Oswego’s Richard Sherwood earns SUNY-wide police award for exceptional service

SUNY Oswego University Police Technical Sergeant Richard Sherwood was named recipient of a 2021 SUNY University Police Professional Service Award, which honors officers state-wide for demonstrating heroism and professional commitment to public safety. Sherwood, center, is congratulated by SUNY Oswego University Police Chief Kevin Velzy (left) and Assistant Chief Scott Swayze.

OSWEGO - Technical Sergeant (T/Sgt) Richard Sherwood of SUNY Oswego’s University Police received the Professional Service Award on Nov. 16 at the SUNY University Police Awards.

The Professional Service Award recognizes members for acts that greatly enhance the operations of the respective university police department.

Of his 32 years of SUNY service, Sherwood spent the last decade of that time as technical sergeant. “I started this position with a pen and paper and then switched to a computer,” he said. “What started as an interest, became a need.”

Sherwood developed a new division within University Police, tech services, in which he oversees the computers in the squad cars, the technology in the booking area and the University Police Department’s website.

A 1987 SUNY Oswego public justice graduate, Sherwood spent his first four years at SUNY Morrisville and returned to Oswego’s campus in October 1993.

“Twenty years ago I had an interest, so I basically built my own computer to learn about the hardware,” he said. “It took a lot of paying attention to details and the desire to do it.”

Sherwood added that people don’t become police officers to work on computers, but the job needed to be done.

“Learning how to administer the programs is my biggest accomplishment,” he said. “It’s a time-consuming process.”

SUNY-wide recognition

Sherwood received this award along with 11 other police officers from different SUNY schools in late 2021. Leaders like University Police Chief Kevin Velzy can nominate someone based on the work done in the police department, and someone who goes above and beyond. Sherwood added that he was chosen for the award for doing more in the police department by working two jobs at once.

“I would respond to calls and then come back and work on any problems the technology would be having, whether it was a computer error or booking issues,” Sherwood said.

He said receiving this award was gratifying mainly because it means his team thinks highly of his work.

“I was never big on awards, I didn’t become a police officer to win awards,” Sherwood said. “However, receiving this award makes you feel appreciated, like at least they’re thinking about me.”

Sherwood mentioned that putting 32 years into a profession and getting recognition for the hard work you do, does make a difference.

“Rich has revolutionized the way we process data, introduce new patrol and investigation technology, and expand ways students engage with officers,” according to the nomination letter prepared by Velzy and Assistant Chief Scott Swayze.

These continuing improvements include working on new body web camera (BWC) stations and improving the booking station.

“Rich has been the vital component in our department as we navigate submission of digital discovery data, introduce BWCs to officers, and magnify our online programming/outreach in a constantly evolving digital environment,” his nominators said.

Sherwood hopes that he can continue to help the University’s Police Department even after an approaching retirement. He hopes to continue to make a difference. “The police profession is to make a difference and I hope I can continue to make that difference in work or with support,” Sherwood said.

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