Pennsylvania VFW names Ephrata man police officer of the year

By on May 18, 2016
Priscilla Eberly, state Rep. Dave Zimmerman’s chief of staff, presenting Sgt. Eric Schmitt a citation.

Priscilla Eberly, state Rep. Dave Zimmerman’s chief of staff, presenting Sgt. Eric Schmitt a citation.

The Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars named an Ephrata man as police officer of the year at its recent statewide public safety awards.

Eric Schmitt, a sergeant in the Ephrata Police Department’s Patrol Division, was nominated by VFW Post 3376 in Ephrata.

In the nomination letter, Post 3376 Commander Dwayne MacKenzie commended Schmitt for his outstanding service to the town of Ephrata.

“Sgt. Schmitt’s community service record and his personal and professional conduct make him an excellent recipient of this award. While I have known him, Eric has been an invaluable asset to the Ephrata Police Department,” MacKenzie said. “Last year, he became the first officer in Lancaster County to administer the heroin antidote Narcan and revived a person who overdosed on heroin, saving his life. This action, along with his outstanding record of public service as a police officer and member of the community, are worthy of special recognition.”

Schmitt has also served as a military policeman in the U.S. Army and has served with the Ephrata Police Department for 25 years. He supervises the department’s daily patrol functions including traffic enforcement, emergency calls for service, reported crime and in-progress criminal incidents.

He also supervises, processes and investigates major crime scenes in Ephrata and Lancaster County as part of the County Major Crimes Forensic Team. His involvement beyond the local scene has involved assisting in the development and revision of crime scene investigation training modules for the Municipal Police Officer Education and Training Commission.

Schmitt has received several commendations and awards including the Lancaster County Officer of the Year and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner’s Award. Certified to train police officers, his professional affiliations include the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, the International Association for Property and Evidence and other groups.

Schmitt’s community service includes being a Scout leader, youth sports coach and volunteer.

“The VFW has a long tradition of honoring and supporting veterans for their role in protecting and preserving freedom. We also proudly honor and support public safety personnel who put their lives on the line every day to protect us where we live, work and play,” VFW State Commander Glenn R. Umberger Jr. said. “Americans are able to enjoy life knowing that there are dedicated professionals who train and work hard to assist persons facing disasters and life-threatening situations. We thank our award recipients for answering the call to fill a vital role in our communities so others can live confidently while our fire, police and EMT personnel have their backs when times get tough.”

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