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Kiwanis Club honors 'Caring' law officers

Fletcher Chief Erik Summey (left) holds Sgt. Brian Fulmer's award. Other law officers honored were SHP Sgt. Brent Hipp, Hendersonville Police Lt. Todd Letterman, Laurel Park Officer Kevin Swanson and Sheriff's Deputy Lorie Levi. Fletcher Chief Erik Summey (left) holds Sgt. Brian Fulmer's award. Other law officers honored were SHP Sgt. Brent Hipp, Hendersonville Police Lt. Todd Letterman, Laurel Park Officer Kevin Swanson and Sheriff's Deputy Lorie Levi.

Burnout is common in law enforcement.


Laurel Park Police Chief Bobbie Trotter has seen it first hand. After the initial rush of the job, officers with 10 to 20 years on the job “develop a finely tuned cynicism.” If they make it to 20, they cruise to retirement. Of course, there are exceptions.
When it comes to an officer who is as dedicated and enthusiastic after 20 years as he was the first day on the job “I have an example to look to and that’s Kevin Swanson,” Trotter said. A 25-year veteran who has worked at the Tryon Police Department, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Laurel Park, Swanson “should be on cruise time now,” Trotter added. Instead, “he goes to the gym to stay fit. He reads books about law enforcement. He comes into work and his uniform is pressed, his badge is untarnished and his department-issued vehicle is pristine because he still has that pride after all these years. … He’s still positive. He still believes in humanity and he takes the time to spend with people.”
Swanson was one of five law officers that the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club honored during the 21st annual Morris Kaplan Caring and Sharing Awards program on Thursday. The honor recognizes law enforcement officers who exemplify professionalism and who carry out their duties in a way that surpasses the requirements of the job.
A Laurel Park police officer since June of 2011, Swanson also enjoys studying his faith and spending time with family.

Hendersonville Police Lt. Todd Letterman, another 25-year veteran, was the winner for the city department.
“I know when his team is on duty I can go to bed and not worry about the phone ringing about stuff that’s going on,” said Police Chief Herbert Blake. “If I had to buy a billboard on Four Seasons Boulevard that said, ‘Come Join Us. Be a Professional,’ I would use Todd’s picture.”
Letterman and his wife, Ann, have a daughter, Ashley. He is active in the Knights of Columbus and enjoys hunting and kayaking.

Fletcher Police Sgt. Brian “T-Rex” Fulmer had to miss the program for a reason that exemplifies why he is worthy of the award, said Fletcher Police Chief Erik Summey.
Fulmer called his boss Sunday afternoon to tell him that, as a member of the police honor guard, he wanted to attend the funeral Thursday afternoon of Allen Jacobs, the 28-year-old Greenville, S.C., police officer who was killed in the line of duty last Friday.
“As soon as I hung up, I thought it’s the Caring and Sharing Award and that’s who I picked this year,” Summey said.
A graduate of East Henderson High School and AB Tech, Fulmer enjoys hunting, fishing and golf. He and his wife, Tara, have a daughter, Emrie-Ruth.

Henderson County sheriff’s deputy Lorie Levi, a 27-year veteran, is like all officers who are successful in law enforcement, Sheriff Charlie McDonald said. She has strong faith, works hard to support a family and is dedicated to the community.
“To be successful as a woman in law enforcement takes an awful lot of extra effort and as a single mom even more than that,” he said.
Levi has worked as a dispatcher, patrol officer, jail officer and court bailiff. She’s now the school resource officer at Apple Valley Middle School. The daughter of Barbara Levi and the late Troy Levi, she has a daughter, Lauren Alexandria Levi Condon.

State Highway Patrol Sgt. Brent Hipp, a 15-year veteran and a native of Transylvania County, is a squad leader in the patrol division covering Henderson and Transylvania counties.
A member of Etowah Baptist Church, Hipp has traveled on mission trips to West Virginia and Kentucky. An avid runner, he organizes fundraising races for the Special Olympics and was honored by that organization as a Guardian of the Flame award winner.
A graduate of Brevard High School and AB Tech, Hipp is pursuing a degree in criminal justice from Western Carolina University. He and his wife, Melony, have two daughters, Melora and Lila.