Novi Recognizes Police Officer, Firefighter of the Year
Numerous members of the Novi Police Department and the Novi Fire Department were recognized for their achievements Tuesday night.
—Submitted by the City of Novi
The Novi Police and Fire Departments held a semi-annual awards ceremony Tuesday to celebrate accomplishments and recognize professional development achievements of those who protect and serve the community. The ceremony was held at the Baronette Renaissance in Novi.
Both departments additionally recognized employees of the year, including Police Officer of the Year Michael Bender, Police Department Civilian Employee of the Year Michelle Balog, and Firefighter of the Year John Martin.
“In addition to being role models for other members of our organization, they exemplify the professional vision and values we possess in dedicated service to our community," said Director of Public Safety/Chief of Police David Molloy. "All three of these fine individuals go above and beyond every single day to ensure the safety and security of all our residents. I am honored to be their colleague.”
Fire Captain John Martin began his fire service career in Novi as a part-time auxiliary firefighter in 2003. In 2005, he was hired full-time as the training officer and fulfilled this position until he was promoted in January 2011 to Fire Captain. Martin graduated from the Eastern Michigan University School of Fire Staff and Command in 2010. During his tenure with Novi, Martin has been recognized with a Governmental Service Citation, two Merit Citations, and a Company Citation. He was honored as an Employee of the Month in 2011. His leadership and abilities go well beyond the call of duty, often volunteering his time to assist with initiatives such as the Emergency Run, Addicted to Movies, not Drugs, and the Police and Fire Benevolent Association. Martin is a mentor and trainer through his consistent willingness to provide education at all levels of the organization, including other city departments.
Police Officer Michael Bender joined the Novi Police Department in 2004. While assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division, he has distinguished himself as an exceptional and hardworking officer. Officer Bender has successfully investigated several significant cases, including an incident involving the break-in of a commercial building, where he quickly identified a suspect resulting in the suspect’s arrest and conviction. In another case, Bender located several witnesses and key pieces of evidence in a felonious assault. He conducted lengthy interviews with two suspects and he was able to obtain critical information which resulted in both suspects pleading guilty. Bender has received numerous notes, letters and calls from citizens which speak of his professionalism. Bender has earned the confidence of his supervisors and coworkers by going the step beyond what is expected of him. He consistently takes his work to the next level.
Records Specialist Michelle Balog joined the Novi Police Department in 2000 where she has served as the front desk receptionist. Most recently, she spearheaded a project to enhance the subpoena system. The new process not only saves paper, it is more efficient and also allows for officers and detectives to have court appearances placed on their individual calendars. She also took the initiative and detailed the process in updating employees in the protocol for a new statewide sex offender database. With her efforts, the transition to the new system was flawless while ensuring all of the offenders who live in our community were accounted for.
A full list of award recipients follows:
Novi Police Department
Officer of the Year: Michael Bender
Civilian of the Year: Michelle Balog
Individual Achievement: Robert Manar and K-9 Alex
Leadership: Victor Lauria, Jerrod Hart and Larry Lemerand
Merit Citation: Kevin Gilmore, Michael Marchetti and Mark Stone
Unit Citation: Tim Farrell, Brian Tillman, Karen Patterson and Kim White
Life Saving Citation: Chris Franckowiak, Steve Patterson, Shawn Penzak and Julie Warren
Advanced Education: Alisa Brown
MADD: Chris Franckowiak
Departmental Citation: Chris Franckowiak
Civilian Citation: Bronwyn Jarvis
Novi Fire Department
Fire Fighter of the Year: John Martin
Medal of Honor: Richard Schulz
Departmental Citation: John Martin
Purple Heart: Michael Peters
Medal of Valor: Matt Gabrielson and Joe Rhome
Merit Citation (Life Saving): John Martin (2), Matt Gabrielson and Joe Rhome
Leadership: Jeffrey Johnson
Company Citation: Ramon Alvarez, Michael Peters and Vince Schira
Letter of Commendation: Brad Bachor, Andy Copeland, Jim Morris and Remo Oliverio
Editor's note: This article has been updated with the correct awards for Richard Schulz, Matt Gabrielson and Joe Rhome.