Ackerman named Lima Exchange Club's top cop for 2022

May 17—LIMA — Allen County Sheriff's Deputy Izak Ackerman was honored Wednesday as the Lima Exchange Club's 2022 Law Officer of the Year during ceremonies held at the Fraternal Order of Police hall.

The Exchange Club annually presents the Jack Somerville Award to the individual selected from among nominees submitted by area law enforcement agencies as its recipient of the award.

This year's other nominees included Investigator Aaron Montgomery of the Lima Police Department and Patrolman Tyler Cramer of the Shawnee Township Police Department. All three nominees were praised by their agencies for specific contributions during 2022.

Ackerman was the 55th individual to be chosen as the Exchange Club's Law Officer of the Year. In 2018 the club named the award in honor of Somerville, who organized the project and is still an active club member.

Ackerman was recognized for what were described as two separate displays of bravery. On June 21, 2022 he was shot in the face while pursuing a subject who was trying to escape a vehicle stop and search. Despite having been struck by a bullet, Ackerman returned fire and shot Quincy Pritchett, who subsequently died.

Pritchett's family claimed the officer had used excessive force but an internal review and a grand jury found Ackerman was justified in shooting at the fleeing subject. A review by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation found Pritchett ran from his vehicle and fired at least one shot that struck Ackerman in the face as the two struggled on the ground.

"The facts remain that Mr. Pritchett made every one of these decisions that night that put him in the place that he is at," Sheriff Treglia said in September. "Deputy Ackerman, in my opinion and in this office's opinion, should be considered a hero in this community; fighting for his life and being able to survive."

Ackerman returned to duty in September, following an investigation and medical leave due to his injuries.

After several months of recuperating from his wounds Ackerman again encountered a "shots fired" situation on Nov. 23, 2022. He was training a newly hired deputy when they recognized a subject with an active warrant. The fleeing subject fired two shots toward the deputies that struck a residence.

"Despite twice putting his life in jeopardy in a span of a few months, Deputy Ackerman remains a strong example of a professional and dedicated law enforcement officer and continues to work to ensure the safety of all citizen of Allen County," the nomination stated.

Ackerman said he was "surprised and humbled" when his name was announced as the Somerville Award winner.

"A lot of people had a lot to do with what happened" the night of the incident involving Pritchett. "It wasn't just me. I've had a lot of support from the guys and from the community and I'm proud to represent the Allen County Sheriff's Office," he said.

Prior to the announcement of the Law Officer of the Year award, representatives of the law enforcement community and and their supporters gathered outdoors for the FOP's annual Memorial Service, during which all Allen County peace officers who gave their lives in the line of duty were remembered and recognized.

Following is a list of Allen County peace officers who have been killed in the line of duty (and the year in which they died).

Patrolman Phillip Goebel, LPD (1902)

Patrolman Phillip Droesch, LPD (1918

Officer Owen Grandstaff, Bluffton P.D. (1927)

Officer Frank Herrmann, Bluffton P.D. (1929)

Allen County Sheriff Jess Sarber (1933)

Deputy Ralph Harshe, Allen County (1936)

Detective Charles Hefner, LPD (1951)

Ptl. Charles Bozeman, LPD (1951)

Chief Constable Clarence Prince, American Township (1962)

Patrolman William Brown (1974)

Patrolman Dominic Francis, Bluffton P.D. (2022)