The Paducah Police Department's 2019 employee of the year had never worked a full year on his own for the department until last year.
Officer William Hendrickson, who joined the force in 2017 and finished his probationary period in 2018, was honored with the award at the PPD's award ceremony Tuesday night at Walker Hall.
Hendrickson, who served 14 years as a military policeman before joining PPD, quickly acquired a reputation for traffic enforcement, particularly DUI stops, and received a Governor's Impaired Driving Enforcement Award last year.
Hendrickson said he was "humbled" to be recognized so soon after joining the department.
"It's awesome that my peers … would put me in for an award like this. It makes me feel pretty good," he said.
Chief Brian Laird praised Hendrickson as a "solid employee with a good head on his shoulders."
Laird, who took the reins at the department in December 2018, said he was pleased with his first year as chief, and presenting the awards filled him with pride.
"It's very exciting for me to be able to recognize the hard work of the officers," he said, lauding "the selfless service that these guys do on a daily basis."
Four new recruits were sworn in that the ceremony, which also saw awards presented for civilians and officers alike who had saved lives or performed beyond the usual call of duty.
In addition to employee of the year, other awards included:
Meritorious Service Award: Officer Andrew J. Parrish, for saving a woman from a burning vehicle after a wreck, while injuring himself in the process. Chief's Award: Detective Kevin Wilson, for, among other service, administering lifesaving aid to the victim of a crash following a police pursuit. 15-year Safe Driving Awards: Sgt. Troy Turner, Chief Brian Laird. Civilian Service Awards: Ryan Johnston, Gary Schaaf and Amanda Cothran, for helping to reverse the effects of an overdose and safe a life.