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Police awards handed out during city council meeting
By Kenny Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mesquite Police Department presented its annual meritorious conduct awards for 2011 during the regular city council session on Monday, April 16. The awards are voted on by a board within the police department that reviews recommendations for employee awards based on outstanding acts or performances in which a citizen or officer brings credit to the department or community.
“The presentation today is to recognize these employees for their achievements and service to the Mesquite Police Department,” said Bill Hedgpeth, police spokesman.
During the ceremony, the department recognized its officer of the year, Danny Keele.
“Deep nights patrol made over 2,500 arrests last year. This is the most highly motivated group of officers I have ever worked with. Even though I am the recipient of this award there are many other officers that I worked with last year that were just as deserving,” Keele said. “There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to be a cop. It’s in my blood. It’s the ultimate career and I am blessed to be part of it.”
The department also honored its civilian of the year. This year Tad Beddow was selected as the Civilian of the Year.
“He has been employed by the Mesquite Police Department since 2007 and is currently assigned in technical services as a detention officer. Tad participates in a variety of tasks processing prisoners for intake and release from municipal jail. He inventories prisoners’ property, records fingerprints, monitors prisoner’s safety on a regular basis, and prepares the appropriate paperwork upon their release. Tad does an excellent job and his supervisors consider him to be motivated, punctual and knowledgeable about his job,” Hedgpeth said.
“The city of Mesquite has some of the best people I have worked for or with,” Beddow said. “This is the coolest and most important award I have ever gotten.”
The first group of individual awards, a certificate of merit, began with a presentation to Katy Fowler. A certificate of merit is awarded for excellence in police work, outstanding performance under unusual, complicated or hazardous conditions, or for superior performance of any assignment over a prolonged period of time.
“[Fowler] is a public safety dispatcher for police communications. Police dispatch received a 911 call on July 31 from witnesses who reportedly saw a man with a gun enter a convenience store on Gus Thomasson Road. The male subject demanded money from the clerk and fled the scene in a car driven by a female subject. The store clerk described the vehicle as a silver sedan with a Texas license plate including the numbers 935. Police dispatchers, including Fowler, immediately began to search the NCIC database using the partial license plate number. Variations of the numbers were entered but no match was found. With millions of records in the system and the fact they only had a partial number, it seemed impossible that a match could be retrieved,” Hedgpeth said. “[Fowler] remained persistent and began working through plate scan records and LRMS. Her determination paid off. She was successful in matching two records that identified the male subject and female subject involved in the convenience store aggravated robbery. With the information she provided from the plate scan database, and the material evidence found at the subject's residence, officers were able to apprehend and arrest both subjects involved in the robbery.”
Also receiving certificates of merit were Lt. Doug Yates and Sgt. Philip Clay.
“Lt. Yates and Sgt. Clay recently updated the DWI procedures to include the new policy of blood draw guidelines. They began with an in-depth study of similar programs from participating agencies. They collected resource material to better educate hospital staff and police officers concerning the updated procedures, as well as, the revised state requirements. They also obtained all of the required state documents and updated the blood draw search warrants. This was a lengthy process and has benefited the department and city. The city is now eligible to participate in no refusal weekends and qualifies for the state-funded DWI STEP grant which allows officers to focus on DWI enforcement,” Hedgpeth said.
The final certificate of merit award winner was Sgt. Brad Meyer.
“[He] exhibits excellent leadership qualities,” Hedgpeth said. “He focuses on current crime trends in the city and uses that information to direct the officers in providing the best of service and safety to the citizens. Meyer promotes training and is quick to identify and fulfill the training needs of his platoon. He works closely with officers to develop and deliver training to suit their individual needs. Meyer continually provides up-to-date information through videos, literature, crime maps, BOLO'S and hot list to ensure the platoon remains on top of what is going on in the community. Meyer is devoted to the Mesquite Police Department and devoted to serving and protecting the citizens of our community.”
The next group of awards presented by the department were its lifesaving awards. The lifesaving award is awarded to any police department employee for the saving of a human life or for prolonging their life to the extent that the victim was released to medical care authorities.
The first lifesaver honored by the department was officer Ian Purdue.
“Purdue is being recognized with a Life Saving Award for his actions in preventing an attempted suicide on April 24, 2011. Purdue was on routine patrol in the area of Town East Boulevard about 1 a.m., when he observed a female wearing a pink dress standing precariously on top of a bridge guard rail looking down towards U.S. 80. He immediately exited the squad car and approached the female from the service road. He could hear her talking to her husband on a cell phone trying to convince him to come watch her jump. The husband was in a nearby hotel room,” Hedgpeth said. “Officer Purdue climbed further up the embankment to get near the female. At that time the female was attempting to climb around the protective fence that skirted the bridge. Purdue quickly reached around the fence and grabbed the female's arm, pulling her back to safety. The female was in submission and told Purdue that she was diagnosed bipolar and schizophrenic and had not taken her medication in weeks. She confided that she wanted to die and be with her father who has passed away. The female was transported to the hospital for treatment and later released. Purdue's quick and decisive actions under extreme pressure prevented a needless death.”
Officer Autumn Soto was recognized with a lifesaving award for her response to a medical emergency.
“She was the first to respond to a call about 2 a.m. on Baker Drive concerning a report of a 26-year-old female having an active seizure. When Soto arrived on the scene, she found the victim lying on the floor, unconscious and not breathing. Officer Soto assessed the victim's condition and began CPR in an effort to revive her. The victim regained a pulse and began breathing on her own. The Mesquite Fire Department Rescue Unit arrived and transported the victim to the hospital for treatment where she was expected to make full recovery,” Hedgpeth said.
Sgt. Brad Meyer and officer Joe Maddox also received a lifesaving award for their response to an attempted suicide in-progress call on Americana Lane on July 20, 2011.
“About 3:30 a.m., officers were dispatched based on a 911 call from a tenant who reported that his girlfriend was attempting to commit suicide. When officers arrived on the scene, they found the victim, a 21-year-old female, lying on the bathroom floor unconscious and not breathing. They immediately began CPR. Medical personnel soon arrived and took over the rescue procedures. The medics were able to regain a pulse and the victim began breathing on her own. She was transported by helicopter to the hospital for treatment. Meyer and Maddox were successful in prolonging her life to the extent that she could receive emergency care,” Hedgpeth said.
Maddox also received a second lifesaving award for his response to a medical emergency. On Sept. 12, Maddox was dispatched to a call at McKenzie and Pioneer Road in reference to an unconscious 25-year-old male who had stopped breathing. As Maddox arrived on the scene, he was flagged down by a frantic family member reporting that the victim was unresponsive. Maddox went inside the house and found a male subject on the floor. He was not breathing and had no pulse. Officer Maddox initiated CPR until Mesquite Fire Department paramedics arrived and took over the medical treatment. He was transported to Dallas Regional where he was placed on a ventilator. Hospital staff in the intensive care unit commended the officer for his quick action in performing CPR. Officer Maddox remained calm and effective during a life-and-death situation,” Hedgpeth said.
Officers Stephen Killingsworth and Zackary Scott were recognized with a lifesaving award for their response to a medical emergency at Grubb Drive and Glenn Circle on Aug. 5, 2011.
“Police dispatch received a 911 call reporting that a man was lying face down in the middle of Grubb Drive. A witness had observed the man staggering through several residential yards to Grubb Drive where he fell and struck his head on the pavement. He stood up and attempted to walk but fell back down again onto the street striking his head directly on the pavement. Responding officers arrived on the scene and found the victim unresponsive with no pulse. The officers administered CPR for several minutes and the victim began to respond. Fire department paramedics arrived and took over the emergency treatment and transported him to the hospital. The emergency room staff was able to sustain a heartbeat and placed him on a breathing machine. Officers were advised that the victim had suffered a heart attack and was expected to recover. The officers are to be commended for their efforts in treating the victim and giving him an opportunity to receive medical treatment at the hospital,” Hedgpeth said.
The next lifesaver to be honored was officer Joshua Key.
“About 1 a.m., police dispatch received a 911 call from a family member on Casa Ridge Drive reporting that their eight-month-old baby was unresponsive and not breathing. Officer Key was the first to arrive on the scene. He observed some of the family members performing CPR using instructions from a police dispatcher. Key assessed the child's condition and took over the breathing procedures. Officer Brett Bailey arrived to assist and was able to feel air coming from the child's mouth as Key performed compressions. When the Mesquite Fire Department paramedics arrived on the scene, Key immediately carried the child out to the ambulance. The infant was transported to Dallas Regional Hospital in critical condition. Key was very professional in a very stressful situation. He did everything he could to save the life of the little child,” Hedgpeth said.
Officer Alan Gafford was recognized with a lifesaving award for his efforts in preventing a drug overdose death on Jan. 5.
“Officer Gafford and officer Hervey were on special assignment when they were dispatched to assist the fire department with a medical emergency at the Delux Inn. Officers found a 30-year-old male lying unresponsive on the floor that had reportedly overdosed on heroin. Gafford immediately rolled the victim over and unable to feel a pulse began chest compressions. A few moments later the victim gasped for air and began breathing. Fire department personnel arrived and assessed the victim; he had stabilized and was expected to make a full recovery. He was transported to Dallas Regional Galloway for further evaluation,” Hedgpeth said.
The final lifesaver honored by the department was officer Greg McMillen.
“On Feb. 25 at 9 a.m., Officer Greg McMillen was dispatched to a call and had stopped for a red light at the intersection of I-635 and Military Parkway. While waiting for the light to change he was struck from behind by another vehicle. McMillen could see in his rear-view mirror that the driver was in some type of medical distress so he called for an ambulance and got out to check on the driver. The driver was in full cardiac arrest, no pulse, no breathing, no heartbeat. McMillen pulled him out of the car and started CPR. Paramedics from Fire Station No. 4 arrived and took over the rescue efforts. The victim was taken to the hospital for critical treatment. Fox 4 News did a feature story about the incident showing actual video footage from the police car dash camera of the rescue scene. The victim was very grateful to McMillen for saving his life and publicly thanked him on the television newscast,” Hedgpeth said.
The next award presented by the department was the police commendation award. The police commendation award can be awarded for outstanding contributions to law enforcement through the success of difficult police projects, programs or situations, with such contributions being made in a highly professional degree of accomplishment.
The lone recipient was officer Cedric Ingram. Ingram was recognized for his actions during an incident that occurred on May 5, 2011 at Horn High School.
“Officers Mark Lamb and Cedric Ingram were working as School Resource Officers when they were requested to report to Room D105 to assist a principal. When the officers arrived, they observed a student standing in the middle of the room clutching a pair of scissors in his right hand. The student was yelling, crying and blurting out profanity. He was slashing at his left wrist and forearm with the scissors threatening to kill himself. Ingram quickly assessed the situation. He began a rapport with the student to discourage him from doing further harm to himself. The student was visibly emotional and distraught. Ingram continued to converse and distract the student while he edged in closer to where the student was standing. The student showed no signs of relenting and Ingram took the opportunity to grab his right arm pinning him against the wall. The situation was now under control and the officers were able to place the student in a safe area. The student was transported to the hospital for treatment. Those who witnessed the incident believe that Ingram's actions protected the student, as well as faculty members, who were in the classroom,” Hedgpeth said.
Hedgpeth closed the awards ceremony by thanking the council and city manager for devoting time during the city council meeting to allow the presentation of the awards.
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