VERMILLION, S.D. – Armando Barash, a University Police Officer at the University of South Dakota, was awarded the Inspiration and Coler-Williams awards at the Law Enforcement Academy training hosted recently in Pierre.
Barash, who earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University in 2011, was inspired to join the police force for the opportunity to work directly with the public.
“I love working with people,” Barash said. “Chemical engineering had a lot of number crunching but lacks the human element. As a police officer, I get to help out as many people as I can.”
Pete Jensen, director of USD’s police department, said it was the first time in his memory a candidate has won both awards given at the academy. He credited Barash’s success to his positive attitude and work-ethic.
“I am extremely proud of Armando’s hard work and dedication to his profession, he did an outstanding job representing the University of South Dakota Police Department while attending the Law Enforcement Academy,” Jensen said.
The Coler-Williams award, sponsored by the SDPOA, is the most distinguished award given at the academy. It is given in memory of two law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, and gave their lives in performance of their duties. The award is based on academics, leadership ability, and general conduct.
The Inspiration Award, voted on by peers at the academy, is presented to the trainee who imparts a standout demeanor of inspiration contagious to the entire class.
Barash, who also volunteers for the Vermillion Fire Department, said he was honored to receive the awards.
“It meant a lot to me,” he said. “Vermillion is home for me. I really enjoy the people and department I get to work with. I hope to continue to work here for a long time to come.”