A 20-year veteran of Wichita’s police force has been named the Wichita Crime Commission’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Homicide detective Tim Relph received the award Thursday evening during the crime commission’s 59th awards banquet, commission executive director Gordon Bassham said. The annual event recognizes law enforcement officers and residents for their contributions to public safety and crime prevention.
Also honored was Wichita police officer John Biagini, recognized as the Willard Garvey Crime Prevention Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his work mentoring youth. Bassham said Biagini, a school resource officer at East High, helped create the crime commission’s gang tattoo removal program. He also works closely with Make Good Choices, which takes selected at-risk youth to Kansas prisons to hear from inmates.
The group gave its Willard Garvey Crime Prevention Citizen Activist of the Year award to Joel Erskin, who uses his clinic to help remove tattoos for former gang members. Wichita police Deputy Chief Tom Stolz, who has 30 years on the department, was named Criminal Justice Professional of the Year.
Overhead Door Co. owner Mike Sweeney was given with the 12 Apostles of Justice Award. The honor, named for those who founded the commission in 1952, is bestowed upon someone dedicated to crime commission projects and the community.
Sweeney, who chairs Make Good Choices, helped create Gang-Free Wichita, a web-based gang awareness initiative, Bassham said.