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The Billings Police Department has announced recipients for its annual officer awards. 

Ryan Kramer was named officer of the year. He has been with the BPD since 2014. In 2017, Kramer made 278 arrests, 49 of which were felonies and 42 were for drugs. He also recovered 18 stolen vehicles and wrote 14 search warrants.

“His humble and quiet demeanor belies the fact he is one of the department’s most productive patrol officers,” Lt. Neil Lawrence wrote in a press release.

Detective Sergeant Brandon Wooley was named supervisor of the year. Wooley has been with the BPD 10 years and is currently assigned to the City/County Special Investigative Unit, a multi-jurisdictional drug task force. The CCSIU made 249 arrests and seized roughly 98 pounds of meth, 350 pounds of marijuana and 163 firearms this year, under Wooley's supervision. CCSIU has also seized more than $750,000 in assets used for criminal activity. Wooley is also a SWAT team leader, and has served on SWAT for seven years.

Quartermaster Mark Balter earned the Employee of the Year award. Balter orders equipment for officers, inventories supplies and works to keep costs down by finding vendors with lower prices, Lawrence said. 

Officer Seth Foster was nominated for the Billings Optimist Club's Respect for Law Community Award. Foster developed a rapport with a disadvantaged youth he met while responding to a call this year, eventually helping to secure a scholarship for the youth to attend summer camp.

The American Legion National Law Enforcement Award was given to Jeremiah Adams, an officer in his fourth year with the BPD. In addition to patrol duties, Adams works with Probation and Parole to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and rehabilitation. Adams also works with outside agencies to conduct active shooter drills.

The BPD is giving five officers Lifesaving Awards. The officers will also be nominated for similar awards with the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police. They are:

  • George Zorzakis, who responded to a suicide call where the subject had poured gasoline on himself and held a lighter. Zorzakis stayed close to the man's car and was able to persuade the man to exit the car without hurting himself. 
  • Officers Philip Tanis, Michael Freeman, and Lane Diercks, who responded to an overdose call and performed chest compressions on a man, reviving him. This took place before emergency medical responders arrived.
  • Officer Hunter Cook, who responded to a stabbing at a bar and used a tourniquet to slow the victim’s bleeding.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.