Former OPD chief honored with President’s Award

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Posted December 4, 2020 | Ocala Gazette Staff

In a heartfelt last act as Ocala City Council President, Jay Musleh on Tuesday evening presented the President’s Award, established in 2011 to grant recognition to a city employee or group of employees for outstanding service, to Amy Graham, the widow of the late Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham, in his honor.

Graham died Oct. 25, when his small plane crashed near Dunnellon.

Musleh expounded on the many ways Graham was responsible for accomplishments not just for the Ocala Police Department, but also for the City of Ocala. Musleh cited the following examples in support of the award:

  • Chief Graham oversaw the Ocala Police Department’s accreditation process and maintained its accredited status for 15 consecutive years with stellar reviews. 
  • He outfitted the Patrol Division with body worn cameras – one of the first police departments to do so. 
  • Graham developed a program to sponsor prospective applicants through the police academy in order to attract a more diversified workforce. 
  • He was responsible for hiring over 245 employees during his tenure.
  • He deployed a Violent Crimes Task Force with the addition of three federally assigned task force officers. This was instrumental in reducing crime by 21 percent. 
  • His dedicated work and support of the Opioid Amnesty Program led to more than 340 people entering the program. Over 220 lives were saved by Narcan at the hands of OPD officers. 
  • He expanded the Victim Advocate Unit to assist not only victims of domestic violence but all other victims during times of crisis. 
  • Graham carried the agency into the 21st century with some of the most advanced training and technological crimefighting tools available to law enforcement. He was considered a visionary and forward thinker who embraced change and demanded the highest quality of service from his department. 
  • He engaged with his community in order to make Ocala a safe place to work, live and play. He did this through his involvement with or support of a host of community partners dedicated to improving quality of life. 
  • Musleh closed the speech citing a long list of task forces and nonprofit groups that Graham impacted through his work.
  • Amy Graham accepted the award, acknowledging that her husband’s heart was always with the city.
  • Musleh said there were more nominees this year than any other in the nine-year history of the award, and he thanked them all. 

The nominees included:

  • System Operations Center Team – Electric
  • Frank Brown – Electric Engineering
  • Danielle Libera – Electric Administration
  • Water Treatment Plant Operations Staff – Water Resources
  • Danielle Dyals – Strategic Engagement & Tammy Hoff – Electric Public Education and Outreach
  • Automatic Meter Infrastructure (AMI) Team – Electric
  • Recreation & Parks Department Staff
  • Cody McCormack- Electric Resource Management & Mitchell McCleary – Electric AMI Division
  • Jesse Blair – Fire Rescue
  • Ocala Wetland Recharge Park Team – Water Resources, CIP Division, Public Works, Strategic Engagement and Procurement
  • Public Works Department
  • Dudley Bess – Public Works, Streets Division
  • Sanitation Division – Public Works
  • Greg Graham – OPD
  • Tim Bloom – Electric T & D
  • Chris Hickman – Fire Rescue
  • Ocala Fiber Network Department
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