Robin Surles accepts the Police Officer of the Year award from Police Chief Turley on behalf of her husband, fallen officer Greg Surles.

Former Pell City Police Officer Greg Surles was posthumously named Officer of the Year at last weekend’s annual Pell City Police Department awards banquet. The purpose of the ceremony is to honor the officers and their families that work so tirelessly during the year. The Detective Roy Allen Davis Memorial Award went to Officer Rebecca Cruce. The award was given to an officer who displayed outstanding pride in the law enforcement profession and served with honor in their community. Officer Jerry Bobo was honored with the Greg Surles Memorial Award, presented to an officer who displayed outstanding productivity during the year and earned the highest level of community trust. Surles’s widow, Robin, presented the award.

“When I started here as chief I wanted to do two things. First, in the summer time we have a barbecue with all of the guys and their families to show appreciation. During Christmas time we hold an awards banquet and serve dinner followed by an awards ceremony,” Pell City Police Chief Greg Turley said. Officers were also recognized with physical fitness awards. “I’m pretty excited about our department’s fitness. We brought in some experts, did a lot of research and put together a very beneficial wellness policy five years ago. A lot of the guys were scared because if you have someone that doesn’t meet the standards and refuses to try, they can lose their job. The guys had five years to meet the standards and they all did, 100 percent. We are the only agency I know of that gives officers one hour per shift to workout and improve their physical fitness,” Turley noted.

The department also recently installed eight of the ten new digital cameras for their cruisers. “It’s just wonderful,” Turley said. “I thank the council so much for allowing us to get these cameras. This will make us a much more capable agency and save a lot of money.” The old cameras used eight-millimeter tapes that could only be used once. The new cameras allow the department to capture what happens before the camera starts rolling. “The new cameras are digital and hands-off. No one can alter anything. We want to evolve to when an officer pulls up in the parking lot the data is wirelessly downloaded to our server automatically, and is backed up as well on another server.”

“I know this entire country is facing financial hardships and I really commend the mayor and council standing up during this time and saying this was the right thing to do,” Turley said.

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