Sugar Land Rotary Club honors first responders

By Joe Southern
jsouthern@fortbendstar.com

The Sugar Land Rotary Club honored the first responders of the year. Pictured from the left are Sugar Land Police Chief Douglas Brinkley, honoree Tuan Tran, honoree Johnathan Vance, and Sugar Land Fire Chief J.J. Adame. (Submitted photo)

The Sugar Land Rotary Club honored the first responders of the year. Pictured from the left are Sugar Land Police Chief Douglas Brinkley, honoree Tuan Tran, honoree Johnathan Vance, and Sugar Land Fire Chief J.J. Adame. (Submitted photo)

Less than two years into his career with the Sugar Land Police Department and Tuan-Huy Tran was being honored along with Sugar Land firefighter Johnathan Vance as one of the Sugar Land Rotary Club’s first responders of the year.

Tran was recognized for his efforts to aid a downed officer at a local nightclub. Police Chief Douglas Brinkley praised Tran for his quick, fearless response and for taking control of a situation that could have easily escalated out of control.

“We can’t call 9-1-1 for help. We have to be that guy,” Tran said as he accepted the award.

Vance was selected by his peers for his service and dedication to the department. He said he always wanted to be a firefighter but was very impressed with Sugar Land’s commitment to customer service. He knew he found the place he wanted to be when he attended the department’s four-week orientation.

“The first two weeks amazed me. All we talked about was customer service,” he said.

He became a junior firefighter in Pecan Grove as a teenager in 1999. He graduated the firefighting academy in 2001 and later joined the department.

Fire Chief Juan J. Adame praised Vance for his work ethic and also talked about what it takes to become a first responder. To join the department, one must take hundreds of hours of training, classroom study and lab work. They have to be paramedics and are then thoroughly vetted before being offered a position.

After the ceremony at the Sweetwater Country Club, the Rotary Club members were given an opportunity to ask questions. Several were directed to Brinkley, who was asked about license plate capture cameras, body cameras for officers and community relations in light of recent national news involving police.

He said the department has been using body cameras successfully for several years and will continue to do so. He said they have been testing the license plate cameras for about six months and will soon make a recommendation to the city council to expand the program. He said the cameras are not used to capture data – and the information is not kept long – but that it is used to help capture criminals.

As for relations, he said the customer service aspect used in all city departments has helped the police maintain a good relationship with residents and as a result the problems seen in big cities haven’s materialized here.

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