Vergennes police laud, promote officers

VERGENNES — Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel honored two members of his department for saving the life of a resident during a recent White Street fire. The award was given at the department’s annual awards ceremony, which was held at the start of the city council’s Feb. 10 meeting.
Acknowledged for their efforts in saving an elderly and handicapped woman during the night of Jan. 15 were officers Patrick Greenslet and Jacob Ouellette.
Merkel recounted that the woman was asleep in her apartment and completely unaware of a fire that destroyed much of the structure. When the resident did not respond to their knocks, Merkel said Greenslet and Ouellette kicked in her door, awoke her and assisted her from the burning building.
Greenslet also received the department’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Award for what Merkel called his “superior efforts during the year of 2014 in the area of traffic enforcement.”
Two members of the department were promoted: Ouellette to the rank of detective sergeant and Officer Brent Newton to the rank of patrol sergeant. Merkel said the promotions were earned “due to their leadership and dedication to duty.”
In addition, Officer Adam O’Neill was recognized for reaching his third-year anniversary in the department with a patrolman’s chevron, and Officer William Wager was awarded his second service stripe for his 10 years of service. Merkel noted Wager’s dedication to the department and “extremely loyal service.” 
Merkel and O’Neill also introduced Kane, the department’s new canine officer and O’Neill’s work partner.
Merkel also spoke of “the sacrifices and challenges of law enforcement officers in today’s world and how much more dangerous the profession has become over the past years.” He reminded the couple dozen witnesses of the ceremony that “the greatest assets to the Vergennes Police Department and the City of Vergennes were the officers themselves,” and cited “their hard work, dedication and their respect for the people they deal with, even when respect is not always given in return.”
Merkel also thanked the city council and Vergennes citizens “for their tremendous support over the past five years” since he became the chief of police, as well as voting for and providing the department’s new police station.

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