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Great Falls Police Department celebrates staff and citizens at annual luncheon

Posted at 5:47 PM, May 17, 2024

GREAT FALLS — To culminate another Police Week in Great Falls, the Great Falls Police Department held their annual luncheon to recognize their own with a number of varied distinctions.

Awards included distinguished service, the award of valorous unity, the GFPD Officer of the Year, and the most prestigious, the award of valor. In total, 84 were handed out.

Some of the recipients and their merits include:

  • Master Police Officer Jacob Smith & Kate Kadoshnikov - Recipients of the Lifesaving Award and Citizen Lifesaving Award for their roles in helping to prevent a teen from committing suicide.
  • Senior Police Officer Stephanie Kazior - Recipient of the Award of Honorable Service for her tireless work coaching and managing the Great Falls Figure Skating Club, volunteering for Tip-a-Cop, running the annual Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics, and so much more.
  • Kevin Fisher, Andre Gruber, and Michelle Wynn - Recipients of the Citizens Award of Honorable Service for their help controlling crowds at the farmer’s market while a distraught individual yelled severe threats from above.
  • Senior Police Officer Taylor Crouch - Recipient of the Award of Commendation for his efforts in locating a missing person.
  • Senior Police Officer Frank Torres - Recipient of both the 2023 GFPD Officer of the Year Award and the Award of Valor. Known for picking up extra desk work for others, listening intently to the radio, and always being in the right place at the right time, Torres helped apprehend a suspect who had shot and nearly killed a fellow officer.

For the complete list of recipients, head to the GFPD’s Facebook page.

“We don't do it to be recognized. We'd prefer not to be,” says GFPD Chief of Police Jeff Newton. “So I think for a lot of us, it's uncomfortable and a lot of time, myself included.”

The understanding of having served, and going through the highs and lows of police work bears the significance of the distinctions.

“There's a camaraderie. They’re a bit like brothers and sisters,” says Senior Police Officer, Frank Torres. “That kind of puts a spin on things and makes you realize that the person I'm working with that day is someone that could possibly save my life.”

The officers would prefer to not have their distinctions announced in front of a large crowd, but the event serves as an important check-in with the community, demonstrating the value which these officers, dispatchers, and citizens provide.