DOVER — At the Township Council and Mayor meeting held on Thursday, January 11, Mayor James Dodd awarded Officer Emmanuel Padilla with the 2023 “Officer of the Year” Award.
Officer Padilla’s journey began in Cuba, and he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of five. He successfully graduated from the Essex County Police Academy in March 2020. Initially, he served with the City of Newark Police Department from 2019 until early 2022 when he joined the Town of Dover Police Department.
Since becoming a Dover Police Officer, Officer Padilla has exhibited outstanding informal leadership qualities, serving as a positive role model and a source of guidance for his colleagues. Notably, he has displayed resourcefulness by developing new identification tools to aid in the proper handling of calls involving specific groups, such as “At Large” persons.
Officer Padilla’s achievements also include:
- Swiftly becoming a department crash investigator, graduating at the top of his class in both Basic and Advanced Crash School.
- Taking on the role of Field Training Officer (FTO) earlier than most, based on the recommendation of his superiors.
- Playing a pivotal role in the implementation of the department’s first-ever Drone program.
- Leading the transition to Axon Body-worn cameras and providing training to numerous officers on this new technology.
- Assisting in photographing events like the Junior Police Academy and other outreach programs, offering an extensive graduation video at no cost.
- Consistently exceeding the standard performance levels within the police department.
In his free time, Officer Padilla remains actively engaged as an auto mechanic and a pioneer in off-roading pursuits.