An officer who saved a motorcyclist in a fiery crash was among four Cincinnati Police officers and administrators honored for valor, leadership and career achievement at Rotary Club of Cincinnati’s annual Cincinnati Police Recognition Day on April 26.
The Rotary Club of Cincinnati initiated the Rotary Awards more than a decade ago to honor excellence in key public service professions.
Honorees were: Officer James Mathews of Wyoming, honored for valor; Sgt. Jonathan Cunningham of Mt. Airy, honored for superior achievement; Lt. Emmett Gladden of Springfield Township, honored for administrative excellence and Lt. Col. Mike John of Delhi Township, honored for career enhancement.
The award ceremony was at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel in downtown Cincinnati. Assistant Police Chief Teresa Theetge of Miami Township introduced the honorees and their accomplishments to the crowd of more than 100 at the Rotary Club of Cincinnati luncheon event.
Officer James Mathews, District 3, received the Valor/Hero award for exceptional life-saving or outstanding heroic effort.
On Aug. 8, 2017, Officer Mathews was on patrol when he came upon a crashed motorcycle on fire and its driver, Damien Canady, seriously injured, said Theetge.
Mathews pulled Canady from the fire and started lifesaving efforts. He alerted Cincinnati Fire and Rescue as well as additional police, cleared vehicle and pedestrian traffic and assured the safety of the victim, a growing crowd of bystanders and the emergency responders.
Canady was stabilized at University Hospital, where Mathews followed up to check on the extent of his injuries. Theetge said Canady would have died had it not been for Mathews’ quick action.
Sgt. Jonathan Cunningham, District 4, received the Superior Achievement award, for the officer maintains a high degree of professionalism, and who exemplifies the tradition of community-inclusive street policing.
Theetge said Cunningham leads the District 4 Violent Crimes Squad, which has seen a 32% reduction in violent crime since 2017. In the past year, the squad made more than 100 arrests, executed 10 search warrants, made more than 20 firearms recoveries and seized large quantities of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and marijuana and more than $270,000 in drug money.
Theetge praised Cunningham’s commitment, professionalism and leadership as he directed training and tactics, mentored officers and worked with federal and local law enforcement and government partners to make the community safe.
Lt. Emmett Gladden received the Administrative excellence award recognizing outstanding service in administrative performance.
As adjutant to Police Chief Eliot Isaac, Lt. Gladden is the spokesperson for the Cincinnati Police Department and the liaison between the chief and bureau commanders, other agencies and city residents, Theetge said.
“He is known for his professionalism, his attention to detail and his knowledge of policies and procedures and his ability to build camaraderie within the department.”
Lt. Gladden has been on the Cincinnati Police Force for almost 30 years and has been adjutant to the chief since 2014.
Lt. Col. Michael K. John received the Career Enhancement/Department Advancement award, which recognizes furthering skills through self-motivation and training and going beyond the call of duty to advance the mission of the Department.
Lt. Col. John has a 22-year history of leadership and innovation in the Cincinnati Police Department, said Theetge. “He was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2016 and named Investigations Bureau Commander for the Department. He oversees the Criminal Investigations and Special Investigations Sections. This includes all Homicide Units: Sexual Crimes; Financial Crimes; Vice; Narcotics and Intelligence Operations.”
Lt. Col. John also is a lead Law Enforcement Liaison for the City of Cincinnati’s Violence Reduction Strategic Plan and is joint coordinator of the Cincinnati Police Department’s Priority Offender Initiative.
“He has been instrumental in developing enforcement and violence reduction programs that have changed the way the community and its residents are protected,” said Theetge.
“In 2014, while he was commander of District 1, he helped develop a community problem solving initiative in response to prostitution-related crimes. The initiative, which used innovative ideas of beat officers and of a local judge, led to a program providing resources for recovery, addiction services and paths to re-entry into society.
“In 2015, as operational commander of the Special Services Section, he led a department-wide initiative to curb violent crime. The operation led to a city-wide approach toward victim, offender, and place-based initiative programs.
“Lt. Col. John has been a consultant for the State of Ohio Department of Youth Services and guest lecturer at the Southern Police Institute. His areas of expertise include: police management; violence reduction, focused deterrence, data analytics and visualization, opioid abuse, evidence-based policing, place-based policing, and police and academic partnerships.”