Announcing the winner of the Florida State Elks Association
Enrique Camarena Award
Lieutenant Katie Heck
I would like to take this opportunity to nominate Lieutenant Katie Heck of the Punta Gorda Police Department for the Elks Enrique Camarena Award. Lieutenant Heck joined the agency in 2006. She quickly became interested in two aspects of law enforcement – drug enforcement and our involvement with youth programs. In her first year with the agency, Lieutenant Heck was involved in over 100 drug arrests. She worked with Criminal Investigations to develop enforcement operations on the website MySpace, which eventually led to drug dealers refusing to deliver narcotics within the City limits. She then served as a School Resource Officer at our local high school before reestablishing the department’s canine unit.
Lieutenant Heck and her Canine partner, K9 Jedi, truly made a difference in our community. Lieutenant Heck attended local events to talk about the dangers of drug use and the department’s drug enforcement programs. The team won several regional awards in United States Police Canine Association competition in 2010 and 2011, earning sponsorship to the USPCA National Detector Trials in 2011. Respected by her peers, she has been nominated twice for Officer of the Year, receiving the recognition in 2014. Lieutenant Heck subsequently stepped down from the canine unit during the birth of her twins, after which she accepted a promotion as a supervisor on road patrol.
Lieutenant Heck was recently assigned a new role as Community Services supervisor where her primary mission is to coordinate city-wide crime prevention initiatives, engender community support for crime prevention efforts, and maintain our department’s relationship with residential, commercial, and community groups. She provides oversight of special groups such as our Neighborhood Watch and Bank Security programs, provides the public with updates regarding crimes, and serves as our Public Information Officer. Lieutenant Heck serves beyond her job assignment, sitting on the committees of Drug Free Charlotte County, Drug Free Punta Gorda, and our local D-Fy program (a local incentive program to reward drug free teens). She facilitated the launch of our Tray Liners Talk program, which will engage students in a discussion about several topics through their lunch tray liners at school.
Lieutenant Heck’s biggest passion is the inclusion of all children in sporting events. An avid runner, she frequently enters races with Ainsley’s Angels, a program in which provides race chairs to those with special needs so that they can be pushed through, and complete, the race with a runner. Lieutenant Heck also took the initiative to include our police department in the 2016 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, acting as the liaison and now arranging for several local fundraisers.
I am confident you will find Lieutenant Heck is a positive role model who goes above and beyond her normal duties to make a difference in our community. I am also confident you will not find anyone who more exemplifies the spirit of Enrique Camarena and his legacy.
Chief Thomas P. Lewis