Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik presented annual awards for police officers at the Saline City Council Meeting this week. This included recognition of two individuals and one team of three who demonstrated exemplary skills and attitude.
Sgt. Jay Basso received the Marksman of the Year Award. Basso is second in command of the Saline Police Department and is in charge of training. He has served in the department for 19 years. Basso scored 94 percent in a competition with other skilled shooters in the department, edging out last year’s winner, Sergeant Andrew Hartwig. This was Basso’s second marksmanship award.
Sgt. Basso, along with Officer David Ringe and Officer Chris Boulter also received a commendation for their handling of an armed robbery at Wendy’s on Michigan Avenue. The incident occurred on December 14, 2015 while Basso was working in dispatch.
Basso sent units to respond to the crime, informing officers of the suspect’s description and the direction that they fled. Officer Boulter discovered and forwarded additional information enabling Pittsfield officers to spot the suspect’s vehicle northbound on State. He later assisted in apprehending the suspect at Briarwood Mall.
Officer Ringe was involved in the initial pursuit and later followed up at Wendy’s to gather evidence and testimony. His work and further research by Basso led to the arrest of a second suspect who was an employee at Wendy’s.
As a result of the the team effort, two suspects were arrested and charged and all of the pilfered loot was returned to Wendy’s.
While it is valuable for the police to be skilled at apprehending criminals and being prepared to shoot when necessary, it is also good to think of them as public servants ready to help people in need. Officer John Belknap was commended for being that kind of officer. Belknap received several notes in the past year expressing gratitude for service above and beyond the call of duty. One letter read by Chief Hrinik told of how Belknap had assisted a man in repairing broken lights on his trailer.
“The concern the officer showed for my safety and others is beyond reason,” the note said. “I don't know many people that would go that extra mile to help somebody else.”