Gerner was recognized by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators for excellence and leadership, including his critical role in two lifesaving incidents during 2021.
Cpl. Ryan Gerner with Elon University Campus Safety and Police has been honored by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) as its 2021 Officer of the Year for the Southeast Region.
Along with serving as a valued member of the department and as a field training officer, Gerner was involved in saving the lives of two people in separate incidents during 2021.
“Corporal Gerner is a perfect example of the fine work university police officers do across the country, both on campus and often assisting local jurisdictions,” said Elon Campus Safety and Police Chief Joe LeMire.
In January 2021, Gerner responded quickly to a call of a student in a residence hall who had stopped breathing. Gerner notified EMS and began CPR on the student until medical personnel arrived and began rendering aid. At the time, Interim Chief Doug Dotson noted that Gerner’s “quick response, recognition of the severity of the medical emergency, immediate actions and effective CPR resulted directly in saving the life of a student.”
Gerner along with Officer Heath Talley from the Town of Gibsonville Police played essential roles in locating a missing person in March 2021. The two officers participated in a search for the person and were able to locate the person in the woods after it appeared the person fell down a hill. Gerner and Talley successfully directed the Alamance County Rescue Squad to their location, with the squad then able to extract the person, who was found face down, unconscious and breathing, and take the person to receive medical care.
The two officers were recognized by the Gibsonville Police Department in November 2021, with Gibsonville Chief Ron Parrish commending them for their efforts.
Gerner said it is an honor to serve with his fellow officers and under LeMire’s leadership. “Having served as a career firefighter/EMT prior to beginning my career in law enforcement gives me a unique perspective toward emergency services and an emergency medical skill set that many law enforcement officers don’t have,” Gerner said. “I feel very fortunate my training and experience was available during those life-threatening situations.”
Gerner is also recognized as an integral part of Elon Campus Safety and Police’s Field Training Program, and a person LeMire credits with playing a major role in helping the department return to full staffing in 2021. “The dedication to duty and tireless work effort that resulted in two life-saving awards in one year is also being shared with new officers, creating a high-functioning police workforce here at Elon University,” LeMire said.
The interactions officers have with individuals on campus could be some of the first they have had with law enforcement, Gerner said, so it’s important to him that they feel they were treated respectfully and fairly.
“Providing training to new officers through our department’s Field Training Program is one of the highest priorities of my position,” Gerner said. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to service the Elon University community and I am truly humbled tby having received the IACLEA Southeast Region Officer of the Year Award.”
Gerner joined Elon Campus Safety and Police in March 2018 and has served as corporal since February 2020. He has spent four years in law enforcement and prior to his years with Elon University he also served nine years with the Burlington Fire Department. He was presented with his department’s 2021 Officer of the Year Award in June.