Sergeant Makes Everyone Around Her Better

UVA Today is highlighting the winners of the 2012 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Awards, the highest U.Va. honor staff receive for their dedicated service to the University. Today: Sgt. Tracie Craner of the University Police. To see all of the stories, click here.

May 29, 2012 — During her career of more than 26 years with the University Police Department, Sgt. Tracie Craner has regularly stepped up to serve in new roles, from working undercover on drug sting operations to riding on equestrian patrol, training new officers and serving on the underwater search and rescue team and the emergency response management team.

Craner is "a true professional in everything she does," said Officer Scott Smallwood, who nominated Craner for a 2012 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award. She leads by example and "makes everything look easy," drawing on her extensive training and experience.

Always dedicated to the goals of the department, Craner is usually the first to arrive for duty and often the last to leave, Smallwood said. She routinely covers shifts for others and has given up vacation days to help conclude office projects.

"She doesn't leave work until the job is done," said Sgt. Cassandra Carter, who has worked with Craner for more than 20 years. "She places her duties to the department above her personal needs."

"I don't know where she gets her energy," Smallwood said.

Her professionalism is perhaps most consequential when the department faces life-and-death calls, like a bomb threat, weapon sighting or a possible shooter. As the officer in charge in such adrenaline-inducing situations, she is known for her competent decision-making and cool, level-headed demeanor, Carter said, setting the tone and example for all responding officers and helping them engage the situation with a "cool mind."

When asked to assist with a difficult case, she is known for her "outside the box" thinking, which often helps to successfully conclude the case, Smallwood said.

She has been a tactical instructor and field training officer for the past 12 years, training recruits and officers in the fundamentals of police work, from interviewing to the proper use of a tactical baton and pepper spray.

In a career filled with stressful situations that can lead to burnout, she is a trusted counselor and confidant to the officers she supervises, with an open-door policy, always there for her employees, Smallwood said. "There is no problem too big or too small. If you come to her for anything – whether it's a personal issue or a professional challenge – you will leave feeling better, or connected with the resources you need."

She encourages her fellow officers to advance their own careers and achieve personal goals through classes and training, and will "find the time and means to make the goal happen," he said.

"She cares more about the people that work with her and under her than any other person I've met in my life," Smallwood said.

Craner brings a positive attitude – always highlighting the positive contributions and strengths of every employee – that makes everyone around her better and helps everyone overcome their weaknesses, Smallwood said. "Tracie Craner is what people want as a supervisor, what they want as an employee."

– by Brevy Cannon