On hand for Friday’s awards program were, from left, Judd Lyons, Maj. Gen. US Army Daryl Bohac (ret.), Imperial Police Officer Daniel Morales, Imperial Police Chief Ryan Wisnieski and Nebraska ESGR Chairman Paul Cohen, Brig Gen USAF (ret). (Courtesy photo)
Police department garners Nebraska’s highest award for support of military
Imperial’s Police Department is a small force of four officers.
Because of its size and providing 24-hour daily coverage, Chief Ryan Wisnieski said the officers all work well together and “help each other out” when needed.
That opinion is apparently shared by state military officials who awarded the IPD one of its highest awards Friday night given to Nebraska employers who support employees in the Guard or Reserve.
Chief Wisnieski and Officer Daniel Morales attended the annual banquet of the Nebraska Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and accepted the Pro Patria Award, considered the organization’s highest award.
The Latin words Pro Patria mean “For one’s country.”
Each year, the state committee gives the Pro Patria Award to one small, one large and one public sector employer.
The IPD won the award in the public sector division.
Morales, an IPD officer since November 2015, served a six-year commitment in the Army National Guard from 2012 to this year. He will remain an inactive Reserve member until 2020.
He initially nominated the IPD for the U.S. Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
Morales’ nomination was one of 2,330 received from across the U.S. and made the national semi-finalist list of 149.
While the IPD didn’t reach the finalist list of 30, state ESGR officials say it’s laudable to make the cut to 149.
“The competition is pretty stiff at the national level,” said Bill Nelson of Lincoln, ESGR Volunteer Support Technician.
Just looking at the public sector division, Nelson said Imperial was up against about 20 other police departments of all sizes as they pared the finalist list to 30.
Nelson said in choosing their state Pro Patria winners, a state ESGR committee reviewed all of the national Freedom Award nominations from Nebraska and selected three. The IPD was one of their picks.
In his nomination letter, Morales said, “It is an amazing feeling to be able to have colleagues that support my endeavors.”
He noted Wisnieski and Sgt. Chad Ostmeyer contacted him regularly during his two-week annual trainings and on drill weekends once a month. Officers often visited his parents and fiancee while he was away, Morales wrote.
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