WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department held its annual awards & promotions ceremony Wednesday afternoon in city council chambers.
About a half-dozen police officers were promoted and 10 people were recognized with awards.
Deputy Chief Alejandra Sotelo made department history with her promotion, being the highest ranking woman and latina officer wearing a WPD badge.
“When I was chosen, I was just honored. I always wanted to be part of a command staff. I’ve been humbled by all the support not only from the men and women from the Wilmington Police Department, but across the state,” said Deputy Chief Sotelo.
Deputy Chief Sotelo says she never went into this line of work to gain accomplishments or accolades.
“I’m here to be the best at anything I do. The best police officer, the best corporal, captain and the best deputy chief that I can be," Deputy Chief Sotelo explained.
Patrol officer Jacob Thomas was recognized with a life-saving award. He responded to a shooting on 12th and Greenfield Street in Wilmington in December of last year. The shooting victim had nine wounds and was bleeding out until Thomas arrived and sprung into action.
“I gave him a med-kit, put some gloves on. I knew he had a life-threatening injury. I stuck my fingers in his neck, felt for his carotid and pinched it shut. I applied chest seal to the victim, waited for EMS and hoped for the best,” Thomas said.
Thomas says he has saved many lives in his career, but it’s the first time he has gotten an award for it.
“It’s a good feeling. I’m just doing my job, to tell you the truth. I feel like I shouldn’t be recognized because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing,” Thomas said.
At the end of the ceremony, Interim Police Chief Donny Williams encouraged employees to keep doing great work.