Charleston police officer, firefighter honored

Charleston Police Officer Kevin Schlieben

A Charleston police officer who helped track down suspects in several armed robberies and a firefighter who helped bring the department's equipment up to date will be honored Sunday.

Charleston Police Officer Kevin Schlieben is Police Officer of the Year. Battalion Chief Joseph Roberts is Firefighter of the Year.

The Knights of Columbus Assembly 1071 will present the awards Sunday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 1695 Wallenberg Blvd.

On April 6, Schlieben and trainee Matthew Tulia stopped a Ford Escape that was traveling south on Ashley River Road because the windows were dark, according to an announcement from the police department. Two men wearing all black clothes jumped out and ran across traffic into some woods.

Schlieben broadcast a description of the men so officers could set up a perimeter. The driver, 25-year-old Feraud Lemon, told him he didn't know who the men were and he borrowed the vehicle from a man at a hotel on Savannah Highway.

Schlieben got permission to search the vehicle and found information identifying the owner. The owner told him she had given the vehicle to a family member and she didn't know Lemon and he didn't have permission to drive it.

Lemon was later charged with four counts of armed robbery.

A man who matched the description of one of the men who fled from the SUV was later seen walking on Ashley River Road. He was identified as Antonio Simmons, 31, and was also later charged with four counts of armed robbery.

"Officer Schlieben's efforts, dedication and attention to detail played a vital role in the arrests of the suspects," according to the department announcement.

Seven years ago, Roberts was asked to lead the fire department's Apparatus and Equipment Committee.

"This was a significant task demanding time and leadership," according to an announcement from the fire department. "Under Chief Roberts' command the committee has developed new apparatus designs and specifications for all of the department's new engines, aerial apparatus, command, and support vehicles. With Chief Roberts's dedication, knowledge, and expertise, the program has excelled."

Robert has been with the fire department since July 9, 1985. In his earlier years, he played a vital role in establishing the department's Hazardous Materials Response Team and the Urban Search and Rescue Team, according to the announcement.

The recognition service will start with a Celebration of Mass at 8 a.m. Sunday. Breakfast will be served in the parish hall next to the church after the service.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.