efforts helped unite area businesses to fund and provide more than 8,000 free meals to local families struggling because of Covid-19 related shutdowns, job losses and school closures. VCOP Lightholder is a steadfast supporter of the police department and he is deserving of recognition.

David Lightholder leads the department’s public-private partnerships in the community. VCOP Lightholder, through his role as chairman of Community First Charity, has helped fund the outreach programs that have made a positive impact in the lives of so many youth and families in the city of Cocoa and surrounding areas. (CPD image)

Other award categories and recipients are as follows:

• Lifesaving Medal: Officer Brian Fredette, Sgt. Doug Levine
• Department Commendation Medal: Cpl. John Picheco, Officer Daniel Rhoades
• Police Combat Cross: Officer Brian Fredette, Officer Chris Moderson
• VCOP of the 1st Quarter: John Sauter
• VCOP of the 2nd Quarter: Charles McGrath
• VCOP of the 3rd Quarter: Marci Davis
• VCOP of the 4th Quarter: David Lightholder
• Employee of the 1st Quarter: Charlene Jenkins-Catechis
• Employee of the 2nd Quarter: Penny Costin
• Communications Officer of the 2nd Quarter: Michelle Perry
• Communications Officer of the 4th Quarter: Lynn Conley
• Officer of the 1st Quarter: Brian Fredette
• Officer of the 2nd Quarter: Cpl. John Picheco
• Officer of the 3rd Quarter: Officer Theodoros Yakarys
• Officer of the 4th Quarter: Eric Cronin

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Officer Douglas Levine was awarded the Lifesaving Medal. (CPD image)
Officer Chris Moderson was awarded the Police Combat Cross. (CPD image)
According to Officer Fredette’s coworkers who nominated him for the Officer of the Year award, “It took a great deal of inner strength, composure and quick thinking to respond in such a way that instinctively puts your own life at risk trying to save someone else. In a time when many in this profession second-guess themselves daily, this officer is compelled to do his very best in everything he does. He seeks nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing he makes a difference, no matter how big or small. Officer Fredette displays the kind of character we all seek in law enforcement.” (CPD image)
Cpl. John Picheco was award the Department Commendation Medal. (CPD image)
Marci Davis received the Volunteer Cop of the 3rd Quarter award. (CPD image)
The Employee of the Year award was presented to Administrative Secretary Charlene Jenkins-Catechis. (CPD image)
John Sauter was named the Volunteer Cop of the 1st Quarter. (CPD image)
Officer Theodoros Yakarys was named the Officer of the 3rd Quarter. (CPD image)
Charles McGrath received the Volunteer Cop of the 2nd Quarter award. (CPD image)
Officer Eric Cronin was named the Officer of the 4th Quarter. (CPD image)

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