Police earn awards for saving a life, dedication to tasks

by Laura Bednar

Instead of police officers being individually recognized during township trustee meetings, Police Chief David Hayes decided to hold a communal ceremony for some of Sagamore Hills finest officers.

The Jan. 16 ceremony began with the swearing in of a recently hired officer, Chris Danko. He came to the department in September, but Hayes said he had been doing a great job and wanted to swear him in again in front of trustees, fellow officers and friends and family. Danko has previous policing experience in Shaker Heights.

Officer Glenn Lucore was named 2023 Employee of the Year. Hayes said he confers with department supervisors on awards and discusses the finalists with trustees. Lucore was unanimously chosen and a proclamation recognizing his accomplishment stated he had “consistent dedication to duty.”

Lucore is a member of the traffic safety unit, which handles resident traffic complaints, deploys speed trailers on township roads and issues speeding warnings. Lucore made the most traffic stops and gave the most warnings of any unit member. Hayes said Lucore also oversees police vehicle maintenance and was instrumental in finding the department two new Ford vehicles. Lucore has been with Sagamore Hills for 2 1/2 years after policing in Walton Hills and Lindale.

“It is an honor to receive this award and to be recognized,” said Lucore. “All the men and women of the Sagamore Hills Police Department deserve recognition also, as they do such an exceptional job in the community.”

The Employee of the Year award has existed for at least 18 years, according to Hayes, but he said the chief’s awards “are [only] given as police commendations are brought to my attention.”

The first chief’s award went to Det. Victoria Miavitz for “going beyond the requirements and being an asset to Sagamore Hills Police Department,” according to Hayes. She has acquired over $100,000 in grants, which have gone towards costs of equipment such as computers and radios. Miavitz also ensures the department is part of an annual grant program for bulletproof vests.

The second chief’s award went to Sgt. Ken Wolf. His direct supervisor, Lt. Brian Piekarski, said since Wolf was promoted to sergeant in 2013, he has observed him lead with high standards. Wolf is the department’s range master, ensuring every officer is qualified to use a firearm and trains in the newest techniques.

In 2019, Wolf became a member of the Metro SWAT team, comprised of officers from 20 agencies in Summit and Portage counties. “He has risen to be a leader there, too,” said Piekarski.

Wolf is also the highest achieving officer in the physical fitness test and at the firing range. A proclamation in his honor read that he shows excellence as a supervisor and has developed firearms training within the department.

The final award of the night was the life-saving award, given to Officer Dan DeCrane. On Feb. 9 of last year, police responded to a Glen Allen Drive residence where a woman was reported unresponsive after having difficulty breathing.

Upon arrival, DeCrane took life-saving measures by treating the woman using the police department’s external defibrillator to shock her. He then performed CPR and administered another shock. DeCrane continued giving CPR until paramedics from Macedonia Fire transported the woman to the University Hospital Ahuja Medical Center.

According to the police report, doctors at the hospital said if the defibrillator had not been used, they suspected the woman’s condition would have been fatal. Doctors said the woman’s recovery “was a miracle, as many people with her medical conditions do not recover.” The woman, Diane Helkowski, was in the audience during the ceremony to thank DeCrane. Hayes said DeCrane’s work “directly resulted in saving a life.” ∞

Officer Dan DeCrane (r) used an AED machine and CPR to save resident Diane Helkowski’s life. Photo courtesy of Dan Rice.

Officer Glenn Lucore holds his plaque and proclamation recognizing him as Officer of the Year for 2023. Photo by Laura Bednar.

On our cover (photo): Sagamore Police officers (l-r) Chris Danko, Det. Victoria Miavitz, Sgt. Ken Wolf, Glenn Lucore and Dan DeCrane were recognized at a communal ceremony in January for their work with the department and in the community. Photo by Laura Bednar.