On Feb. 1, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 recognized 14 first responders at their annual law and order awards event. Three additional responders who could not be present were recognized Feb. 29. In attendance at the first event were 151 officers with their families and 71 Elks and guests. The lodge provided a free dinner to the first responders and their families. The awards recognize the outstanding contributions of top law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency medical personnel. Honorees are nominated by their peers and represent departments throughout Pinellas County. “We remain indebted to the men and women first responders who work every day to keep the people of our community safe,” stated Toni Goodrich, PDD, Lodge Secretary. After the ceremony, the lodge presented Pinellas Park High School JRROTC a check for $1,000 in support of the school’s four-year high school magnet program with emphasis on law education to Cassandra C. Bogatz, program director for the Criminal Justice Academy. The JRROTC served the dinner to all 222 in attendance. After the check presentation, the St. Petersburg Police K-9 unit presented a demonstration by Officer Dixon & Officer Herring with K-9s Johnny and Blaze. Officers selected to become K-9 handlers must complete a 16-week school with their K-9 partners. K-9 activities include building, article and tracking searches. Demonstrations included obedience exercises, mock drug searches, simulated criminal apprehension and an agility test. Pictured are Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Rich Trump who presented awards to Deputy Bryan Beeler, Deputy Colin Roper, Deputy Jayson Young and Deputy Rita Bison (not pictured).