The Van Buren Police Department has recognized its 2016 officer of the year and employee of the year.

Cpl. Christy Nguyen, an 11-year veteran, is the officer of the year. Administrative Assistant Melissa Wright is the employee of the year.

Nguyen works at the Van Buren Municipal Complex and has numerous duties including court bailiff and prisoner transports, according to Jonathan Wear, public information officer for the VBPD.

“Christy also handles a large amount of paperwork and court documents, making sure they are delivered to the right place,” Wear said. “She diligently checks the dockets and ensures that warrants are served on prisoners and defendants.”

Nguyen is cross-trained in numerous areas such as complex security officer, dispatcher, front desk secretary and fingerprinting.

“And, on top of that, she is always willing to run errands for the department as needed,” Wear said. “Her job is very much needed in our department, but it is not a job that many want to do. In fact, Cpl. Nguyen doesn’t like to miss work because she hates it that other officers may be burdened with doing her responsibilities.

Wear said Nguyen is very dedicated to this job and helps ensure that this department and the courtroom operate smoothly. She is very unselfish and will stop what she is doing to help another officer with anything they need, he said.

“Finally, I will add that no matter what her assigned duty is for the day, she is always happy and positive in doing her job and when you pass her in the hallway, she almost always has a smile on her face,” Wear said.

Wright has been with the Van Buren Police Department for 18 years.

“There are numerous words and adjectives that could be used to describe what she means to the Van Buren Police Department, but none of them will fully represent what she does,” Wear said.

Last year, Wright was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“However, this didn’t slow her down or deter her from doing her job with excellence,” Wear said. “A good example of this is that she always cooks a full meal for the first night of the Citizen’s Police Academy class. Even after taking radiation treatments, she stayed late after work preparing the meal for the fall class.”

Wear said Wright is always willing to go the extra mile for VBPD employees, Citizen’s Police Academy and the community.

“She is well loved by our employees and officers at the Van Buren Police Department and we are proud to announce her as the employee of the year for 2016,” Wear said.