2018 American Legion Michigan Law Officer of the Year

Lawerence Burwell, Law & Order Subcommittee Chair; Sgt. David Gillem, 2018 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; and Department of Michigan Commander Brett Holt.

JULY 11, 2018 (LANSING, MICHIGAN) – Sergeant David Gillem of Grand Rapids has been named The American Legion, Department of Michigan, 2017-18 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.  The 18-year veteran of the Grand Rapids Police Department received the award at the organization’s 100th Annual Department Convention in Kalamazoo on June 22.

The Legion recognized Gillem for his distinguished public service career.  He was named GRPD’s Vice Unit Supervisor in 2017 and has been a Hostage Negotiator since 2007.  Gillem has received numerous awards for his efforts in both long-term cases and crisis situations.  Several successful outcomes in hostage situations are the result of his negotiating expertise.  His investigative skills, diligent analysis of data,  and keen ability to read situations and respond with great sensitivity and decisiveness has resulted in the saving of lives and making neighborhoods safer for the citizens and visitors of Grand Rapids.  

“Sgt. Gillem is a loyal and sharply-focused professional police officer who has made the City of Grand Rapids a safer community and thus has improved the quality of life for many of its citizens and visitors,” according to Captain Curt VanderKooi, Commander of the Investigative Division, GRPD.

Gillem earned a bachelor’s degree in Counseling from Southeastern University in 1995.  He was a police officer with the Holland Police Department for four years before joining the GRPD in 2000.

In addition to a long list of specialized training and numerous awards and recognition, Gillem has served in the community as a volunteer for several organizations including Degage Homeless Ministry and as a soccer coach.

The American Legion also recognized the 2017-18 Firefighter of the Year, five individuals as Teacher of the Year, Eagle Scout of the Year, and the Oratorical Contest winner.  Legionnaires also voted in 2018-19 Department Commander Steve Striggow and other department officers.  Medal of Honor recipient and keynote speaker Jim McCloughan was also named the Legionnaire of the Year.  

The American Legion
The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with nearly 2 million members in 12,875 posts in communities across America. Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.

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