Officer, Firefighter of the Year Announced

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Categories: In Our Communities

The Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce announced the Officer and Firefighter of the Year at its Annual Awards Gala Feb. 5, 2022.

Congratulations to Broken Arrow Police Department Detective Brett Burton and Broken Arrow Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic Seth Rich!

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Broken Arrow Police Department Detective Brett Burton.

Det. Burton has been with BAPD since 2000 and served in various roles on all three patrol shifts, Special Investigations Unit and Traffic Unit.

He is currently assigned to Digital Evidence Lab and Property Crimes for the area of Broken Arrow located in Wagoner County. He is also tasked with examining and managing forensic files from devices recovered during investigations.

“Humbling. Very humbling,” said Det. Burton of learning he had won the award. “I had no idea whatsoever.

“There’s over 260 officers here that are all each deserving of the same honor. Everybody does their work beyond and above what their normal tasks are for.”

In 2020, Det. Burton received a Chief’s Award for finding funds from unused accounts, which provided detectives with department-issued cell phones to further assist on investigations.

Additionally, since 2003, Det. Burton has maintained his instructor certification as a Drug Recognition Expert and recently introduced a Standardized Field Sobriety Test Instructor course to the BAPD Training Center.

Being a police officer is a fulfilling job with a core mission that is shared throughout the force, he said.

“We all are there as first responders, and our main priority is the safety of our community. And so, we make sure that we uphold that.”

Congratulations, Det. Brett Burton, the 2021 Officer of the Year.

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Broken Arrow Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic Seth Rich.

Seth Rich has been with BAFD for six years and it’s a career that he says is a calling.

The Broken Arrow Firefighter of the Year award means a lot to Rich because of the process to determine the recipient.

“It’s a big deal and I was thankful of that,” said Rich of his winning the award. “The award is nominated by peers which makes it even more special to me.”

The award is not limited to single acts of heroism, but instead, firefighters are measured daily against each other. And that’s okay with Rich. As he said, the feeling among firefighters is that they’re not heroes.

“There’s a saying, ‘Just do your job.’ And this is everyone’s job and what’s expected.”

Rich was recognized as an asset to the many different divisions and committees within BAFD and stood out because of his work ethic and attitude. According to the nomination submission form, Firefighter Rich “exhibits leadership qualities that normally aren’t exhibited until you have reached the pinnacle of a career. However, he continues to display a hunger and positive attitude with each subsequent shift.”

So, with high praise like that and having been recognized as the 2021 Firefighter of the Year, does Rich feel any added pressure?

“I do, absolutely,” he said with a laugh. “You don’t want to mess up at all after you’ve won an award like that which you know, they’ll always be a little hiccups and little mistakes. But there’s definitely a little bit of added pressure to continue to do well and continue to raise the bar.”

Congratulations, Firefighter Seth Rich.

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