Illinois: Summit Police Officer Named School Resource Officer of the Year

Published: June 3, 2024

Officer Armando Dominguez of the Summit (Ill.) Police Department is the winner of the National Association of School Resource Officers’ (NASRO) 2024 Floyd Ledbetter National School Resource Officer of the Year Award.

The award recognizes school resource officers (SROs) who have made specific and significant contributions to their local communities or school districts, according to a press release. NASRO will present this award and others on Monday, July 15, during a ceremony in Phoenix as part of its annual National School Safety Conference.

“Officer Dominguez has, in the words of his lieutenant, ‘transformed’ the middle school where he works. Students routinely show their love for this SRO by, for example, yelling his name across the gym at basketball games or running across soccer fields just to say hello. The school district’s superintendent told us that Officer Dominguez has bridged gaps between the police department and families, served as a role model and mentor to students, and fostered life-long relationships with his coworkers,” said NASRO executive director Mo Canady. “People in need often seek out Officer Dominguez to resolve issues in schools and neighborhoods because he gives his all to support the needs of those who have come to depend upon him. In the process, he has helped prevent students from harming themselves or ending up behind bars. To quote the superintendent, ‘SRO Dominguez is the type of person we all aspire to be.’”

NASRO also announced it will present its National Award of Valor to Kerri Reeves, a physical education teacher at Smiths Station High School in Alabama. Reeves placed herself between a student who was armed with a gun and another student he had threatened to kill. She successfully de-escalated the situation and ordered the armed student to leave.

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Additionally, NASRO will present the following awards during its July 15 ceremony:

  • A Presidential Citation for special recognition from the NASRO president will go to Officer Brad Tippin of the Baltimore County Police Department in Towson, Maryland. Tippin intervened in an active stabbing incident in the high school where he serves as SRO, preventing mortal injury.
  • The Chief Nicholas C. Derzis Safe Schools Leadership Award for contributions and dedication to an SRO program will go to Superintendent Michael Vuckovich of the Windber Area School District in Windber, Pennsylvania.
  • The Bridge the Gap Award for activities demonstrating a significant commitment to positive behavioral intervention services and at-risk youth will go to Officer Brian Falotico of the Waukegan Police Department in Waukegan, Illinois.
  • Exceptional Service Awards for one recipient in each of NASRO’s 10 regions who demonstrate continuous and sustained service to the school community above and beyond that normally expected of an SRO will go to:
    • Officer Brian Evatt, Fernandina Beach Police Department, Florida
    • Deputy Khalid Mitchell, Harford County Sheriff’s Department, Bel Air, Maryland
    • Officer Eric Fisher, East Cocalico Township Police Department, Pennsylvania
    • Officer Damian Blocker, Waterbury Police Department, Connecticut
    • Officer Kimberly Kiritschenko, Danville Community School Corporation Police Department, Danville, Indiana
    • Officer Brenda Young, Columbia Police Department, Mississippi
    • Officer John Kramer, Gilbert Police Department, Arizona
    • Deputy Elizabeth Volten, Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
    • Officer Luis Ortiz, Fremont Police Department, California
    • Officer Bri Tucker, Salida Police Department, Colorado

The Model SRO Agency Award for exemplifying in training, policies, and standards, the NASRO triad concept — which describes an SRO’s role as mentor, guest lecturer, and law enforcement officer — and for demonstrating creative and innovative approaches to school-based policing, will go to:

  • George Police Department, St. George, Utah
  • Decatur Township Metropolitan School District Police Department, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Southlake Police Department, Southlake, Texas
  • North Fayette Township Police Department, Oakdale, Pennsylvania
  • Orem Police Department, Orem, Utah
  • Central Falls Police Department, Central Falls, Rhode Island

The SRO Social Award, for effectively utilizing social media to promote the SRO position, school, and agency, will go to Deputy Danielle Martinez of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office in Redwood City, California.

The Safety and Support Companion Award, for an SRO and the officer’s animal companion who, through their roles as public safety educator, mentor/informal counselor, and law enforcement officer, make a significant positive and impactful contribution to schools, will go to Officer Gretchen Morgan of the Paducah Police Department, in Paducah, Kentucky, and her bearded dragon, Rizzoli.

The National Road Safety Foundation Innovation in the Classroom Award, for demonstrating innovative methods in teaching traffic safety to teens, will go to Deputy Chad Dodson of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The NASRO Instructor of the Year Award, for instructors who demonstrate excellence in teaching NASRO courses while continuously performing above and beyond the call of duty, will go Janet Nease, Ed.D., of Kansas City, Missouri.

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