Salem Police Department announces 2017 officer of the year

By Megan Newhard - Intern

SALEM, Va. - Officials with the Salem Police Department have named Officer Cody Keen as the agency's 2017 Police Officer of the Year.

The 25-year-old Richlands native provided assistance at two different crime scenes in 2017, and his quick thinking and calculated actions made him a top choice for this honor.

Keen has only been employed at the Salem Police Department for two years, but during his short time there he has earned the respect of his co-workers with both his words and his actions.

Last July, while he and his wife were traveling near Valley View Mall, they encountered a car full of smoke on the roadway. Keen was off-duty at the time, but that didn't stop him from coming to the rescue of the woman trapped inside the car.

Keen broke the window, convinced the woman to climb to safety and waited for Roanoke City police officers to arrive on the scene.

After further investigation, determined that the woman was involved in a DUI accident earlier in the evening, and she was arrested by the Roanoke City police.

On Halloween night, Keen was off-duty again when he responded to an alarm call at the CVS Drug Store at Lakeside Plaza.

When he arrived, he saw a man leaving the store carrying bags of merchandise. As Keen approached the suspect, the man denied involvement and tried to flee on foot.

Thanks in part to Keen's actions, Salem police charged the suspect and were able to keep what Keen says was a "good amount of prescription drugs" off the street.

He and his wife, who is a nurse at LewisGale Medical Center, both graduated from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

He earned his degree in criminal justice and intercultural studies and is a credentialed minister through the Assemblies of God.

The Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce will formally honor Keen at its annual dinner and gala on March 23 at the Hotel Roanoke.

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