Father, son claim top awards at police department ceremony

By Lynn R. Parks

At its annual awards ceremony Thursday night, the Seaford Police Department honored father and son. Lt. Gary Flood, who has been with the force for 28 years, received the chief’s award for outstanding employee. His son, Patrolman First Class Steve Flood, was named employee of the year and received six commendations. “I am very proud of Steve,” said Gary Flood, who is department spokesman. “And I had no idea that I was going to get anything. It was a good night.” Steve Flood has been with the force for four years. He received commendations for helping in a rescue of residents from a burning house, for helping to subdue a man who was wielding a gun and for helping in the apprehension of two suspected drug dealers. Those arrests led to the confiscation of more than 34 grams of crack cocaine, Gary Flood said, and nearly $1,300. Steve Flood also received two exceptional duty awards, one for helping in the resolution of a hostage situation and another for the nine drug busts he made in 2002. Those drug busts resulted in the arrests of 13 suspects, charged with 43 felonies and 18 misdemeanors. They also resulted in the confiscation of 37.6 grams of crack, 20.7 grams of marijuana and $1,279, Gary Flood said. “He shows a devotion to duty that all young officers should aspire to,” said Chief Gary Morris. “And he pays attention to detail.” Before announcing his choice for the chief’s award, Morris said that making the selection was the most difficult thing he has done since becoming chief in October. “I struggled and struggled, not because it was hard to find someone qualified but because it was hard to choose someone,” he said. “Everyone on the staff could be a candidate for the chief’s award.” Morris said that he selected Gary Flood because of his loyalty, initiative, vision and positive attitude. Flood was the moving force behind a series of television advertisements the department did for new recruits, an effort which resulted in more than 50 applications in three months. The department typically gets up to three applications a month. “He wants this to be the best department it can be,” Morris said. “He is a leader and a mentor. It is with deep respect that I commend him.” This is the eighth year that the department has held an awards ceremony. Morris said that it was started by then chief Robert Miller, who attended Thursday’s event. “This does wonders for department morale,” Morris said. “And it lets the community know about the good things the police department is doing. We are making a visible difference in the quality of life in some of our neighborhoods.” Also honored at the ceremony were:
  • Sgt. Ron Fortin, who received three commendations: for helping in the rescue of people from a burning building, for helping to subdue a man with a gun and for helping to resolve a hostage situation.
  • Dispatcher Rod Brodie, who dispatched officers during the house fire and when the suspect was firing a gun.
  • Patrolman First Class Marcus Whitney, who received a commendation for the arrest of suspected murderer Antonio Bryan Collins and another for helping in the hostage situation.
  • Patrolman First Class Matthew Hudson, who received a commendation in the arrest of Collins and a second one for a July drug arrest.
  • Capt. Michael Rapa, who received commendations for the gun incident and for the hostage incident.
  • Dispatch administrator Stanley Hardesty, who was commended for his actions during the gun incident.
  • Sgt. Joe Bowen, who received a commendation for a drug arrest that took place in July and netted 12 grams of cocaine, for a second drug arrest in July and for his help in resoling the hostage situation.
  • Patrolman First Class Evans Leighty, who received four commendations: for a July drug arrest, for the hostage incident, for a second drug arrest that netted 23.6 grams of cocaine, and for chasing down an armed robbery suspect on foot on Norman Eskridge Highway.
  • Fred Thornton and Richard Jamison, who were commended for an 18-month detail with the Delaware State Police that resulted in several arrests of high-level drug dealers and street dealers, Gary Flood said. Both men were also commended for their work in resolving the hostage situation.
  • Patrolman First Class Aaron Mitchell, who was commended for the July drug arrest that netted 23.6 grams of cocaine and for the apprehension of the armed robber.
Seven officers were recognized for receiving promotions in 2002: Sgt. Glenn VanFleet, Bowen, Jamison, Rapa, Hudson, Mitchell and Hardesty. Three citizens were also recognized. Jim Bowden, whose grandfather George Bowden was with the department from 1925 to 1953 and served as chief for 18 years, was honored for his research on the history of the department. Spuck Bennett, owner of Seaford Harley-Davidson, was recognized for his assistance with the department’s motorcycle unit. The city’s economic advisor Shannon Sapna was recognized for her assistance in making the department’s television commercial soliciting recruits.

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