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Roanoke Rapids police Chief Shane Guyant honored several officers during Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The awards included purple hearts, law enforcement certificates, community engagement and lifesaving.

“I’m excited because this is an opportunity to highlight our greatest asset we have in city government — that’s our employees,” the chief told the council. “My police officers, I love them to death. I think the world of them. They have done nothing but impress me since I came here seven months ago. I am just so honored to do what I have to do tonight.”

Before giving the awards Guyant told the panel the department now has two vacancies. “When I came here we had 12. So we really worked our butts off to correct that and to make the city safer. My key word to my staff and my employees is be seen — have those black and yellow cars seen by everybody in the city.”

The following officers received awards:

Nicole Powell

Powell received her intermediate law enforcement certificate and a purple heart.

“She is a go-getter,” Guyant said. “She never turns down an opportunity to learn. The community loves her and loves everything about her.”

The intermediate law enforcement certificate is awarded to officers who are early into their careers. “They have really excelled in education and different training courses they have obtained. After this comes the advanced award and she will soon get that one day down the road.”

Powell was awarded the Purple Heart Award for a call on July 12 of last year when she responded to a disconnected 911 call where dispatchers could hear fighting in the background.

Powell noticed a woman was in distress and a man “was very agitated and hard to get along with.”

Powell made her way into the residence and noticed the woman had been assaulted. 

The man swung at her when she went to take him into custody. She raised her arm and the blow caused nerve damage for which she required surgery.

Isaac Neilsen

Neilsen received a Purple Heart Award for an October 21 call last year.

Around 2 a.m. officers were chasing a suspect with warrants. Neilsen stepped into an area on the pavement and tore his ACL. “Even under extreme pain Officer Neilsen fought to get this subject into custody.”

Jay Conrad

Conrad received a commendation for what ended up being an unsuccessful life-saving attempt on December 4 of last year.

“In this job sometimes you win some and sometimes you don’t,” Guyant said. “Sometimes you save a life and sometimes you don’t.”

During a call Conrad noticed a bystander was performing CPR. 

With an EMS and first responder background, Guyant said Conrad knew what needed to be done. “He wasted no time. He didn’t belabor the point whatsoever. He started performing CPR with everything he had for as long as he possibly could. He applied AED and did everything he possibly could to revive this victim but was unable to save her life.”

Guyant said the family asked if there was something that could be done to recognize him. “They will forever be thankful for what you tried to do for them. You showed compassion, you showed love and showed a heart. You definitely live by our first core value of service and you did everything you could to save this lady’s life. Although the end was not what we wanted this to be, you were there for that family.”

Matt Hunsucker

Recently promoted to lieutenant, Guyant said Hunsucker “has been a leader from day one.”

Hunsucker received his advanced law enforcement certification. “This is a very prestigious award. It takes a lot to get this award — a lot of education, a lot of time and a lot of dedication to this craft that we call law enforcement.”

Joey Spragins

A sergeant, Spragins is president of the Roanoke Rapids Police Club and received the Community Service Award.

The club raises money for kids at Christmas, holds a summer camp and has recently taken on raising money for Project Lifesaver, a program to quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering.

“Sergeant Spragins is community engagement,” Guyant said. “Everything he does is about helping the community get better. Through the police club he makes sure our children and adults in our city are taken care of. This man gives everything he can to make sure that our community is strong.”