Officer Norm LaBonte of the Gerrish Township Police Department was awarded the department’s 2011 Officer of the Year Award in November by Chief Brian Hill and Sgt. Greg Patchin. LaBonte has been with the department since December 2009 and according to Chief Hill “has been a wonderful addition to our team.” He is a graduate of Midland High School and Delta College and currently resides with his wife and two daughters in the Higgins Lake Area. Chief Hill states “Officer LaBonte is an exemplary officer in all aspects of the law enforcement field and will always go above and beyond the call of duty especially in his community involvement.” This award is earned by a combination of evaluation marks as they relate to the department’s 15 named criteria that include; Community Orientation, Decision Making/Judgment, Interpersonal Relationships, Oral Communication, Partnership Development, Patrol Management, Problem Solving, Professional Image, Resource Knowledge and Utilization, Safety Practices, Self Improvement, Written Communications, Leadership, Investigative Skill, Professional Ethics/Values and Adherence to Department Missions and Vision. Officer LaBonte is a nine year police officer veteran and is also a certified Firefighter, EMT, CPR/AED Instructor and has obtained numerous other certificates in the public safety field. Officer LaBonte is the son of Al and Dawn LaBonte of Midland.