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The Burleson Police Department honored some of their own during their annual awards banquet this month.
Officer of the Year
The 2019 Officer of the Year is Cameron Pilgrim, a twelve-year-veteran, assigned to the Operations Support Bureau. Officer Pilgrim recently transferred from the Criminal Investigations Unit back to patrol.
While working in Criminal Investigations, Officer Pilgrim served as the senior detective in 2019, investigating the most egregious crimes we receive. His caseload entailed crimes against persons such as homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, as well as crimes against the elderly and kids. In 2019, he was assigned one hundred fifty-three cases, of which eight were sexual assaults, four aggravated sexual assaults, thirty-four assaults, three aggravated assaults, two aggravated robberies, one robbery and two stalking cases. He wrote forty arrest warrants, coordinated sex offender registration and served as the detective in charge when the supervisor was absent.
Officer Pilgrim served as the liaison for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County, where he was responsible for investigating tragedies against child victims. These cases place an extreme burden on the hearts of investigators and represent some of the most heinous crimes we investigate. He worked closely with the District Attorney’s office as many of his cases proceeded to the Grand Jury for indictment.
Officer Pilgrim brings an enormous amount of knowledge with him to evening shift patrol, where he mentors young tenured officers.
Rookie of the YearOfficer Blake Dunham was selected as the 2019 Burleson Police Department Rookie of the Year. Officer Dunham has been with the department for one year and three months. After graduating from the regional academy, he spent almost six months in-field training before achieving solo status on September 8, 2019.
Officer Dunham is a top producer on the second shift in most categories, making a high number of arrests and writing numerous reports. Officer Dunham worked eighty-five days from when he achieved solo status and during that timeframe, he was the primary unit on 344 calls for service, of which 35 were self-initiated. He made 289 traffic stops, wrote 92 offense reports and 40 supplemental reports. He completed 40 traffic accident reports and made 27 arrests during that period, of which seven were for driving while intoxicated.
Within his nomination forms, he was described as a team player through his eagerness to respond to calls for service, working fifteen extra shifts when staffing was low.
Supervisor of the Year
The 2019 Burleson Police Supervisor of the Year is Sergeant Shelly Henken. Sergeant Henken, a ten year veteran of BPD, has been a sergeant for three and a half years. She is assigned to midnight shift patrol within the Operations Bureau.
Sergeant Henken was described as a person that leads by example, mentors young-tenured officers, assists neighboring agencies and has a history of assisting with the S.T.O.P. Task Force. Her integrity, approachability, sincerity and personality sets her apart from others.
One officer said, “she takes time to assist the younger tenured officers to ensure they have the tools they need to be successful.”
Sergeant Henken promotes the importance of family and often sacrifices her time off to ensure her team members do not miss important family events.
In addition to her patrol responsibilities, Sergeant Henken coordinates Bike Patrol, serves as the Crisis Negotiations Team supervisor, and is the Explorer Program advisor. She coordinates events where teens involved in the program attend competitions with Explorers from other agencies.
Civilian of the Year
Burleson Police Department’s civilian staff works diligently behind the scenes in support of the department’s mission. The department is proud to recognize Dana Carey as the Civilian of the Year. Carey is an eighteen-year veteran of the Burleson Police Department, where she began her career as a dispatcher in Communications. In November 2016, she was selected as the Property Room Coordinator.
Carey is responsible for maintaining all property processed by the Burleson Police Department, including evidence, narcotics, weapons, stolen property, etc. One of her most critical duties is to ensure evidence is properly packaged and preserved for potential courtroom testimony. In 2019, she processed 5,351 articles of evidence. In comparison, she processed 3,985 articles in 2017 and 4,404 articles in 2018, representing over 25% increase between 2017 and 2019. The volume of property she handles equates to 20.5 articles of evidence each working day.
As part of her daily duties, Carey serves as the liaison with the crime lab and the Medical Examiner’s office to coordinate articles of evidence that needs to be tested, including DNA, illegal narcotics, fingerprints, etc. Her role ensures that the chain of custody is maintained on all evidence to ensure courtroom testimony is successful. She is responsible for returning property to citizens, testifies in court, and responds to the scene as needed to help process evidence. She mentors officers on the proper packaging of evidence. Since the property room is considered highly restricted space, random audits are periodically required and Carey has passed all audits since her appointment to that position.
Finally, Carey volunteers to pick up shifts in Communications when they experience staffing shortages. She is an outstanding team member and represents herself and this department well.