On Dec. 30, the Columbia Police Foundation sponsored the annual employee recognition ceremony for members of the Columbia Police Department. Awards were presented to four employees who demonstrated exceptional performance, consistent with standards set by the Foundation.
The 2019 nominations were decided in March 2020, and awards were presented to the following staff members:
Rookie of the Year – Officer Brendan Bunch
Officer Bunch has served two years and four months at the Department and is currently assigned to Patrol. During his tenure, Bunch has displayed qualities that are consistent with strong legal, safety, moral and ethical principles to guide his work.
Civilian of the Year – Donna Allen
Allen has served 21 years at the Department and is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. Allen has embraced the Department’s community policing model and continues to demonstrate a high level of integrity, respect and support for her colleagues. Her positive attitude and work ethic are greatly appreciated.
Supervisor of the Year – Lieutenant Matt Stephens
Lieutenant Stephens has served 15 years and four months at the Department and is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division. During his tenure, Lt. Stephens has been recognized as a servant leader who demonstrates exceptional leadership. Stephens’ candor and honesty continue to motivate and encourage those he works with.
Molly Thomas Bowden Officer of the Year – Officer Dan Wright
Officer Wright has served 19 years and four months at the Department and is currently assigned to Patrol. During his tenure, Wright has exemplified the nobility of policing by consistently going above and beyond on a daily basis. These are values that cannot be taught, and Officer Wright embodies them.
“These are the people who have stepped up to the plate demonstrating outstanding character, professionalism and dedication on behalf of the Columbia Police Department, and I am honored to be here to recognize them,” said Police Chief Geoff Jones.
“The Foundation is very proud to be able to help recognize outstanding performances of our officers and employees. We are proud to have so many exceptional officers and employees serving our community,” said Randy Boehm, chair of the Foundation’s board of directors and former Columbia Police Chief.
The Columbia Police Foundation was established in 2002 by Boehm, the Columbia Police Officers’ Association and a small group of local leaders to fund urgently needed programs and equipment for the Department. The Foundation also funds peer support training and offers life insurance coverage to all law enforcement in Boone County.
This is the first year that the Foundation assumed responsibility for the awards. This change was based on a mutual desire to assure that the award process is fair and impartial. The Foundation Board of Directors includes Department employees and citizens, but only independent citizen members participated in the award selection process.
Nominees in all award categories were judged on their demonstration of integrity, honesty and respect in all actions. In addition, all sworn nominees were judged on how they demonstrated the Columbia policing philosophy in all their actions and how they give back to the community.