With the annual May awards ceremony canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Edmonds Police Department on Wednesday presented four employees with their awards for accomplishments in 2019. Nominations were reviewed in February.
Detective Julie Govantes – 2019 Officer of the Year
Govantes received the Chief David N. Stern Memorial Officer of the Year Award, named in honor of the late Edmonds police chief who died April 25, 2007.
This past year, Govantes “has taken this agency to a new level with her recruiting efforts and community engagement,” the department said in announcing the award. “She went to several career fairs and community outreach events and recruited at police job testing sites. Because of her positive persona, Detective Govantes has increased the number, and diversity of the candidates that applied for our agency. While most departments are struggling to maintain status quo, our agency hit a major milestone when we were fully staffed in December of 2019.”
Govantes is also an active background investigator, completing the background investigations for eight of the 12 police officer candidates hired in 2019. “Her tenacity and hard work has allowed us to streamline our hiring process,” the department said. “We now average 53 days from the time a candidate interviews with us to the time they are hired. This is a direct result of Detective Govantes hard work. While this would be a full time job for most people, Detective Govantes does all of this and still works cases in the Detective Unit.”
“What Julie brings to our agency and what she demonstrated in the last year is really reflective in how our agency has evolved,” the nomination for Govantes said. “Ten of our last 14 employees hired have been women and/or people of color, including nine of the last ten officers. Detective Govantes has brought a seasoned, professional approach to this critical component of community relations.”
Sergeant Damian Smith – Letter of Commendation
Smith was almost finished with his shift when he was notified of a medical emergency in the Safeway parking. A man was not breathing and someone was trying to do CPR.
Smith showed up and immediately realized it might be a drug-related medical emergency. He gave the man a dose of Narcan, a nasal spray designed to counteract a narcotics overdose. While doing this, Smith was able to give CPR instructions to the woman that was accompanying the man. The man was halfway in the vehicle and Smith was able to get him out onto the ground while aid crews were starting to show up. Before crews had arrived, the man had a pulse again, and a few minutes later, he was breathing on his own. Smith’s actions that day saved a man’s life.Sergeant
Corporal Aaron Greenmun – Letter of Commendation
Being a police officer can be a stressful job. Officers are exposed, on a daily basis, to situations many people never see in a lifetime. On top of that, the job often involves long hours and time away from family. When an officer comes into work, they have a primary focus: Helping others.
But what happens when an officer needs help and support? That’s where Greenmun comes in. He runs the department’s peer support team: a group of officers who provide support to any officer in need.
One officer wrote, “Corporal Greenmun gives selflessly to our Peer Support Team by leading us and providing resources to many, many officers who are going through various forms of personal and professional crisis. Corporal Greenmun invests an incredible amount of time in building a strong Peer Support Team that helps address any incident any officer may face. Corporal Greenmun has made himself personally available countless times on his days off, including texts and in-person visits at literally all hours of the day and night. He gives of himself personally for the benefit of others more than anyone I have ever worked with.”
A total of three different employees submitted letters recommending him for this award — “a true testament to the impact he has had on his fellow co-workers,” the department said.
Amber Burklane – Non-Commissioned Employee of the Year
Burklane has only been with the department for a year, but her impact has been dramatic, the department said, noting she “is always looking to take on extra projects and finds every opportunity she can to make our department a happier place. This carries over to her interactions with our customers as well. The level of service she provides is outstanding. She is always willing to go the extra mile and serve the needs of others.”
Burklane was nominated to be the first civilian member of the department’s Peer Support Team. Since joining the team, she started bringing in healthy snacks for the department, complete with information about staying physically and emotionally healthy. This past month, she began giving away plant starters as a way for staff to spend more time in the garden and relieve stress.
The department also noted that she is a very talented woodworker, specializing in custom wood finishes. The staff lunch room is quickly becoming a showcase for her work, as she has started refinishing the tables and chairs.