Jason Shields learned after his first year as an officer with the Tyler Police Department there was more to working in law enforcement than the things he'd seen on television.
"I would say my first year was eye opening," Shields said. "You start to realize its not just putting bad guys in jail. There are a lot of things you can do for people in your community."
That idea stuck with him and during his 12 years with the department he has often gone the extra mile to help people who are in need.
Once while responding to a traffic call he encountered a citizen whose car had stopped because it had a dying battery. When Shields learned the person couldn't afford to replace the battery, he went to buy one for the vehicle.
There are similar stories about him providing food for the hungry and toys for children who have few or no luxuries.
"He cares about people," said Jon Pitts, an officer with the Tyler Police Department who has worked closely with Shields. "If they need some kind of guidance in their life he is looking to give that to them."
Those qualities eanred Shields the honor of Tyler Police Department's 2016 Officer of the Year. He was recognized in an award ceremony Tuesday night at the Harvey Convention Center.
Shields said receiving the award was a big surprise to him and credits mentors and coworkers such as Pitts and Lt. Paul Robeson as sources of inspiration.
"It was very humbling especially against the caliber of officers I've worked with," Shields said. "To be picked out of that group means a lot."
SWORN SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR - Lieutenant Paul Robeson
Officials said Robeson has made it clear that anyone can call him at any hour. He backs up officers and he is described as fair, approachable and understanding. He has a strong work ethic and gets assignments done with a positive attitude. He has transitioned from several different assignments in a short time and cares for the community and those he works with.
PLAINCLOTHES OFFICER OF THE YEAR – Detective Jason Compton
Compton works with other departments such as Child Protective Service and Children's Advocacy Center on investigations. Officials said he does his job with professionalism and is respected by his peers inside and outside the department. Two cases from this detective went to trial in 2016 and each suspect received life sentences.
ROOKIE OFFICER OF THE YEAR – Officer Sara Doss
Nominees for Rookie of the Year have less than two years of service as an officer with the department. Officials said Doss has made many self-initiated arrests varying from driving while intoxicated to drug arrests. She was recognized for her enthusiasm for learning and initiative in her professional development.
UNIT OF THE YEAR – Property and Evidence Division
The united was recognized for handling a growing work load without an increase in space. The team also was recognized for its teamwork, expertise and its leadership.
CIVILIAN SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR – Marisa Pittman
Pittman, who has been with the city for more than 10 years, was recognized for her vast knowledge and how quickly she learned new tasks required to take on a new supervisory role.
CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR – Sara Funderburg
Funderburg was recognized for excellent organizational skills and enthusiasm. She received training and has become fluent in Texas's Open Record Act and is considered the go-to person with those types of questions.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – Chaplain Doug Haning
Haning was described as cheerful and welcoming to everyone he meets, and officials said he makes everyone feel appreciated. Officials noted how frequently he visits to encourage officers and employees and his willingness to help.
Tyler Patrolman's Association President's Award – Kevin Eltife
Tyler Patrolman's Association Excellence in Policing Award - Officer Chuck Barber
FOP Fraternal Order of Police Brother or Sister of the Year – Sgt. J.H. Burge
Civilian Employee of the Year - Sara Funderburg
Life Saving Awards:
Officer Jeremy Thompson, Officer Rebekah Hutson, Officer Joshua Darty, Sgt. Ethan Johnson, Officer Mitch Archbell, Hillary Erbaugh, Officer John Hebert, Officer Kerri Long
POLICE COMMENDATION :
Detective Michelle Brock, Officer Mitch Archbell, Sgt. James Freeman, Officer Melinda Weaver, Officer Scott Morales, Officer John Hebert, Officer Rodney Simington, Officer Robert Main.
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
Officer Don Martin, Sgt. David Hall, Detective David Cook, Officer Luis Aparicio, ATF Special Agent Craig Redden, Detectives Andrew Mackey, Dt. Adam Parker, Dt. Mitch Rogers, Dt. Greg Harry, Sergeant Darin Grissom, and Officer's Steve Black and Officer Garrett Martin. Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force-Tyler Division – Agent Steve Tiller, Agent Brian Leach, Dt. Sam Riggle, Dt. Melvin Hill and Dt. Gregg Roberts. Diane Ballard, Danielle Gruenwald, Donna Tarrant, Candy Schaub, Sara Funderburg.
Officer Edgar Zapata, Officer Chuck Boyce, Officer Luis Aparicio and Officer Steve Black.
CITIZEN CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
Bethany Falls, Kenneth Mathews, Constable Glenn Stone, Taylor Garner, Lauren Darby, Jennifer Vargas, and Leigh Ann Rozell.