Sandy Springs Fire Chief Jack McElfish speaks during the 2014 Public Safety Awards luncheon held at The Rotary Club of Sandy Springs on Sept. 22

Public safety was at the top of Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough’s list when the city incorporated, he said during the 2014 Public Safety Awards, which was held at The Rotary Club on Monday at noon.

“We built an organization that is second to none,” McDonough said, noting that the fire and police chiefs have “set themselves apart” as community leaders. McDonough added he gets emails and calls from residents who value the customer service and dedication of officers.

Fire Chief Jack McElfish said the police and fire departments in Sandy Springs work well together, and are at the same places most of the time.

“The only difference between fire and police is uniform,” he said, then laughed adding, “fire officials don’t get involved with shootings.”

Police Chief Ken DeSimone said the task of choosing officers to recognize was difficult, then he patted his belly and said several Rotarians commented on his uniform.

“I am wearing a [bulletproof] vest, not gaining weight,” DeSimone said with a smile.

Mayor Rusty Paul congratulates Police Civilian Employee of the Year Alberto Cabrera on Sept. 22
L to R: Police Chief Ken DeSimone, City Manager John McDonough, Fire Officer of the Year Capt. Chris Edmondson, Mayor Rusty Paul.
L to R: Police Chief Ken DeSimone, City Manager John McDonough and Paramedic of the Year Firefighter Gina Ramey
Firefighter Matthew Hildebrand accepts the Firefighter of the Year Award during The Rotary Club luncheon Sept. 22.
L to R: City Manager John McDonough, Chief Fire Officer of the Year Interim Deputy Chief Mark Duke, Duke’s son (front), Mayor Rusty Paul and Duke’s wife.

“I want to continue to challenge you to move forward; your community will thank you for it,” McDonough said to all those who received and presented awards Monday.