LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2016) -- The Governor’s Medal of Valor was posthumously awarded to Cameron Ponder, a Kentucky State Trooper killed in the line of duty in 2015, at a ceremony held in Lexington on June 17. Gov. Matt Bevin presented the award to Brenda Tiffany and Joseph Ponder, parents of Trooper Ponder. The Governor’s Medal of Valor is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an officer of the Kentucky State Police for conspicuous heroism in the line of duty under circumstances of extreme personal hazard. It is awarded only by order of the Governor. Including Trooper Ponder, 19 Kentucky State Troopers have been awarded the medal since 1973. Ponder was 31 years old and had been a trooper for eight months when he was shot and killed on Sept. 13, 2015 during a late night traffic stop and pursuit in Lyon County. After an eight-hour search, the perpetrator was fatally wounded by the KSP Special Response Team after he refused commands to drop his weapon and pointed it at officers. Ponder is the 30th Kentucky State Police officer to lose his life in the line of duty since the agency was established in 1948. KSP also announced the 2015 Trooper of the Year, Detective of the Year, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer of the Year, Facilities Security Officer of the Year and other awards for acts of bravery, life-saving, professionalism and dedication to duty at the ceremony. “You all are a room full of men and women who take in and you give back, and our state will be eternally grateful to you for that," Gov. Bevin told the honorees. "You take in and you give back. I challenge you to continue to do that – to recognize how important that is because you bring life to the communities that you're part of.” Detective of the Year - Agency Twenty-one troopers were named Detective of the Year at the post, branch or division level. including Detective John Sims, a Mayfield, Ky. resident, who was named 2015 Detective of the Year for the entire state of Kentucky. Sims is a 13-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police, he is assigned to KSP Post 1 in Mayfield. In 2015 Sims worked multiple Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) cases that led to the arrest and prosecution of multiple child predators. Detective Sims has also worked multiple theft cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen or misappropriated funds. Sims is a 1993 graduate of Lone Oak High School in Paducah, KY and a 1997 graduate of PCC/Greenville College. He is the son of Ted and Stephanie Sims, of Paducah, KY. Trooper of the Year - Post 1 Seventeen troopers were named Trooper of the Year at the post, branch or division level, including Trooper First Class T.J. Williams. Williams is a fourteen-year veteran of the agency and a native of Smithland, Kentucky. In 2015 Williams issued 1,457 citations. He arrested 12 individuals for driving under the influence, responded to 73 complaints, investigated 62 criminal cases, and made 340 criminal arrests. He is assigned as a STEP Unit and works criminal interdiction patrols across the post district. Williams is a 1992 graduate of Livingston Central High School. He is the son of Tommy and Charlotte Williams, of Smithland, KY. KSP Citation for Meritorious Achievement Seven individuals, including Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White, received the KSP Citation for Meritorious Achievement, the agency’s highest civilian award bestowed upon those who performed an extraordinary act of service or heroism in direct support of an officer of the agency engaged in the official performance of duty. Motivated by the tragic shooting of Trooper Cameron Ponder in 2015, Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White did not hesitate to activate the One Call System in Lyon County and personally went to work to provide food and a secure place for the many exhausted Troopers and other first responders. Judge White rose to the task. He tirelessly began efforts to share respect for Troopers and, when disappointed by learning the salary standards, he began a campaign to draw attention to the financial plight of KSP and corrections officers. He coined and spread the motto, “Stand up for those who stand up for us.” He took on a mission of support for the State Police. He has not wavered from seeking ways to raise the awareness of how selflessly Troopers in KSP conduct themselves while still finding time to carry forth widespread benefits for our citizens. For a listing of all the individuals and officers who received awards, visit http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/2016/pr06_17_16.html
# # # PHOTO 1 CAPTION: (left to right) Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders joined Gov. Matt Bevin as he presented the Governor’s Medal of Valor to Brenda Tiffany, the mother of the late Tpr. Cameron Ponder, his fiancée, Chrystal Coleman, and his father, Joe Ponder at a ceremony held in Lexington on June 17. PHOTO 2 CAPTION: KSP’s Detective of the Year for 2015 John Sims (Center), Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders (left), Gov. Matt Bevin (Right) PHOTO 3 CAPTION: KSP Post 1 Trooper of the Year for 2015 TFC T.J. Williams (Center), Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders (left), Gov. Matt Bevin (Right) PHOTO 4 CAPTION: Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders (Left) joined Gov. Matt Bevin (Right) as he presented Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White (Center) with the KSP Citation for Meritorious Achievement at an awards ceremony on June 17, 2016 in Lexington, KY.