Grandview Heights police officer Greg Gillespie has been named as the department's 2012 officer of the year.
The annual award is voted on by police officers and sergeants, Chief David Wood said.
"A recognition from the chief would be nice, but what makes this award extra special is that Greg was selected by his fellow officers -- his pals," Wood said. "I think it means that much more when your fellow officers who are out there on the street with you recognize the job you're doing."
Gillespie received 13 of 17 votes cast, he said.
He was recognized at a Grandview City Council meeting Monday, Feb. 4, during which Wood also presented him with medal of merit.
The medal was presented to Gillespie in recognition of a Dec. 26 incident in which he stopped a vehicle at Dublin Road and West Fifth Avenue occupied by two known drug users and 22.3 grams of black-tar heroin and drug-trafficking paraphernalia.
The two men later were charged with felony drug trafficking.
"That was 230 dose units of heroin we recovered," Wood said. "Greg has really been passionate about combating the spread of black-tar heroin in our community, and here was a case where his hard work paid off."
Gillespie said he and other officers had been familiarizing themselves with information regarding suspected drug traffickers and he recognized the vehicle.
"When they ran a red light, we stopped the vehicle and discovered who they were," he said.
"Anything I can do to help make our community safer, that's why you become a police officer," Gillespie said.
He said he was inspired to go into law enforcement by his mother, who was a police officer in northeast Ohio.
Gillespie joined the Grandview police department as a dispatcher in 1999 and became an officer in 2003.
"There's a great deal of satisfaction being able to help people when they are at an all-time low point," he said.
Working in a small community such as Grandview allows an officer to get to know its residents and "to do all different aspects of the job. There's a lot more variety in your duties then you would have in a large city."
Receiving the votes of so many of his colleagues "was definitely a big honor," Gillespie said.
"I get the chance to work with a great group of officers in our department. We all help each other."