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Sims selected as Officer of the Year

Officer Van Sims was named the GPD’s Officer of the Year. Advocate Staff / Patty Vaughan

For nearly three decades, Officer Van Sims patrolled the streets of towns in Florida and Conecuh County.

He made it his mission to keep his towns safe by busting bad guys.

He now patrols the halls of Greenville Middle School, and his mission these days is to keep the Camellia City safe by helping students before they get into trouble.

It’s a job he takes seriously, and on Wednesday he was recognized as the Greenville Police Department’s Officer of the Year.

“Officer Sims has done a fantastic job as the resource officer at Greenville Middle School,” Chief Lonzo Ingram said. “A lot of people think a resource officer is just a security guard, but that’s not the case. They’re at the school to help the students and help them avoid trouble.”

Sims believes three key components to staying out of trouble are respect, discipline and humility. He’s started a martial arts program at the school to help instill those three virtues in his students.

“It’s not about being a tough guy,” Sims said. “It’s about being a good guy. It’s about using martial arts to teach the kids things that will help them in all areas of life.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m getting a little older and it keeps me moving and keeps me feeling younger. I’ll tell you, those kids are full of energy,” Sims added with a laugh.

Sims, who has been with the GPD for a year and a half, said the most important part of his job is showing the students that he is there for them.

“Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares,” he said. “That’s why I’m there. I want to be there for them, and help them however I can. It’s really a great group of kids at Greenville Middle School.”

Sims said it was a “tremendous honor” to be named Officer of the Year.

“There are a lot of great people who work in this department,” he said. “The Chief is super, and it’s an honor to be able to work for him and serve alongside the rest of these officers. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Greenville Police Department.”

Sgt. Andy Beck was awarded the Gary Heath Education Award, which is presented to an officer that is pursuing higher education or additional training.

CorStone sponsors the Officer of the Year award, while Camellia Communications sponsors the Gary Heath Education Award.

officer is just a security guard, but that’s not the case. They’re at the school to help the students and help them avoid trouble.”

Sims believes three key components to staying out of trouble are respect, discipline and humility. He’s started a martial arts program at the school to help instill those three virtues in his students.

“It’s not about being a tough guy,” Sims said. “It’s about being a good guy. It’s about using martial arts to teach the kids things that will help them in all areas of life.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m getting a little older and it keeps me moving and keeps me feeling younger. I’ll tell you, those kids are full of energy,” Sims added with a laugh.

Sims, who has been with the GPD for a year and a half, said the most important part of his job is showing the students that he is there for them.

“Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares,” he said. “That’s why I’m there. I want to be there for them, and help them however I can. It’s really a great group of kids at Greenville Middle School.”

Sims said it was a “tremendous honor” to be named Officer of the Year.

“There are a lot of great people who work in this department,” he said. “The Chief is super, and it’s an honor to be able to work for him and serve alongside the rest of these officers. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Greenville Police Department.”

Sgt. Andy Beck was awarded the Gary Heath Education Award, which is presented to an officer that is pursuing higher education or additional training.

CorStone sponsors the Officer of the Year award, while Camellia Communications sponsors the Gary Heath Education Award.

Lt. Joe Disney, Sgt. Brian Mosley and Officer Cole Wyatt were presented the Lifesaver Award for their efforts to evacuate residents from Greenville Terrace Apartments after the building had been set on fire by an arsonist.