Tarpon officers honored for achievements
TARPON SPRINGS -
The city commission presented two Tarpon Springs Police Department officers with plaques acknowledging the hard work and dedication exemplified on the job.
Officer Jose Yourgules, who heads the department’s Homeless Outreach Program, has assisted more than 200 people since taking the post in 2010.
As the accreditation manager for the past two-plus years, Cpl. Frank Ruggiero was instrumental in helping the department become accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation this past February.
“It’s moments like these that really make it all worth it,” Chief Robert Kochen said during the presentation last Tuesday at City Hall. “We have two officers tonight that have really done outstanding work and they need to be recognized. It’s a tough job and when you do the things that these officers have done it definitely deserves recognition.”
Yourgules has a “special knack for working with homeless people, Kochen said. “He has the ability to connect with them and he has the ability to get them into these programs that help them.”
Mayor David Archie told Yourgules the city was recognizing the “passion you have in doing your job,” Archie said. “I know it’s the extra effort that you put in to it that not only affects what happens to the homeless but also affects what happens with the business community.”
Commissioner Townsend Tarapani, who suggested giving the recognition, echoed the mayor’s statement on how Yourgules’ work has positively affected the community.
“As a downtown business owner we recognized there were some issues going on,” Tarapani said. “You were assigned and stepped up into a leadership role and really have done an outstanding job.”
Kochen said Ruggiero deserved the Award for Excellence because his efforts played a major role in the police department earing accreditation last month.
Ruggiero, who is also involved in the department’s school resource officer program and traffic homicide unit and is a lead training officer, is dedicated to making sure the department was in compliance with more than 260 standards of professionalism, the chief said.
“I’m going to stand up here and say that it’s these people here, Tarpon’s finest, that make this agency awesome,” Kochen said of the two officers and other department employees in attendance.
“I’d also like to thank every member on the police force for providing excellent service to Tarpon Springs,” said Commissioner Chris Alahouzos.