The Ohio State Highway Patrol Dispatcher of the Year is Amy M. Zatvarnicky of the Warren Dispatch Center. Dispatcher Zatvarnicky joined the Patrol in September 1998 and was assigned to the Canfield Post. In 2008, she transferred to the Warren Dispatch Center, where she was selected as Post and District Dispatcher of the Year in 2012. She resides in Girard and has two children, Victor and Brooke.
Recognized locally from the Piqua District are Trooper Jeremy L. Morris, Piqua Post; Dispatcher Dawn M. Heppard, Piqua Dispatch Center; Trooper James R. Bennett II, Piqua Licensing and Commercial Standards; and Terri L. Murray (Administrative Professional 1), Piqua District Headquarters.
Blue Max Award (Patrol’s top auto larceny enforcer) – Tpr. Timothy S. Durham, of the Springfield Post, was honored with the Blue Max Award for recovering the most stolen vehicles. In 2012, he recovered 16 stolen vehicles, valued at $138,550, resulting in the apprehension of 17 suspects. Tpr. Durham joined the Patrol in April 2002 as a member of the 139th Academy class. He earned his commission in October of that year and was assigned to the Springfield Post. He earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement from 2005 through 2007, and in 2010 and 2012; the Criminal Patrol Award in 2005 and 2006; and the Blue Max Award in 2006 and 2012. He was selected as Post Trooper of the Year by his peers in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Tpr. Durham resides in Woodstock.
Robert M. Chiaramonte Humanitarian Award – Tpr. Lauren E. Merz, of the Warren Post, was honored with the Robert M. Chiaramonte Humanitarian Award, which recognizes officers who are dedicated to humanitarian causes, both on the highway and in their communities. Assistance to motorists, letters of commendation and community involvement are all factors in determining the recipient. Tpr. Merz has dedicated herself to educating teen drivers about responsible driving. She is the creator and co-creator of teen driver education programs utilized in Trumbull County. Her efforts have undoubtedly resulted in safer driving behaviors in hundreds of teen drivers in Trumbull County and around the state.
Tpr. Merz joined the Patrol in January 1993 as a member of the 124th Academy Class. She earned her commission in June of that year and was assigned to the Warren Post, where she was selected as Post Trooper of the Year by her peers in 2001. In 2008 she transferred to the Warren Office of Investigative Services where she served as a plainclothes investigator. In 2009, she returned to her most recent assignment at the Warren Post. Tpr. Merz resides in Warren with her husband, Robert. They have two children; Jacob and Sarah.
Colonel Thomas W. Rice Leadership Award – Sgt. Steven K. Herron Jr., of the Lancaster Post, was honored with the first ever Colonel Thomas W. Rice Award, which is presented to one sworn supervisory officer annually for outstanding leadership. The award is sponsored by the Ohio State Highway Patrol Retirees’ Association and is in honor of former Patrol Superintendent Thomas W. Rice.
Sgt. Herron began his Patrol career in April 1997 as a cadet dispatcher at the Circleville Post. He began training as a member of the 133rd Academy Class in February 1999. He earned his commission in July of that year and was assigned to the Lima Post. In 2000, he returned to the Circleville Post, before transferring to the Polygraph Unit in 2004. In 2009, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to the Delaware Post where he served as an assistant post commander. In 2010, he transferred to his most recent assignment at the Lancaster Post. Sgt. Herron resides in Amanda with his wife, Lisa, and their three children; Jasmine, Joseph, and Hannah.
Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector of the Year – Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector Anthony R. Lester, of the Jackson District, was selected as Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector of the Year. MCEI Lester began his career with the Patrol in May 1997 as a Maintenance Repair Worker 2 at the Jackson Post. He was promoted to a Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector in April 1998 and transferred to his most recent assignment at the Chillicothe Post. MCEI Lester was selected as District Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspector of the Year from 2007 through 2010. He resides in Jackson with his wife, Kimberly. They have four children; Brandon, Alexandria, Audriana and Aaron.
Criminal Patrol Award – Tpr. Michael R. Wilson, of the Columbus District Criminal Patrol Unit, was awarded for having the most felony case investigations that led to felony arrests. In 2012, he had 64 felony cases and 85 felony arrests. Most of his cases were drug-related, including a nearly 22 pound seizure of heroin and 32 bags of bath salts, worth a combined $1,470,030.
Tpr. Wilson joined the Patrol in May 2004 as a member of the 142nd Academy Class. He earned his commission in November of that year and was assigned to the Granville Post, where he earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement in 2007 and 2011 and the Criminal Patrol Award in 2011 and 2012. He transferred to the Columbus District Criminal Patrol Unit in November 2012. Tpr. Wilson resides in Granville with his wife, Sheena, and their son, Austin.
Electronic Technician Award – Electronic Technician 2 Brian E. Shepherd, Wilmington District Headquarters, was selected as Electronic Technician of the Year. An Electronic Technician 2 supports the Division’s multiple radio systems by testing, maintaining, aligning, and programming radios and equipment. Electronic Technician 2 Shepherd joined the Patrol in November 1999. As an electronic technician, he has also worked at Central Install, Columbus District Headquarters and the Cambridge District Headquarters. He resides in Wilmington with his wife, Catherine. They have two children; Jessica and Stephanie.
Ohio Trooper Recognition Award – Tpr. Michael D. Russell, Warren Office of Investigative Services, was selected from 10 regional recipients. The Trooper Recognition Award recognizes excellence among troopers who are assigned to specialty positions. Tpr. Russell began his Patrol career in August 1990 as a dispatcher assigned to the Warren Post. He began training as a member of the 123rd Academy Class in May 1992. He earned his commission in November of that year and was assigned to the Ravenna Post, where he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year by his peers in 1996 and 2002. He has also served as a plainclothes investigator at Cleveland Operations. Tpr. Russell resides in Warren with his wife, Shelley. They have two children; Andrew and Matthew.
Employee Recognition Award – Retired Planner Supervisor, Wendy C. Forbes, Training Academy, received the award presented annually to recognize excellence by a civilian employee. Forbes resides in Orient with her husband, William, with their son, Alan.
Ohio Investigative Unit State Agent of the Year – Robert L. Boldin, Cleveland District Office, was selected as State Agent of the Year. Agent Boldin joined the Ohio Investigative Unit in May 2004 and was assigned to the Cincinnati District Office. In 2006, he transferred to his most recent assignment at the Cleveland District Office. He resides in Streetsboro with his wife, Michelle. They have two children; Colin and Joshua.
Findlay District – Tpr Shawn D. Cook, Van Wert Post; Dispatcher Denise S. Blue, Findlay Dispatch Center; Tpr. William R. Bowers, Findlay District Investigations; Mike A. Hankins (Maintenance Repair Worker 2),Lima Post.
Bucyrus District – Tpr. Mark A. Menendez, Marion Post; Dispatcher Pamela J. Hershberger