Deputies, prosecutor, medics receive honors from sheriff.

December 13, 2016
Sgt. Det. Tom Posma

Sgt. Det. Tom Posma

Deputies, prosecutor, medics receive honors from sheriff.

#MasonCountyHeroes

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole and Undersheriff Jody Hartley honored several men and women during Tuesday night’s monthly meeting of the Mason County Board of Commissioners at the Mason County Courthouse.

Three people were honored for their role in investigating and prosecuting the disappearance and murder of 4-month-old Katherine Phillips, “Baby Kate.” The sheriff’s office honored Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola, Det. Sgt. Tom Posma, and Det. Mike Kenney for their roles in case.

Each were given a sheriff’s office departmental commendation.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

“Prosecutor Spaniola’s professionalism and prosecutor skills were put to the test in this case,” Sheriff Cole stated. “Prosecutor Spaniola was not only able to prosecute Sean Phillips for the disappearance of Katherine Phillips but for her death also. His tireless efforts and willingness to seek assistance from the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office showed not only his true character but his willingness to go great lengths to provide answers not only for the family of Katherine Phillips but the community in which he is sworn to serve.”

Spaniola was also awarded a sheriff’s office Challenge Coin. He is one of only a few civilians who has received one from the sheriff’s office.

kenney_michael_j_det

Det. Mike Kenney


Jim Herrema

Jim Herrema

Det. Mike Kenney and Det. Sgt. Tom Posma were given Distinguished Service Awards for their roles in the case against Sean Phillips.

Their roles in the case were described as going above and beyond their normal job descriptions.

“There was rarely a day over the past 5 1/2 years that (Det. Kenney) did not work on this case,” Sheriff Cole said. “He helped the family through a very difficult time in their life.”

Undersheriff Hartley spoke about Posma’s involvement in the case: “Without a shadow of a doubt, Det. Sgt. Posma’s role in this case resulted in not one but two successful prosecutions.

“Following three weeks of trial, and 22 hours of deliberation, five years, three months, two weeks after that fateful day on June 29, 2011, we closed our case with tears. Not tears of joy but tears of justification and peace knowing that our hard work brought justice to 4-month-old Katherine Phillips and closure for our community.”

Dep. Ed Rasmussen

Dep. Ed Rasmussen

Three deputies and two Life EMS paramedics were also given life saving awards for their roles in saving two different inmates who were attempting to commit suicide.

Dep. Matt Murphy

Dep. Matt Murphy

Dep. Joe Giammalva discovered an inmate attempting to hang himself on Oct. 21, 2016 and stopped him from doing so, therefore saving the man’s life. Deputies Megan Patterson and Ed Rasmussen, along with Life EMS Supervisor/Paramedic Jim Herrema and Paramedic Jennifer Anderson, each played a role in saving a 20-year-old man who attempted to hang himself in the jail on Sept. 15, 2016.

Dep. Matt Murphy was given a commendation for his role in cleaning up two detox jail cells and making them safer for the health of inmates, Sheriff Cole said.

Dep. Jeremy King was given a department commendation for his involvement in the county’s sex offender task force.

Dep. Megan Patterson

Dep. Megan Patterson


Dep. Jeremy King

Dep. Jeremy King

“Dep. King has played a key role in our department over the 16 years he has been employed here,” Sheriff Cole said. “He was assigned to the sex offender task force and teamed up with Ludington Police Department, Scottville Police Department, and the Michigan State Police in an effort to monitor any and all sex offenders living in our community. He has spent countless hours of investigation. In 2016 alone, he has performed dozens of sex offender registry checks that have led to the arrest and felony charges of 13 individuals in Mason County. It’s because of Dep. King’s hard work that our community is no doubt safer for our communities.”

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