2015-02-20 / Front Page

Department names ‘Officer of the Year’

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

Officer Jonathan Stearns, South Portland Police Department’s Officer of the Year for 2015. (Courtesy photo) Officer Jonathan Stearns, South Portland Police Department’s Officer of the Year for 2015. (Courtesy photo) SOUTH PORTLAND — There’s always a sense of dread when a police officer stops in your dooryard . . . unless it’s snowing, and that officer happens to Jonathan Stearns of the South Portland Police Department.

Being the kind of public servant who will stop simply to help a resident struggling to get out of their driveway during a snowstorm is one of the characteristics that has earned Stearns three nominations as Officer of the Month since joining the South Portland Police Department in May 2013. He’s won the award twice and, and, on Wednesday, those awards were topped off with his designation as Officer of the Year.

Police Chief Ed Googins made the presentation at Wednesday’s city council meeting, after this week’s deadline.

However, in prepared remarks released prior to the ceremony, Googins said Stearns, who is assigned to the overnight 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift on Patrol Team E, “possesses the three ‘Cs.’”

“That is, he is ‘cool, calm and consistent,’” Googins said. “These are all desirable traits in a law enforcement officer. Officer Stearns is also acquiring a reputation for being proactive and thorough, and for maintaining a positive and professional demeanor. He comes to work each day prepared to serve our community and make South Portland a better place to live, work, visit and attend school.

“Even though the overnight working hours do not always translate into the best time to conduct follow up investigations, during 2014, Officer Stearns’ diligence was evident as he would come in early to follow through on cases that were generated overnight,” Googins said. “This perseverance led to the identification and arrest of a variety of suspects during the year.”

He’s also a lifesaver. Literally.

This past December, Stearns was called to a home to assist rescue personnel in what was described over the police radio as “a female who had fainted.” Stearns arrived on scene ahead of the ambulance and found a 14-year-old girl in the midst of a medical emergency — she was not breathing, and had no pulse. Stearns quickly launched into CPR, and was subsequently assisted by another officer arriving on scene and then EMTs.

“That young lady has since recovered,” Googins said.

The lieutenants and sergeants of the South Portland Police Department selected Stearns from a list of officers who had been named Officer of the Month during 2014. As Officer of the Year, he will receive two days off with pay, a personalized plaque and an award pin.

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