By GRACE GADDY
PALESTINE — Palestine police officers were honored Thursday night during a formal appreciation banquet held at the Ben E. Keith Community Room and hosted by the Citizens on Patrol Alumni Association.
During the event, Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert presented awards to three individuals selected by their peers in the department.
Donna Thornell was voted Civilian of the Year; Richard Johnson, Supervisor of the Year; and Marcos Lara, Officer of the Year.
“These individuals have made a difference in our department,” Herbert said, “so I'm thankful that we had a great ballot, and to everybody who voted.”
The 369th District Court Judge Bascom W. Bentley III spoke during the event and thanked officers for their commitment to the job.
“You put it on the line every night, every day. I mean you're in harm's way the first 30 seconds you're on the job, and the last too,” he said. “No one has to prove to me or anyone else that you've got what it takes.
“Every once in a while, you should get a 'thank you,' and that's one of the things tonight I'd like to mention.”
Brenda Galindo, community liaison for the department, said the banquet was put on by past members of the Citizens on Patrol class “to say thank you to the officers for all the hard work that they always do.”
The COP program is a free volunteer-based class that offers community members a chance to serve as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement. Graduates of the course assist the Palestine Police Department by going out on patrol, observing and reporting information.
Galindo said alumni of the program are looking to host the appreciatory banquet annually.
The Ben. E. Keith Community Room is located at 2019 W. Oak St.