LITTLE ROCK Little Rock's top police officers and firefighters were honored Tuesday at the annual awards banquet paying tribute to their service.
More than 100 members of the two agencies gathered at the Robinson Center for the Rotary Club-sponsored ceremony that included the awarding of the Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year.
On the police side, Officer Matt Murski earned the top award for his role in implementing new mobile vehicle recording technology in department patrol vehicles. Firefighter Ryan Baker was the winner in his department. He was lauded for work in fire investigations that have contributed to an 800 percent increase in arson arrests, among other accomplishments.
The awards, handed out at a luncheon, also went to officers who solved crimes or saved lives.
Officer Jason Deno received one of four "life saving awards" for his response to a vehicle that ran off Base Line Road and overturned in a creek bed. Deno made it to the vehicle and rescued a woman and a dog who were trapped inside.
"It's a great honor to be recognized," Deno said afterward, noting his training kicked in when he arrived on scene. "You just make sure everybody's all right. It's just another day at work."
Other life-saving awards went to officers Jennifer Freeman, Lisa Hernandez and Kelly LePore. Stuart Swearingen was named the firefighter recruit of the year and Engine 7's B Shift received a unit citation.
Firefighters and police officers of the month from last year were also each recognized.