Luncheon recognizes Hoover Firefighter, Police Officer of the Year

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hoover Fire Chief Chuck Wingate speaks at the Hoover Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 17. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

Hoover Fire Chief Chuck Wingate speaks at the Hoover Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 17. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—More than 300 police officials and firefighters keep Hoover safe every day. On Feb. 17, several of these brave public safety officials were recognized at the 21st Hoover Chamber of Commerce Firefighter and Police Officer of the Year awards luncheon.

“Our employees are well trained and ready for anything that comes to the city,” Hoover Fire Chief Chuck Wingate said. “We prepare for it everyday and we pray it never happens.”

Senior Fire Inspector Richard Linn was named Hoover’s Firefighter of the Year. Linn began his career with the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service before joining the Hoover Fire Department in December 1993.

Wingate noted Linn’s willingness to help fellow firefighters and dedication to spreading fire prevention information.

“You can’t count the number of lives that have been saved by prevention and enforcement,” Wingate said, noting Linn’s efforts to bring fire safety and prevention information to children. “He has been involved in many special projects above and beyond (his duty)…He spends numerous hours teaching children.”

Capt. Tim Lawson was named Hoover’s Firefighter Paramedic of the year. Lawson joined the Hoover Fire Department in March 1999, he was promoted to lieutenant in February 2010 and was promoted to captain in January 2016.

Lawson has been a committed member of the department’s Special Response Team, Wingate said.

“His ability to work with others and his personality are an asset,” Wingate said. “(Lawson is) overall respected as an outstanding paramedic.”

Hoover Police Chief Nick Derzis presented the city’s Police Officer, Detention Officer and Telecommunicator of the Year.

“Today we’ll meet some employees who have done some amazing things,” Derzis said. “(This is) just a snapshot of what we do 365 days of the year, and I’d like to tell you I’m very proud to be associated with this police department.”

The Police Officer of the Year award was presented to Kyle Cutliff. Derzis noted Cutliff’s courage and selflessness, recounting an incident on Dec. 18, 2015, in which Cutliff responded to a fire call.

“Officer Cutliff, with little regard for his own safety, went into the smoke engulfed corridor,” Derzis said.

Cutliff alerted residents to the danger so they could evacuate. His actions saved the life of an elderly woman who otherwise may not have awoken in time to escape the fire, Derzis said.

Officer Tyrone McCall was named the Detention Officer of the Year. Derzis highlighted McCall’s diligence and commitment to his job.

This past year, McCall discovered concealed marijuana in a book sent to an inmate. Through his careful investigation, McCall found an incriminating phone conversation between the inmate and another person. McCall’s actions and work stopped an incident that “could have caused an array of problems,” Derzis said.

David Sibley was recognized as the Telecommunicator of the Year. In Oct. 2015, Sibley received a “frantic call from a citizen whose wife appeared to be in labor,” Derzis recalled.

Sibley talked the couple through the delivery and even guided the caller through safety procedure when the baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck.

Sibley’s efforts helped the couple through a successful delivery, Derzis said.

Also nominated for the Police Officer of the Year were Sgt. Jim Thorton and Officer Kyle Brohl.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of this department,” Derzis said. “I’ll tell you, there’s not a better police department in the state of Alabama.”