PORTAGE | Janis Regnier said she does what she does in her job and in her life simply because she believes it is the right thing to do.
It surprised her this weekend that her efforts as a 17-year-veteran of the Portage Police Department and her efforts to help the community would earn her the title of the top cop in Indiana.
Days after Regnier was presented the award as the Indiana Police Officer of the Year by the Indiana Department of the American Legion, she remained at a loss for words. Regnier is the first female officer to receive the Lewis-Schmidt Award.
The honor, Regnier said, a corporal in the department's detective bureau, is humbling. It also validates the efforts and hours she's put in during her life to provide service to others.
"I do what I do because it is the way I think it should be done. Especially when you work with kids," said Regnier, who serves as the department's crime scene investigator as well as special victims unit, working with children and women who are victims of crimes. "You have to put your all into every single one of them."
"I need to do the best job I can do for justice for this child, or for this family that just lost a loved one," Regnier said about her motivation to tackle her job.
Her name will now be submitted for the national award to be announced in August 2014.
Regnier said she was honored when her peers chose her Portage Officer of the Year early this year. Honored and surprised when she went on to win the district title.
"Seriously," was the word she remembers thinking when she got the top nod this weekend.
"Recognition by a group of military heroes for my service is beyond my words," Regnier said.
Police Chief Troy Williams said it is Regnier's "determination and passion" that sets her apart.
He also said she is the fourth Portage officer in less than a decade to receive the state award.
A 1986 graduate of Hobart High School, Regnier became a sworn officer in 1996 after serving as a reserve officer and dispatcher. She is also the current president of the Portage Township YMCA board of directors and is active with the Shop with a Cop program.