Three of the top awards went to Mount Mercy alumni in the criminal justice field. Christopher Carton '11, from Davenport, Iowa, was honored as Recruit of the Year, and Bryan Copeland '11, from Fairfield, Iowa, was recognized as Reserve Officer of the Year. Jennifer Roberts '97, from Marion, Iowa, was honored as Officer of the Year.
"The students who graduate from the criminal justice program at Mount Mercy carry the burden of making decisions about the safety and liberty of their fellow citizens," says Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Amanda Humphrey, Ph.D. "I am proud of our students and alumni as they are recognized for their courage and strong work ethic. They are living examples of leadership, service, and purposeful living – key tenants of Mount Mercy's mission."
Officer Carton was recognized during the program for his professionalism, high level of initiative and impressive display in consistently carrying out his duties. Reserve Officer Copeland was recognized for his unflagging dedication, excellent attitude and dependable work-ethic.
Officer Roberts was honored for her work as the first Cedar Rapids officer to serve as a School Resource Officer, where she has established a program at Jefferson High School. Her dedication and work within the program has expanded its reach to other high schools in the Cedar Rapids area.
Several other criminal justice alumni were also recognized during the ceremony.
Det. George Aboud '81, from Cedar Rapids, Officer Adrienne Phelps '08, from Marengo, Iowa, and Officer Spencer Watts '10, from Danville, Iowa, were awarded a Class E Commendatory Letter.
Det. Aboud was commended for his outstanding investigative work in tracking down a suspect wanted from several jurisdictions for drug violations and theft. Officer Phelps was recognized for her work responding to a burglary and securing a suspect. Officer Watts was recognized for his investigative work in securing and seizing nearly 300 marijuana plants.
Officer Douglas Doyle '09, from Urbana, Iowa, Sgt. Stephen Keiller '08, from Marion, Iowa, Sgt. Matthew Mullen '02, from Cedar Rapids and Sgt. Michelle Smothers '03, from Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and were recognized with the Class H Lifesaving Award.
Officer Doyle and Sgt. Smothers were recognized for their efforts in performing CPR on victims they were responding to – leading to saved lives in both cases. Sgt. Keiller was recognized for his efforts to save a man attempting suicide by jumping off the 1st Ave Bridge. Sgt. Mullen was recognized for his efforts in preventing a suicide on the top floor of a parking ramp at St. Luke's Hospital.
The awards were presented by Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham.
In 1974, Mount Mercy's criminal justice program was the first four-year program of its kind in Iowa. It has now expanded to include emphases in corrections, community corrections, victims and women's issues, legal and ethical issues in law enforcement and also includes courses that focus on research methodology.