2014/2015 Awards and Recognition

On March 20, 2015, the Paducah Police Department held its 6th Annual Awards Ceremony to honor officers who have risen above their routine duties and responsibilities in 2014 and 2015 to provide exceptional service to the department and the citizens of Paducah. Click Awards and Recognition Criteria for a list of the possible awards and the criteria used in judging.

Meritorious Service Award

Capt. Brian Laird, Sgt. Wesley Orazine, Officer David Carroll, and Officer Blake Quinn

At approximately 5:10 a.m. January, 23, 2014, dispatchers received a call that a home at 1909 Jackson St. was on fire, and it was possible that residents were inside. Upon their arrival, officers found smoke coming from the front of the home and visible flames. Capt. Brian Laird saw two small children inside the home through a window and alerted other officers. Capt. Brian Laird, Sgt. Wesley Orazine and officers David Carroll and Blake Quinn entered the home and searched for occupants, making sure everyone was out safely.

Pictured below from left to right are Sgt. Orazine, Officer Carroll, Chief Barnhill, Officer Quinn, and Capt. Laird.

Meritorious Service Award

Life-Saving Award

Officer Ryan Burrow (nominated by Capt. Donald Hodgson)

On April 11, 2014, Officer Ryan Burrow was dispatched to a collision with injury on Interstate 24 between Cairo Road and the Ohio River Bridge. When he arrived, he found 21-year-old Taylor Gower trapped inside her car. The engine compartment of the car was on fire. The Paducah Fire Department had not yet arrived, but Officer Burrow was able to extinguish the fire, using the fire extinguisher from his police cruiser. If not for Officer Burrow’s actions, Ms. Gower likely would have died. For his actions, Officer Burrow is being awarded a Life-Saving Award.

Officer Travis Counts and Officer Corey Willenborg (nominated by Sgt. Robert Hefner)

On Sept. 26, 2014, Officers Travis Counts and Corey Willenborg were dispatched to the parking lot of Kentucky Oaks Mall for a “medical assist.” Upon their arrival, they found 67-year-old Mary Poole in her vehicle, not breathing and unresponsive. The officers pulled Ms. Poole from the car and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived and paramedics took over. According to medical personnel, there is no doubt the actions of officers Counts and Willenborg saved Ms. Poole’s life. For their efforts, they are being awarded Life-Saving Awards.

Pictured below are Officer Ryan Burrow, Chief Brandon Barnhill, Officer Travis Counts, and Officer Corey Willenborg.

 Burrow, Barnhill, and CountsOfficer Corey Willenborg


2014 Employee of the Year

Officer Gretchen Morgan (nominated by Robin Newberry)

Community Resource Officer Gretchen Morgan was named Employee of the Year for 2014. Sgt. Anthony Copeland also was recommended for the honor, nominated by the officers on his Operations Division shift.

Officer Morgan was nominated for her work with the "Don’t Be Intexticated" program, along with her devotion to the children of Paducah. She teaches DARE at two Paducah schools and organized the 2014 Christmas Cops event.  Additionally, she is in charge of organizing numerous community programs, including Coffee With a Cop and National Night Out.

Morgan also was presented a citation by State Senator Danny Carroll, himself a retired Assistant Chief of the Paducah Police Department.

Officer Morgan Employee of the Year Nomination >>

Pictured on the left are Officer Morgan and Chief Barnhill.  Pictured on the right are Officer Morgan and Sen. Carroll.

 Morgan and Chief BarnhillOfficer Morgan and Sen. Carroll


Service Commendation

Northview Drive Incident (nominated by Asst. Chief Brian Krueger)

On April 12, 2014, officers received a call from a resident of Northview Drive, who said her son was pointing a loaded handgun at his head and threatening to shoot himself. Capt. Jason Merrick began organizing his officers to stage about a block from the home, while Officer David Carroll set up several blocks away to monitor the situation with binoculars. Officer Carroll provided detailed information to the other responding officers, including the moment the man laid his gun down on a table in the front yard. Capt. Merrick and his officers were able to quickly initiate contact with the man and take him into custody without further incident.

Members of the Paducah Police Department recognized with a Service Commendation are pictured below.  Top row: Capt. Jason Merrick, Chief Brandon Barnhill, and Sgt. Wes Orazine.  Bottom row: Officer David Carroll, Officer Ryan Burrow, Officer Christopher Fearon, Officer Kevin Collins, Officer Lofton Rowley, and Officer Steven Thompson.  Officer Nickolas Francescon not pictured.

Service Commendation-Northview Drive

General Investigations Unit (nominated by Sgt. Joseph Hayes)

Throughout 2014, the General Investigations Unit (GIU) underwent a myriad of changes. Two of its seasoned members were promoted out of the unit. Shortly afterward, two new detectives were trained and integrated into the team. In addition, the unit had three different captains within the span of a year. Despite the difficulties associated with these changes, the unit worked 295 cases and maintained a 70 percent clearance rate. They answered a record number of call-outs (80), conducted 304 digital forensic examinations, and 208 pawnshop checks. In the last six months of the year, they logged more than 100 hours of court time and conducted 29 additional investigations that did not lead to generation of a Uniform Offense Report.

Members of the GIU recognized with a Service Commendation are pictured below.  Top Row: Sgt. Anthony Copeland, Chief Brandon Barnhill, and Det. Troy Turner.  Bottom Row: Sgt. Matthew Smith, Det. Christopher Baxter, Det. Justin Crowell, Det. Ryan Conn, and Det. Justin Hodges. Investigations Secretary Kimberly Newlon (not pictured).

Service Commendation for GIU Unit

Safe Driving Award

The Safe Driving Award is designed to recognize officers who have demonstrated exceptional skill and judgment while driving a police vehicle by having no at-fault collisions, as determined by the Awards Committee, at five-year increments – five, 10, 15 and 20 years. Officer Ryan Clark researched department records. The following officers were honored with Safe Driving Awards:

5-Year Awards: Officer Justin Canup and Det. Justin Hodges

10-Year Awards: Capt. Brian Laird, Officer Michael Redmon, and Det. James Robbins

15-Year Award: Officer Brian Kopischke

20-Year Award: Assistant Chief Stacey Grimes

Governor's Impaired Driving Enforcement Award




Officer Ryan Burrow

Officer Ryan Burrow

Each year the Governor's Office, along with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, gives out the Governor's Impaired Driving Enforcement Award to officers from agencies around the Commonwealth with the highest number of DUI arrests. On December 16, 2014, in Lexington, Paducah Police Officer Ryan Burrow was recognized at the annual Awards Ceremony.  Officer Burrow was the Paducah Police Department's top officer in arrests for driving under the influence offenses between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014.  Of the Department's total 241 DUI arrests in that time period, 41 were Burrow's.  The Paducah Police Department is part of Division 4 which is for agencies with 51-150 officers.








Citizen Service Award








Merle L. Paschedag, Jr.

On July 22, 2014, Officer Travis Counts was dispatched to a collision with injuries at the Beltline Highway and South 24th Street. When Officer Counts arrived, he found Merle Paschedag Jr. had the driver of one of the cars on the ground and was applying pressure to the man’s left eye. Mr. Paschedag told Officer Counts that the driver had sustained a substantial injury to his eye, and Officer Counts asked him to maintain pressure on the injury. Mr. Paschedag did so without question or concern for his own well-being, allowing officers to control the scene and investigate the collision. For these reasons, we are pleased to present Mr. Paschedag with a Civilian Service Award.



Merle Paschedag, Jr.