Last week, Ocean View Police Sgt. Sidney Ballentine received the Delaware League of Local Government’s Municipal Officer of the Year award.
“The DLLG has selected an officer to honor each year for at least the past 20 years,” explained DLLG Executive Director George C. Wright. “Ballentine was selected this year due to his outstanding record of DUI enforcement, netting more than 125 DUI arrests in the past four years.”
In the past, Ballentine has received the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Officer of the Year award twice, as well as the Kiwanis Club of Coastal Delaware Police Officer of the Quarter award. He also received the Superintendent’s Certificate of Commendation from Col. Robert Coupe of the Delaware State Police for outstanding performance and service in support of a DSP armed-robbery investigation.
Ballentine was nominated for the award by Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood, who praised his work as an officer.
“Sgt. Ballentine is an intelligent and motivated individual. His personal initiative and ingenuity clearly exceeds what is normally expected,” wrote Wood. “Sgt. Ballentine’s performance exemplifies the highest traditions of the Ocean View Police Department and is worthy of recognition.”
The recognition dinner was held on Sept. 22, and Ballentine didn’t even know he’d been nominated until a week beforehand.
“It was a little bit of a surprise. The bigger surprise was when I actually won,” he shared.
Ballentine joined the OVPD in 2008, after retiring from the U.S. Army after 21 years serving as a military police officer.
“I was an MP in the Army, and you kind of get away from doing law enforcement as you progress in rank and different assignments,” he explained. “My last assignment, I was at West Point, where I was an accident investigation supervisor. I worked in the provost marshal’s office, and it got me back into law enforcement. When I retired, it was kind of a natural progression to go into the same field you were in.”
Ballentine said he likes working for the Town, as the job allows him to experience every aspect of police work.
“I like the fact that it’s busy enough that you can do some of the things that you see on TV but it’s also quiet enough so that you don’t do that every day. You get to investigate a lot of your own cases.
“For example, if you’re in the state police and you have a burglary, you’ll do the initial report and then it goes to the property section. Here, you do the initial report and it’s still yours. You have to investigate it, conduct interviews and do various background investigations for the subjects.”
Town Manager Dianne Vogel said the Town is pleased with Ballentine’s dedication to keeping the town a safe place.
“We’re certainly proud of his achievements and certainly proud to have him on our police force. He is truly a dedicated officer, and goes above and beyond,” she said. “He loves his job, loves what he does. The more work you do, the more work you create. He’s certainly shown he’s willing to do whatever he can to keep Ocean View as crime-free as it can be.”
OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin said Ballentine has been an exceptional officer throughout his career with the department.
“We have been impressed with him from Day 1. From the beginning of the application process through his training at the police academy and his performance on the street, he’s just been exemplary his entire time with us,” said McLaughlin. “We’re extremely proud of him with his accomplishment at the local level with the Ocean View Police Department and proud that his accomplishments in Ocean View were recognized on the state level.”