FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Police Chiefs Association awarded Corporal Courtney Weddington of the Fort Walton Beach police department the Lee McGehee Officer of the year. The title is given to three officers in the state each year that go above and beyond daily duties to serve the community.
At a presentation with the city council Monday night, Police Chief Robert Bage alongside Mayor Dick Rynearson said Weddington’s initiative to transform the social media aspect of the department is a tangible accomplishment.
Rynearson said Weddington’s impact through social media took the FWB Facebook page from 44,000 to 370,000 followers, and Instagram from 19,000 to 66,000. The posts and videos produced by Weddington give real-time information to residents and millions of travelers to the Fort Walton Beach area every year.
“We grew the number of people that follow our Facebook page to over 17,000 and our Instagram page to over 2600. Her work has made the Fort Walton Beach Police Department social media pages some of the most followed pages in the community,” said Mayor Dick Rynearon. “Not only does this help create a positive image of the department and policing in the community, but it has strengthened the camaraderie within the department.”
Along with Officer of the Year, FCPA presented the Fort Walton Beach Police Department with the Rockey Pomerance Law Enforcement Excellence Award. Chief Bage said FWBPS’d focus on the No Opportunity Wasted initiative that earned the title.
“We look for every opportunity possible to engage the community, whether its a one-on-one engagement or whether it’s a group engagement, special event,” said Bage. “And this will not be the end of our engagement efforts, we will continue with our engagement efforts. And if so wasn’t for the men and women in the department with the assistance of a community, we would have never won this award.”