News Story

NSU celebrates its University Police Department’s Officer of the Year

Sgt. Manuel Holland Jr. receives award for Officer of the Year from Captain James Bell.

(Tahlequah, Okla.)-- At this year’s annual Elks Lodge Law Enforcement Banquet, Northeastern State University honored Campus Police Sergeant Manuel Holland Jr. by naming him the University Police Department’s Officer of the Year.  

The Tahlequah Elks Lodge hosted the banquet to honor law enforcement in Cherokee County and one officer from each agency is recognized. This year Holland was among eight other officers in the county who were celebrated at the Feb. 15 event. 

NSU UPD chooses the outstanding officer based on their performance throughout the year. They consider input from all of the peers and then Chief Patti Buhl makes the final selection.

“We select an officer through a continual performance review rather than one case or incident, we look for dedication and community service,” Captain James Bell said.

Holland is a lifelong resident of the Tahlequah area and enjoys serving his community. He worked as a dispatcher and emergency medical technician for the Cherokee Nation from 1993-2000, started his law enforcement career with the Locust Grove Police Department and graduated from the Council on Law Enforcement and Training (CLEET) in 2001. He served as a police officer in Vian, the chief of police in Spavinaw and an officer in Hulbert.

Bell explained that Holland has vast knowledge of his job and his position, engages the community and is diligent in his work.

“He has high ethical standards while holding others to those same standards.”

Holland says he finds motivation in knowing that he is honoring his mentors by doing the best job he can.

“I am putting to use the knowledge, skills, and wisdom that they passed on to me.”

Holland, who has been with NSU as an officer since 2005, currently serves as the patrol sergeant for the Tahlequah campus and supervises the evening and night shifts.

Holland’s role on campus has also grown to encompass time spent in the classroom, where he is an instructor teaching Firearms, RAIDER Solo Engagement, ALICE, and many tactical response courses. Holland is the departmental firearms instructor and armorer.

For more information regarding the University Police, visit

Published: 3/7/2016 9:06:16 AM

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