Patrol Officer Dennis Brillhart
Southwestern Regional Police Department

2013 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Officer Brillhart is an 18-year veteran of the Southwestern Regional Police Department and its predecessor agency, the North Codorus Township Police Department. He is assigned as a patrol officer. Brillhart previously worked for the Littlestown Police Department.

Brillhart was born in Hanover, and graduated from Hanover High School. He is in a committed relationship with Christal, and has six children.

Brillhart is the recipient of multiple department commendations, a lifesaving award and is the departmentís officer of the year.

Brillhart is a Little League baseball coach and a Cub Scout volunteer.

Officer Brillhart has always put forth an outstanding effort for the department and the communities it serves. In a twelve hour shift, he may well have traveled several hundred miles.

Brillhart led the department in self-initiated activity in 2013. He tirelessly patrols and finds issues and problems that others would not be aware of. He is alo the top in the department for arrests and traffic contacts, with 438 traffic contacts in 2013 alone.

On Sunday January 27, 2013, Brillhart was on patrol in North Codorus Township when he spotted a faint light in a field by a small stream. When the light did not move, Brillhart entered the field on foot to investigate. The temperature was below freezing, and it had begun to snow. Brillhart observed items scattered in the field, including a child car seat.

Brillhart walked about 150 feet to discover the light was a vehicle headlight. The vehicle was nose down in the stream, and only that single headlight was illuminated. The light was shining into the stream, and what Brillhart had seen was a dim reflecting from the ice on the stream. Brillhart called out to see if anyone was in the vehicle. Getting no response, he returned to the roadway, crossed the bridge and returned to the vehicle from the opposite side of the stream and again called out.

Hearing a faint rustling, Brillhart returned to the other side of the stream, where he located the 28 year-old driver of the vehicle lying against a tree of the steep bank of the stream, unconscious and bleeding from the head. Most of the victimís clothing had been torn from his body when he was ejected from the vehicle. Brillhart awaited Fire and EMS units, and located the victimís cell phone and was able to contact the victimís family.

It was later determined that the victim had been exposed to the elements for about 45 minutes after being ejected from his vehicle. It is easy to conclude that if not for the instincts of Brillhart to investigate the light, the victim may not have survived the ordeal.

Nominated by Chief Gregory M. Bean

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