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Public safety officials recognized by rotary club

Special Photo Sheriff's Deputy Steven Cooley was one of three local public safety officials to be honored by the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County this week. Cooley was named Deputy of the Year for his creation of the STRAP youth mentoring program, which helps troubled teens.

Special Photo Sheriff's Deputy Steven Cooley was one of three local public safety officials to be honored by the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County this week. Cooley was named Deputy of the Year for his creation of the STRAP youth mentoring program, which helps troubled teens.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Rotary Club of Gwinnett recently honored its public servants of the year for their contributions to the county.

Representatives from Gwinnett County's sheriff's office, police department and fire department were all honored in a ceremony and presented with a plaque and $500 check. Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge, Deputy Steven Cooley and Senior Police Officer Humberto Garcia were this year's recipients.

"These men have made a significant contribution to the safety and security of the citizens of Gwinnett County," David Post of the Rotary said.

Rutledge, Cooley and Garcia were honored for unique contributions:

-- Rutledge, a longtime veteran of (and spokesman for) the fire department, was named firefighter of the year for his involvement in training and fire prevention programs that "save a bunch of lives," Post said.-- Cooley, a deputy in juvenile court, was honored for his creation of the STRAP youth mentoring program, in which he and other volunteers mentor "troubled young men" between ages 13 and 17.-- Garcia started a program to help local property managers "identify the bad guys," Post said -- the program that started with 26 apartment complexes helps managers identify potential residents that have criminal records.