On Monday, July 12th, 2021, Chief Rudzinski of the Manheim Township Police Department presented the 2020 annual department awards during the Manheim Township Board of Commissioners’ meeting at the Manheim Township Public Library. The awards, given to both sworn officers and civilian employees of the police department, recognize those individuals who perform exemplary work for both the police department, and the Township of Manheim.
Distinguished Service Award
Officer Joel J. Ayers
Officer Matthew S. Bender
Officer Michele L. Klinger
Officer Charles S. Wickers
Officer Ryan R. Snyder
Officer Troy J. Hikins
Officer Daniel S. Swigart
Officer Cody J. Lewis
Life Saving Award
Officer Donald H. Everetts
Officer Daniel S. Swigart
Officer of the Year
Officer Shane K. Long
Civilian of the Year
Evidence Custodian Anne M. Henderson
Commissioners’ Firearm Proficiency Award
Lieutenant Charles M. Melhorn, Jr.
Officer Joel J. Ayers
Officer Donald H. Everetts
Officer Kenneth K. Smith
Sergeant John C. Donnelly
Civilian Aide Tanya Benner
In August 2020, Officer Ryan Snyder began an investigation into ongoing illegal activities involving juveniles at a residence in Manheim Township. He researched the address and found that our department had been called there fourteen times. Officer Snyder conducted interviews and moved forward with an investigation which eventually resulted in charges being filed against the adult owners of the residence. Charges included Endangering the Welfare of Children, Corruption of Minors, and Furnishing Alcohol to Minors. Officer Snyder's initiative, knowledge, and commitment in investigating this case went above and beyond what is normally expected of a patrol officer, and resulted in the arrest of individuals who were responsible for juvenile DUls and countless other risks to children. For his actions, Officer Ryan Snyder received the Distinguished Service Award.
In March 2020, Officer Michele Klinger initiated a vehicle pursuit in Manheim Township of a reckless driver who was driving on one of the vehicle's rims. OIC Joel Ayers assisted in the pursuit, which continued into a neighboring jurisdiction. The driver drove into a yard and attempted to turn around, but was eventually blocked in by police cars. As OIC Ayers and Officer Matthew Bender were attempting to get the driver out, she continued to try to drive away. As this was occurring, officers noticed two young children in the vehicle, who OIC Ayers was able to remove. Officer Bender smashed a window and grabbed the driver, who pulled forward, and struck a police vehicle and kept driving. Officer Bender was still reaching into the vehicle to bring it to a stop, which he eventually did. Officer Bender and Officer Charles Wickers were then able to remove the driver and take her into custody. She was charged with numerous violations, including Aggravated Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Fleeing and Eluding Police, and DUI. These officers functioned as a team and were able to stop a dangerous situation from occurring. For their actions, Officers Bender, Klinger, Wickers, and OIC Ayers received the Distinguished Service Award.
Officer Troy Hikins accepted the responsibility of managing the department's participation in the Toys for Tots program, which results in toys and money being provided to local families in need. Responsibilities included coordination with local businesses to put out collection boxes, requesting financial donations, and collecting and storing the toys until they could be turned over to the Marines Corps Reserve. As the result of his efforts, nine boxes of toys and $1,100 was collected to help make Christmas brighter for children in need. In addition, he participated in the Shop with a Cop program, which involves assisting underprivileged youths with shopping for Christmas gifts for their family members using donations from the community. Although the program ended up being cancelled due to COVID, Officer Hikins instead helped by filling out Christmas cards for the participating families which contained gift cards for them to be able to purchase gifts on their own. For his efforts to make life better for needy children and families, Officer Hikins received the Humanitarian Award.
Officer Daniel Swigart was contacted by a relative who offered to donate food to families in need. Officer Swigart was able to identify thirteen local families and then took the time to pick up and deliver the food to those families. For his efforts to improve the quality of life for those families, Officer Daniel Swigart received the Humanitarian Award.
In December 2020, officers responded to a domestic at a Manheim Township residence. While attempting to make contact at the door, they heard a female screaming that a male had a gun, and a shot was fired from inside the residence in the direction of the officers outside. Officer Cody Lewis immediately took steps to ensure the safety of the other two officers on the scene and directed them to positions of cover while calmly relaying updates to Lancaster County Wide Communications and responding officers. As additional units arrived on scene, Officer Lewis took control and established a perimeter while safely directing their approach. He also briefed the arriving OIC and Police Chief, and suggested tactical courses of action, if needed. As the scene was now a hostage situation with a barricaded gunman, the Lancaster County SERT responded, of which Officer Lewis is member. As he transitioned into that role, he was able to provide valuable information. Officer Lewis' tactical expertise and experience was evident in all of his actions, and resulted in him being an integral part of the successful operation, which included the safe rescue of a hostage. For his actions, Officer Cody Lewis received the Meritorious Award.
In June 2020, Officer Donald Everetts responded to a Manheim Township residence after a female sustained a major laceration to her arm, severing her brachial artery. He arrived prior to EMS and administered first aid, which included applying a tourniquet. The responding medics stated that he acted "without hesitation" as part of a "life-saving event" for this patient. For his actions, Officer Donald Everetts received the Lifesaving Award.
In October 2020, Officer Daniel Swigart responded to a serious crash involving a motorcycle, which resulted in major injury to the motorcyclist's leg. Officer Swigart applied a tourniquet to the rider's leg to slow the loss of blood. Although the leg was eventually amputated, Officer Swigart's quick actions saved the life of the rider. For his efforts, Officer Daniel Swigart receiving the Lifesaving Award.
The Officer of the Year Award is selected by the sworn employees. The person nominated must be exemplary in both their private and professional life, and have made an obvious and steady impact by meeting department requirements, or by making a significant impact on the department’s goals. The 2020 Manheim Township Police Officer of the Year was awarded to Officer Shane Long, who has been employed with the department since 2014 and is currently assigned as a Patrol Officer with Second Platoon.
The Civilian of the Year award is awarded to the civilian who is the best representative of the police department and its civilian personnel. This award is selected by the civilian employees. The individual selected is truly be the best representative of our personnel who is both a good person and citizen, and is a good, competent, and capable employee. The 2020 Manheim Township Police Department Civilian of the Year was awarded to Anne Henderson, who serves as the department’s Evidence Custodian.
The Firearms Proficiency Award is given to the officer with the highest total qualification score. In 2020, there was a four-way tie for a perfect score. The award recipients were Lieutenant Charles M. Melhorn, Jr., Officer Joel Ayers, Officer Donald Everetts, and Officer Kenneth Smith.
The Chief’s Award is given to an employee who brings public acclaim to the department through programs to further police efficiency or otherwise advance the police profession. In 2020, there were two recipients.
In early 2020, Sergeant John Donnelly expressed interest in developing a Special Needs Registry in Manheim Township, which he first saw while attending a training in New Jersey. The registry allows people with special needs to give police advance information about what might be going on at a residence so that responding officers can tailor their response and approach based on those needs. The Chief of Police approved the program inception, and Sergeant Donnelly implemented it. The program has been so successful that other agencies have contacted the Manheim Township Police Department to get information so they can implement similar programs. For his efforts to keep the residents safe, Sergeant John Donnelly received the Chief’s Award.
In late 2020 and early 2021, Civilian Aide Tanya Benner, one of police department’s records employees, was tasked with taking on all of the responsibilities of a co-worker who was going to be unavailable for several months. The added responsibilities included all of the Right-to-Know requests and all of the criminal report work within the department, which is a monumental task. Ms. Benner readily agreed to take on the extra work and for the next several months, directly helped the Chief of Police guide through the labyrinth of Right-to-Know requests and responses. She performed the work of two persons, some of which was critical and time sensitive, and did so with a smile and without complaint. For her efforts to keep the police department running seamlessly, Ms. Benner received the Chief’s Award.
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