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2011 Officer of the Year


The Police Officer of the Year Award is given annually to that officer who embodies a high moral character and demonstrates exemplary performance in all areas of police work, and more importantly, strives to help the community in which he serves grow and flourish. This officer gives more of himself than asked, and often makes sacrifices to benefit the greater good, without expectation of acknowledgement.


Detective Ripley (left) and Officer Sowers (right) were awarded Officer of the Year for 2011 at the awards ceremony on March 23, 2012.  Scroll down to read some of their achievements! 



Detective Ripley embodies every aspect of this award. Throughout his career with the department, he has demonstrated on a daily basis what it means to be a York City Police Officer; integrity, strong work ethic, professionalism and dedication to duty and sacrifice. His accomplishments in 2011 exemplify each of the above listed qualities.
Detective Ripley was the primary investigator in three homicides in 2011; the Luis Cruz homicide, that resulted in the arrest of Carlos Corderro, the Eddie Rivera homicide, that resulted in the arrest of Sebastian Olmeda, and the Jesse Heverling homicide, that resulted in the arrest of Bruce Williams. He also assisted in four other homicides, all of which resulted in arrests.
In addition to working on homicide cases, Detective Ripley conducted several major robbery investigations in 2011. His most significant investigations included investigating a multi-jurisdictional Latin King robbery crew which was robbing restaurants, convenience stores and street robberies. Detective Ripley was able to identify three of the perpetrators and cleared several robberies in the YorkCity area. Through this investigation he was able to provide sufficient information to SpringGardenTownship and West York Borough that lead to arrests in their cases as well.
Detective Ripley also worked with D1C Spence and Officer Sowers in identifying and arresting a robbery crew responsible for approximately 20 armed robberies, 4 car jackings and several shootings in the York City area as well as Spring Garden and Northern York County Regional’s jurisdiction. Charges stemming from this investigation ranged from robbery to homicide.
Detective Ripley goes above and beyond to share information with other law enforcement agencies, making himself readily available to assist. Throughout 2011, he provided valuable assistance to several other law enforcement agencies resulting in multiple felony arrests. His relationships with outside agencies proved instrumental in 2011, when a strong relationship with Juvenile Probation was needed due to a significant upswing in juvenile offenders committing violent crimes in YorkCity. 
Detective Ripley’s communication skills are also evident within the department. He consistently disseminates information and criminal intelligence reports from the Detective Bureau to patrol divisions and other agencies. These reports vary from crime pattern analysis to officer safety issues vital to the safe daily operations within the department.
Another attribute of Detective Ripley is his dedication to enhancing law enforcement efforts. Without any prompting, he has made himself the resident “expert” in cell phones and social media, going as far as to contact phone companies and social networking sites to learn how evidence can be retrieved and the legal requirements needed to obtain such evidence. He also serves as a certified “SPEAR” instructor for the department, bringing the same integrity and passion to training as with any of his investigations. 
In every aspect of his career, Detective Ripley goes above and beyond dedicating his time and patience to solving crimes, communicating intelligence to co-workers and other law enforcement and enhancing departmental operations. His dedication to his work is surpassed only by his love for his wife and two beautiful daughters, who mean the world to him.  
In April 2009, Officer Sowers was assigned to the West End Neighborhood Enforcement Unit, where he and two other officers’ primary assignment was the area in and around West and Princess St. Officer Sowers was the senior officer and his duties included but were not limited to street level drug investigations, quality of life enforcement and monitoring of Gus’ Bar, which had become a drug haven within the area. Although Officer Sowers worked within a unit, his special talent and expertise for undercover drug investigations resulted in continuous arrests, drug and cash seizures and overall pressure on the drug dealers within his assignment area. Within the three-year period that he worked part time undercover drug investigations, Officer Sowers was instrumental in assisting with the seizure of 310.1 grams of cocaine, 1229.7 grams of marijuana and 127 felony drug arrests.
Officer Sowers also possessed a keen sense for names and faces of repeat offenders throughout the city and this unique trait was tapped into by the Detective Bureau on many occasions to either assist with an investigation or track down felony offenders who may have had outstanding warrants. One such occasion was in June when Officer Sowers received a phone call at the York City Police Department front desk stating that they had information on a wanted felon for Attempted Homicide. Officer Sowers verified the information, stating the suspect was in Shippensburg, then went along with YorkCity detectives and assisted in the coordination of information which subsequently led to the suspect’s arrest. This is just one of the many examples of Officer Sowers using his investigative talents coupled with his street sense to assist with investigations and make good arrests.
Additionally, Officer Sowers, working within his unit in 2011 was instrumental in conducting numerous investigations into Gus’ Bar and in conjunction with the LCB, was able to close the bar down for good in July 2011. The bar had plagues the area for over 20 years and was a haven for drug transactions, drug dealers, guns, fights and shootings. Officer Sowers, along with his unit, demonstrated tenacity over a period of time documenting arrests made and events which had taken place at the bar, making it a nuisance for the area. He was the liaison with the LCB and made it a point to repeatedly send them multiple files on arrests made in and around the bar and subsequently testified many times at LCB hearings resulting in the final closure of the bar.
Although Officer Sowers has been part of a unit for the past six years he has repeatedly shown that on numerous occasion he can rise to the top with his independent skills in both investigations, street savvy and enforcement.



Officer John Reisenweber

The Police Officer of the Year Award is given annually to that officer who embodies a high moral character and demonstrates exemplary performance in all areas of police work, and more importantly, strives to help the community in which he serves grow and flourish. This officer gives more of himself than asked, and often makes sacrifices to benefit the greater good, without expectation of acknowledgement.

During the year of 2010, Officer Reisenweber investigated and brought 27 Felonies and 24 Misdemeanors for crime committed against the citizens of York, Pa. These crimes covered a myriad of offenses, from Aggravated Assaults and Robberies to Theft of Identity and Intimidation of a Witness. All of which required a substantial amount of investigation and perseverance. While handling day-to-day patrol duties, he also performed his duties as a Crime Scene Investigator, and a Field Training Officer. During the final months of 2009 and early January 2010, he was responsible for investigating and processing several burglaries and car break-ins. At one particular crime scene, he was able to recover a shoe impression cast left by the suspect. With this evidence, the Detective Bureau was able to identify and eventually charge an individual with committing over 35 burglaries with in the City of York.
In January, Officer Reisenweber investigated a Robbery in which two YorkHigh School students were robbed while walking home from school. Through coordination with the YorkHigh School Administration, the actors were identified and arrested, and the stolen property returned.
In February, he investigated another Robbery that had occurred at Yongs Store located at 255 South Penn Street. During this incident, four juvenile suspects utilized firearms in committing the crime. This officer obtained surveillance video, and through several interviews, identified and charged all four with this crime, and removed three firearms from the street. He then assisted officers in capturing three other suspects that had fired a handgun in the area of 123 Jefferson Ave. The three suspects were charged and another handgun was recovered and removed from the streets.
In March, he investigated another Robbery of a juvenile that had occurred at West and Princess Streets. Again, through extensive interviews this officer identified and charged three other juveniles for this incident.
In May, he investigated several incidents of Forgery in which an elderly person was the victim. He developed a suspect and obtained handwriting samples, which eventually led to a confession by the suspect admitting to forging a check worth $250.00 and attempting to open a checking account under false pretenses.
In June, he investigated another Robbery of a juvenile. During the subsequent investigation, he was able to identify the suspect of the robbery while investigating a Theft of a Motor Vehicle which had occurred the same day. As a result, the suspect was charged, the stolen property was returned and the stolen vehicle was recovered and returned to the owner.
In July, he investigated another Robbery that occurred at the Turkey Hill located at 594 West Market Street. After reviewing the surveillance video and speaking with witnesses, he again identified the actor and obtained an arrest warrant for him. Also, he investigated a Burglary that had occurred at 410 North Belvedere Avenue. During this investigation, he obtained shoe imprints and other physical evidence that linked the crime to a known suspect, who was eventually charged with this crime.
In August, he responded to the 600 block of West Princess Street for a shots fired call. After arriving on scene, he identified and interviewed witnesses who directed him to the vehicle they had observed the suspect place the pistol in after firing it. He impounded the vehicle, obtained a warrant, and subsequently searched the interior and located two pistols, approx. 10 grams of cocaine, 2.2 grams of marijuana, and a substantial amount of ammunition. His due diligence led to the arrest of a convicted Felon and removal of firearms and drugs from the streets of York. Later that month, this same officer located and arrested three suspects moments after they had unlawfully entered Kelly Manor Retirement Home and removed property, and discovered they had burglarized a home on Chanceford Avenue earlier in the day. All three were charged and incarcerated.
In October, he investigated another Robbery of a juvenile that occurred at William ’s Park. Through several interviews and numerous photo line-ups, he was able to identify and charge three other juveniles with this crime, and return the stolen property to the juvenile. He then investigated an incident in which a witness was being threatened with harm should he choose to testify in a criminal court proceeding. The officer conducted several interviews and collected evidence, some of which required translation. He then learned the suspect’s nickname, and possible vehicle he may be driving. He then conducted surveillance of the vehicle and the location in which the suspect may frequent, and after several days, finally observed the suspect getting into the vehicle, and subsequently learned the suspect’s true identity, and obtained a warrant for his arrest.
As the preceding summaries suggest, Officer Reisenweber has performed beyond what is normally considered regular patrol duties without prompting or prodding. His genuine concern for the citizens of York is evident in the extraordinary effort he puts forth in his investigations to help those who normally fall between the cracks- the elderly and the young. The countless hours he spends processing scenes helps not only his own investigations, but also those of the officers surrounding him. His work ethic is unparalleled, and the City of York is fortunate to have him working within its ranks.