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VFW honorees exemplify leadership

The two recipients of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5184’s annual law enforcement and firefighter of the year awards both exemplify leadership within a young department, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by their chiefs.

Russellville Police Department lieutenant Scotty Lowery was named the J. Edgar Hoover Gold Medal Award honoree for Post 5184 at a ceremony held Sunday afternoon following the annual Russellville Veterans Day Parade.

Russellville Fire Department lieutenant Johnathon Pace was honored as Post 5184’s nominee for the Emergency Services Gold Medal Award for the oustanding local firefighter of the year.

Lowery has 24 years’ experience with RPD, where he has served as a patrolman, investigations sergeant, investigations lieutenant, criminal and narcotics investigator and senior patrol lieutenant. After years of working in the RPD investigative division, Lowery recently returned to the streets as a senior patrol lieutenant. RPD chief Chris Hargett said Lowery’s experience and dedication serve as an example to the many young officers in the department.

“His experience and years of service and his dedication to the department are primary reasons he is being honored today,” Hargett said. “Lieutenant Lowery has a willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of him, and he’s a positive influence on other officers, particularly the younger officers in our department.”

Lowery served in the United States Army National Guard from 1991-94, and his first patrol officer job was with Phil Campbell Police Department. His training and experience includes certification as a basic narcotic investigator; operator with the Franklin County Special Response Team, where he was placed in charge of intelligence operations; advanced sexual assault investigation; certification as a hazardous materials technician, homicide investigator, TASER instructor, basic internal affairs investigator, advanced interview and interrogation certification; and FBI certification as a crisis negotiator.

Lowery was promoted to lieutenant in 2006, and he earned the RPS Outstanding Service Award that same year. With a department that has only 20 years of combined experience in its patrol division, Lowery said he wanted to return to patrol to work with younger officers and better serve his department.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve finally come full circle from patrol to investigations to narcotics and criminal investigations, and now back to patrol again. With such a young department, we felt it would be beneficial to the department for me to return to senior patrol lieutenant this year. I want to do whatever works best for this department.”

Pace began his tenure with the Russellville Fire Department in May of 1999. RFD chief Joe Mansell said Pace has always focused on pushing himself on the educational aspects of the job and he works diligently to pass that knowledge on to younger firefighters. Pace was promoted to lieutenant on December 19, 2011.

“Johnathon is one of those who always shows dedication,” Mansell said. “He goes above and beyond every day, and he’s not afraid to pass his knowledge on to the younger group. He’s always striving to do better, and as a lieutenant he strives daily to see his guys do better. He’s a very appropriate recipient of today’s award.”

Pace’s training in the fire safety field includes certification as a firefighter 1 and 2, fire investigator, EMT Basic, fire instructor 1 and 2, fire inspector 1 and 2, hazardous materials technician, rescue technician for confined space and trench and fire officer 1 and 2.

Pace and his wife April have three children, Daniel, Carson and Malorie.

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