Finance and Operations; OUR Clemson

CUPD honors officers and staff at awards ceremony


The Clemson University Police Department held its mid-year awards ceremony at the Madren Center on Thursday, July 13, recognizing and honoring 29 officers and staff that have distinguished themselves over the current year and beyond.

“Throughout this year we are focusing on living our values,” said Associate Vice President for Public Safety and CUPD Chief Greg Mullen during his opening comments. “And not just having them as words but making sure there are actions attached to those words. Part of that is meaningful recognition for the things that we do. A lot of what you will hear about tonight is people who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of the profession and the safety and security of Clemson University.”

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Max Allen and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Finance and Operations Tony Wagner also provided comments during the ceremony.

“Anytime we can recognize people for their work and the great work that they do it is a great day,” Allen said. “Safety and security at this institution is paramount. It’s the way that you all go about this work, the work of community policing, the work of being mindful about the challenges you have and making sure we have one of the safest campuses in America.”

“The work that’s being done in Public Safety is the cornerstone of our Division,” said Wagner. “Having a Public Safety unit that can handle a diverse set of circumstances in a situation that is unique in so many ways is critical.”

Rhonda Blurton receives a retirement plaque from CUPD Chief Greg Mullen.

Mullen and Deputy Chief Greg Whitaker presented each of the awards and recognitions, starting with Rhonda Blurton, who was recognized for her years of service to the Physical Security Operations Center (PSOC) ahead of her upcoming retirement.

Nineteen officers were recognized as Police Training Officers, while Brady Land was recognized as a Communications Training Officer. Captain Christopher Harrington and Lieutenant Rashad Murray were each recognized for completing the Advanced Instructor Development Course.

Officer Dawson Cress received a Commendation for Outstanding Service. In December 2022, Officer Cress responded to a call and encountered an individual experiencing a drug overdose. He quickly administered Narcan and the individual survived due to the officer’s swift action.

Three other CUPD officers were recognized for their life-saving actions, each having a bar pinned to their uniform for their heroism. In January, Officer Cameron Matthews responded to a call for an attempted suicide and encountered an individual with a severe wound. Officer Matthews retrieved a tourniquet and started life-saving actions, which ultimately saved the person’s life.

CUPD Officer Matthews has a pin added to his uniform by Chief Greg Mullen.

In February, Officers Kirk Talley and Matthew Davis responded to a call of an individual in cardiac arrest. Officer Talley arrived first and quickly initiated CPR and once Officer Davis arrived the two worked as a team and ultimately helped save the individual’s life.

CUPD presented its Employee of the Quarter for the first two quarters of 2023. Officer Ryan Best received the award for the first quarter of the year, while Officer Kellie Smith was honored for the second quarter.

Two CUPD officers with their right hands raised taking oaths from CUPD Chief Greg Mullen.

Two new officers were officially sworn in during the ceremony. Officers Clay Barnes and Nick Powell took their oaths and became the newest members of CUPD.

The ceremony was capped off as Mullen presented Officer Dakoda Callis with a special plaque that reads Sua Sponte, which is Latin for “of his own accord”. Officer Callis recently encountered a person experiencing homelessness and went into a convenience store and purchased food for the individual.

Retirement Recognition

Rhonda Blurton

Police Training Officer (PTO)

Det. Jason Allen, Officer Ryan Best, Officer Collin Bliss, Sgt. Melissa Boggs, Lt. Janet Brock, Sgt. Charles Burks, Lt. Steven Cannon, Sgt. Amy Cobb, Officer Matthew Davis, Capt. Courtney Evans, Officer Cole Freeman, Officer Aaron Hanks, Capt. Chris Harrington, Officer Steven Kennedy, Sgt. Corri LaBrecque, Det. Brent McKinney, Lt. Rashad Murray, Officer Jarvis Pitts, Sgt. Matthew Prisco, Officer Kirk Talley, Officer Sebastian Veneziano, Lt. Cortney Wright, Sgt. Michelle Young

Communications Training Officer (TCO)

Brady Land

Advanced Instructor Development Course Completion

Sgt. Charles Burks

Capt. Christopher Harrington

Lt. Rashad Murray

Departmental Commendation for Outstanding Service

Officer Dawson Cress

Employees of the Quarter

Officer Ryan Best (First Quarter – 2023)

Officer Kellie Smith (Second Quarter – 2023)

Life-Saving Award

Officer Cameron Matthews

Officer Kirk Talley

Officer Matthew Davis