Last night, law enforcement officers from across the county were honored by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and our friend, Columbus Division of Police Officer Ed Chung was one of them. The annual STAR awards are presented to an officer who embodies Selflessness, Teamwork, Accountability, and Respect. Officer Chung absolutely has those qualities, and we are so happy he received this award.
He was the second officer we ever talked to when we were starting Starfish, so he has genuinely been with us from the beginning. In fact, we didn't even know what a precinct was or how many there are in Columbus until he told us. (There are 20). He is passionate about his job and cares deeply about the people he serves and protects. He has saved 61 people through Narcan deployments, more than any other officer in the Division.
Our president, Nicole Banks, was on a ride along with him in 2018 when he arrested a drug-addicted woman with an outstanding warrant. As they drove her to the jail, Officer Chung said, "Listen, you're going to be gone for a little while. When you get out, you ask any officer on the street up there who's one of our regular officers, and they can get you in touch with me. If you're serious about getting help, I can get you help the same day, Monday through Friday."
Later, Nicole asked him about that conversation. He replied that when they were waiting for her mug shots, he asked her if she wanted help. She started crying and said she did. "A lot of times when I ask, they tell me no. But I always ask and if they say yes, I tell them what their options are."
He has always been there for us when we've had questions or need support. He's a truly beautiful person and a fantastic officer. We're lucky to know him.
Interestingly, one of the other officers who helped us get our start, Starfish Board Member Officer Pete Casuccio, received the STAR award in 2019. We know the BEST people. 💙