The Kissimmee Police Department’s Annual Award Ceremony, an event celebrating the exemplary service and dedication of its members, was held at the Kissimmee Civic Center on Wednesday. The ceremony commenced with a presentation of colors by the Kissimmee Police Department Color Guard, setting a tone of respect and solemnity. The atmosphere was elevated by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem sung by Tiffany Jeffers, followed by an invocation delivered by KPD Lieutenant Brandin Suarez, which imbued the event with a sense of unity and purpose.

James Napier, serving as the master of ceremonies, steered the evening’s proceedings, introducing KPD Chief Betty Holland. Chief Holland extended a warm welcome to all attendees, acknowledging their collective efforts in fostering safety and community within Kissimmee. The ceremony was not just about accolades; it was a moment to reflect on the values that guide the Kissimmee Police Department: courage, honor, and commitment.

Attendees were treated to a delightful dinner prepared by the culinary talents at Florida Technical College, underscoring the community’s support and appreciation for the police department.

The highlight of the evening was the awards presentation, recognizing individuals whose exceptional service stood out in the past year. Awards were bestowed across various categories, celebrating the diverse roles within the department:

  • Communications Manager Mariam Habibzadegan was honored as Staff Officer of the Year, a testament to her leadership and operational excellence.
  • Telecommunicator Rikardo Georges was named Kissimmee Police Department Telecommunicator of the Year, recognized for his critical role in emergency communications.
  • Vanessa Nunez was celebrated as the Administrative Assistant/Clerk of the Year, her organizational skills and support being invaluable to the department’s efficiency.
  • Crime Scene Technician Isabella Bellomo, was named Support Person of the Year, was recognized for her meticulous work in crime scene investigations.
  • Community Service Officer Jack Flanary was recognized as Community Service Officer of the Year, highlighting his commitment to community engagement and safety.
  • Sergeant Brian Clyde was honored as Sergeant of the Year
  • Corporal Brandon Illgen was recognized as Corporal of the Year
  • Detective Mark Morris was named Detective of the Year
  • Officer Milagros Sanchez as Officer of the Year, for her outstanding dedication to duty.
  • Detective Cyle Smallwood was awarded the prestigious title of KPD Employee of the Year, embodying the highest standards of professionalism and service.

Here’s more about each deserving award recipient:

Mariam Habibzadegan, KPD’s Communications Manager and Staff Officer of the Year, embodies dedication and compassion. Behind the scenes, she commits to long workdays, ensuring seamless operations across all shifts. Her leadership style fosters collaboration, defending employees when needed. She prioritizes well-being, providing a comfortable break area and promoting a positive work environment. Mariam’s selflessness extends beyond duty, exemplified by her personal care for an ailing employee. Her impact resonates not only within her team but also across other agencies seeking her counsel.

Telecommunicator Rikardo Georges, honored as the Kissimmee Police Department Tele-communicator of the Year, exemplifies unwavering dedication. Beyond his scheduled hours, he volunteers tirelessly, ensuring seamless operations. His recent certification in quality control underscores his commitment to excellence. As a trainer, he not only excels but also significantly contributes to the department’s growth. Rikardo’s exemplary work ethic and positive impact position him as an ideal candidate for this prestigious award.

Vanessa Nunez, the Administrative Assistant/Clerk of the Year at the Kissimmee Police Department, is an unsung hero. When the records supervisor position became vacant, leaving additional gaps in the Records Department, Vanessa stepped up. She deftly managed daily operations, public records requests, and communication, all while maintaining her own workload. Her multitasking skills and commitment to keeping the team on track are commendable. Vanessa’s assistance extended even to the Criminal Investigation Division, where she supported detectives with reports and body cam footage. Her dedication deserves this well-earned award.

Support Person of the Year Isabella Bellomo, a dedicated Crime Scene Technician (CST) at the Kissimmee Police Department, embodies leadership and excellence. During her supervisor’s medical leave from May to July 2023, Isabella stepped up as an informal leader and trained two fellow crime scene technicians. She fearlessly led investigations into four of the seven homicides that year, demonstrating unwavering commitment. Isabella’s approachable demeanor and professional communication make her a go-to resource for officers and staff. Her availability and selflessness have earned her the well-deserved title of Support Person of the Year.

Community Service Officer of the Year Jack Flanary, a beacon of dedication, stands out in the Community Engagement Unit. His unwavering work ethic, reliability, and punctuality are commendable. Jack orchestrates impactful events like the annual National Night Out and ensures successful Red Ribbon Awareness presentations in local schools. His resourcefulness shines—procuring additional bicycle helmets during a giveaway event and collaborating on Thanksgiving meals for children. Jack’s exceptional character and selflessness make him a true team player and a well-deserving Officer of the Year

Sergeant Brian Clyde, the Community Service Officer of the Year, is renowned for his exceptional leadership and dedication. Not only does he expertly guide his colleagues in their duties, but he also forges personal connections, shaping them into outstanding individuals. His wealth of knowledge encourages innovative thinking, and during roll calls, he facilitates open discussions on critical incidents, drawing from his extensive experience. Sergeant Clyde’s unwavering work ethic, passion for teaching, and positive attitude make him an invaluable asset to the Kissimmee Police Department’s Patrol Division, earning him the well-deserved title of Sergeant of the Year1.

Corporal of the Year, Brandon Illgen, assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division since June 2022, exemplifies exceptional leadership and mentorship. He actively guides newer detectives, conducts weekly training sessions, and plays a pivotal role in high-priority cases. As a veteran member of the SWAT team, Corporal Illgen’s dedication, professionalism, and reliability make him a deserving recipient of the Corporal of the Year award

Detective of the Year Mark Morris, unmatched in dedication and dependability, leads the charge in the Major Crimes Unit. Amidst a challenging year with seven homicides, including two on the same day, Detective Morris emerged as the lead investigator for two cases and co-lead for three others. His unwavering commitment extends to mentally taxing situations, such as responding to a local hospital where a four-year-old arrived with a gunshot wound. Despite juggling roles in the Crisis Negotiation Team, Marine Unit, and as an EVOC instructor, Detective Morris remains relentless in his pursuit of justice. His tireless efforts have rightfully earned him the esteemed title of Detective of the Year

Officer of the Year Milagros Sanchez, a dedicated and compassionate officer, consistently goes above and beyond her call of duty. She takes the time to connect with citizens in her assigned area, building rapport and ensuring their needs are met. Officer Sanchez’s commitment extends to her fellow officers, and she has recently taken on the role of a Field Training Officer. Her thorough understanding of case law and department policies reflects her seriousness in shaping the agency’s future. Notably, Officer Sanchez has initiated a health-focused program within her squad. Her unwavering dedication has rightfully earned her the prestigious title of Officer of the Year

Detective of the Year Cyde Smallwood, an integral part of the Criminal Investigations Division since 2020, exemplifies unwavering dedication. After serving in the Property Crimes Unit, he transferred to the Major Crimes Unit. In March 2023, Detective Smallwood cut short his vacation to lead a homicide investigation, skillfully obtaining a suspect identification that resulted in an arrest warrant. His impact extends across the entire division, making him a well-deserved recipient of the Employee of the Year award

The ceremony was not just an occasion to honor individual achievements but also a celebration of the collective spirit and dedication of the Kissimmee Police Department. It served as a reminder of the vital role law enforcement plays in our communities and the unwavering commitment of those who don the uniform to serve and protect. The Annual Award Ceremony was a testament to the excellence and dedication of the Kissimmee Police Department’s employees and officers, whose efforts continue to make a significant impact on the community they serve.

For more information about the Kissimmee Police Department, visit here.