Dennis Negrón, vice president for Student Development, was recently granted the American Police Hall of Fame Honor Award for Public Service at the Collegedale Police Department’s third annual awards banquet. Although Negrón could not be present at the event, Joey Tolbert, facilities manager for Student Development, accepted the award on his behalf.
Over the past year, Negrón served as Southern Adventist University’s representative on the police department’s Round Table Advisory Committee. At the banquet, Assistant Chief of Police Jamie Heath said Negrón was chosen to sit on the committee to strengthen the relationship between Southern and the police.
Heath presented the award and had the following remarks:
“Negrón not only served with distinction, but he also worked diligently to provide a thoughtful voice of reason in every discussion. He also worked diligently to provide opportunities for officers to work with university staff and students. Among Mr. Negrón’s accomplishments was the inclusion of police officers with the university’s community service projects, which allowed officers to volunteer public service hours with the university and various functions throughout the city.”
In a later email to the Accent, Heath explained that he and Chief Jack Sapp nominated Negrón for the award.
The Round Table Advisory Committee was created in 2021 to discuss departmental and community issues openly as a group, as explained in a previous Accent article. It was Negrón that made a motion for the committee to grant Southern a permanent seat; now, Tolbert serves as Southern’s representative.
“Because Southern Adventist University has the largest footprint in Collegedale, I worked towards the university having permanent representation on it,” Negrón wrote in an email to the Accent. “The other members agreed that my rationale made sense. I believe the relationship between Southern and the Collegedale Police Department is as strong as it has ever been as a result of our working more closely together.”
According to Heath, the current members on the Round Table Advisory Committee, excluding Tolbert, are Sergeant Mark Hennessee (sergeant peer group representative), Corporal Michael Hicks (corporal peer group representative), Officer Matt Jones (officer peer group representative), Detective Robert O’Daniel (support services representative), Officer Curtis Bowe (secretary/reserve officer peer group representative), Kenya Irvin (community representative) and Commissioner Katie Lamb (commission representative).
Several officers were also honored at the banquet. Special recognition was given to officers who responded to the 2020 Easter tornado and the Dec. 20 train derailment. Others were awarded for excellent arrests and criminal investigations.
Officer Kayla McDaniel was awarded “Rookie of the Year” and Officer Peter Gavlick was awarded “Officer of the Year.”