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Posted on: February 5, 2024

Spearfish police officers honored Monday

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SPEARFISH, SD – Newly-promoted Corporal Brad Johnson and 2023 Spearfish Police Officer of the Year Reece Walno were recognized Monday during presentations at the City Council meeting.

Corporal Promotion

Spearfish Police Department Corporal Brad Johnson was recognized for his recent promotion during a pinning ceremony Monday.

Brad has done a great job for us in his time here,” Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said, congratulating Cpl. Johnson on his promotion.

Cpl. Johnson, who joined the department in June 2021 after serving with the Belle Fourche Police Department, explained he was interested in applying for the corporal position because he wanted to use his life experiences, knowledge of policing, and communication skills to be a leader within the department and community. 

I want to help train and develop our new officers and continue to push and inspire our current officers,” he said, adding, “As a corporal, I am looking forward to assisting my officers with whatever problems or concerns they may have. I am excited to continually represent the Spearfish Police Department and uphold our high standards of policing in our community. We have a great team and command staff, and I want to add whatever I can to help keep us great.

Cpl. Johnson’s wife, Erin, pinned his new badge and corporal chevrons on his uniform during the meeting, and Cpl. Johnson voiced his appreciation for her support.

They say in law enforcement you’re not the only one hired; your family is hired as well. She (Erin) has supported and encouraged me throughout my law enforcement career,” he said. “I am grateful to our community for supporting our police department and allowing me to serve you. Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful to everyone at the Spearfish Police Department. I have received the best training, leadership, and encouragement that helped mold me into the officer I am today.

Corporal Johnson gets his badge pinned by his wife

Photo caption: Newly-promoted Corporal Brad Johnson, left, received his new badge and corporal chevrons on his uniform during a pinning ceremony Monday during the Spearfish City Council meeting. Erin, his wife, pinned the badge and chevrons. Photo courtesy Spearfish Police Department

Officer of the Year

Officer Reece Walno was honored as the 2023 Spearfish Police Officer of the Year. A graduate of Spearfish High School and Chadron State College, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Officer Walno joined the Spearfish Police Department in June 2022. He currently serves as an evidence technician.

I felt honored to learn I was the Officer of the Year for 2023,” Officer Walno said. “I am grateful to be recognized by my fellow peers and colleagues as a worthy candidate for the award.” 

Officer of the Year Walno with Public Safety Director Rotert and Assistant Chief Dean

Photo caption: Officer Reece Walno, center, was honored as the 2023 Spearfish Police Department Officer of the Year Monday. He is pictured with Public Safety Director Pat Rotert, left, and Assistant Chief Boyd Dean. Photo courtesy Spearfish Police Department

The certificate presented states Officer Walno “has exhibited to the public and the department an exceptional degree of professionalism” in 2023. He fielded more than 500 calls for service and initiated 384 traffic enforcement stops in 2023. 

The certificate goes on to describe a specific example of service which showcases his work ethic and dedication: 

In August of 2023, he conducted what initially seemed a simple traffic stop for speeding. Officer Walno observed multiple indicators of criminal activity which led to an arrest for controlled substances. He continued to pursue further investigation related to this stop. His investigative tenacity and attention to detail produced significant well-documented intelligence which led drug agents to seize over a pound of controlled substances. His information also fostered federal investigative actions. Despite call volume and shift shortages, Officer Walno was able to complete his investigation, thus preventing high quantities of dangerous substances being distributed to Spearfish. His actions and professional performance are a credit to himself, the community he serves, and the Spearfish Police Department. 

I love being back in the city that I grew up in and serving the community members alongside the dedicated people of this department,” Officer Walno said. “I want to also thank the training officers, supervisors, and fellow officers for their guidance and mentorship during my young and continuing career. I also want to show appreciation to the command staff, dispatchers, and the never-ending support from my family.

Following the presentations, Officer Walno and Cpl. Johnson received applause and congratulations from the mayor and city council, family, friends, and colleagues present. 

I talk with great pride about the teamwork in the police department and the great leadership that’s been displayed, and just the camaraderie, by all of you being here to support your fellow officers tonight in their awards and helping nominate them and allowing them to be successful,” Mayor John Senden said. “I want to say, on my behalf and the council’s, you have our greatest appreciation of all the work you do, so thank you very much.

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