Ptl. George Daher and Carol Weegman were named Wellington’s police officer and dispatcher of the year Jan. 2 during a meeting of village council.
Daher, 35, began working part-time in the village in 2016 after spending the previous six years as an officer in the greater Cleveland area.
Since coming to Wellington, he’s been instrumental in bringing national programs to the department such as Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, overseeing most administrative tasks related to the initiatives.
He’s also a member of the Lorain County drunk driving task force and registered Wellington in the AAA Community Traffic Safety Awards program, which recognizes communities for safe driving educational efforts, roadway improvements, and positive trends in traffic statistics.
“I didn’t know I’d been chosen until the chief announced it,” Daher said. “Community interaction is a key to everything we’re doing here. It’s cool to be able to have that kind of connection with people in a positive way through our programs or just running into someone on the street. That’s a noticeable difference between being in Wellington and my previous stops.”
Weegman has been a dispatcher in Wellington for nine years and also serves as a sergeant on the auxiliary force. Her 25 years in law enforcement have included stops in Grafton and Medina County and she said the small town atmosphere in the village stands out to her.
“I’m still in shock and it’s an honor,” she said. “This is just what we do every day. As long as everyone is safe in the village and all of our guys get to go home at night, we’re happy. You’re not just a number here. Employees around you here treat you like family. That’s a good feeling to have.”
An initiative Daher hopes to get started in 2018 is Shop With a Cop, providing children in need with presents during the holiday season. This past December, the program in neighboring Oberlin invited 23 kids to spend $100 each on items of their choosing at Wal-Mart.
“That’s something we’d really like to start and something that’s been talked about for a while,” he said. “But it will take a lot of organization and funds being put together.”
Anyone interested in making a donation toward a potential Shop With a Cop program can contact Daher at gdaher@villageofwellington.
Daher praised police chief Tim Barfield for his openness to new ideas and for starting the department’s LINC program, which places those wrestling with addiction in treatment centers throughout the country.
“Believe it or not, having a chief who’s receptive to these kinds of things is not common in police work,” he said. “Many aren’t receptive to change at all. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done without that kind of openness. It’s important to mention that. It’s always a team effort here because of that kind of mindset coming from the top.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.