BRANSON, Mo. — A Branson Police Department officer is a finalist for the Missouri Lagers 2020 Local Government Hero Award.

The Missouri Lagers said their finalist for the 2020 Hero Award would embody the values and dedication it takes to be the best in their fields.

Officer Darold Donathan has worked for the BPD for 21 years and says he hopes this will help people see that there is more to cops than just being a cop.

“They’re more than just a uniform behind a car, behind the wheel in a car,” said Donathan. “They’re more than just that officer driving around.”

Donathan leads a few community outreach programs such as Citizens Academy.

“Employees of the city, folks who live and work here and give them a chance, an opportunity to see who Branson Police Department is,” said Donathan.

The Branson police officer also hosts National Night Out, an event for residents to meet their neighbors and community members.

“This is an opportunity to get to know everybody, as well as the police department, the fire department, other city offices, Aldermen and mayor,” said Donathan.

This year has added challenges, especially protests concerning police brutality. Donathan says things are different, but it hasn’t made his job any harder.

“There’s been a huge change,” said Donathan. “You know we can turn on our news, and we see what’s happening on in other places of the world, and again, that’s when we focus and look at how fortunate we are here in southwest Missouri.”

The National Night Out program spearheaded by Officer Donathan, will be hosted Oct. 6 in a series of locations throughout the city.