The Shawnee Police Foundation held its annual banquet Friday night to recognize and honor officers, civilian personnel and those associated with the Shawnee Police Department and Shawnee Police Foundation.
Cpl. Nathan Helm received the prestigious 2018 Officer of the Year Award, while other officers were recognized with Lifesaving Awards, a Medal of Valor, among other awards. The awards presented were:
OFFICER OF THE YEAR
• 2018 Officer of the Year — Cpl. Nathan Helm: Cpl. Helm received the prestigious Officer of the Year Award. He has been with the Shawnee Police Department since September 2011 and is currently assigned to the Uniform Division working the evening shift.
“He is recognized as a natural leader and a positive role model who easily motivates and inspires. He selflessly helps co-workers with any task at hand and has earned the respect of his superiors and peer alike,” the citation reads.
In 2018, Cpl. Helm took 2,447 calls for service, wrote 268 reports and made 81 arrests. He seized almost two pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $8,500 as well as two pounds of marijuana and another $5,178 in drug money.
On July 17, 2018, after observing a known meth supplier's vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot, surveillance was conducted. A traffic stop was later conducted by Cpl. Helm and after a K-9 alerted on the vehicle, drugs and $3,988 in money were seized. On Dec. 13, during a traffic stop, Cpl. Helm recovered methamphetamine, heroin and three firearms, including one that was stolen. And during another stop on Oct. 4, he discovered an explosive device.
Cpl. Helm has also been assisting with installation of the surveillance system at the Family Justice Center, as well as acting as a community leader and role model for area youth. He and his wife are the foster parents of two children.
For his outstanding and superior performance, Helm was named the 2018 Officer of the Year.
CIVILIAN OF THE YEAR
• Civilian of the Year Award — Rachelle Erickson: Civilian employees work behind the scenes to support officers in their fight against crime, which means dispatchers often deal with a variety of calls. Erickson takes on many responsibilities, such as dispatching, training new employees and also handles NCIC validations. On a monthly basis, she contacts about 100 people to verity status of their missing or stolen property. As a Communications Training Officer, she assists with training and mentoring new dispatchers and works in many other capacities. For her positive influence and for encouraging others in the Communications Center, Erickson was honored as Civilian of the Year and accepted her award from Davis and Chief Wilson.
• Lifesaving Award — Cpl. Jake Duggan and Cpl. Zachary Thompson: Cpl. Jake Duggan and Cpl. Zachary Thompson were honored with the Lifesaving Award for their efforts on Jan. 18, 2018. During that overnight call, both responded to a residence on North Minnesota on reports of a suicidal male. When they arrived, they found the man in the middle of the street in a small puddle of blood. They conducted an assessment and saw the man had stabbed himself in the neck several times while attempting to take his own life. Cpl. Duggan grabbed a medical kit from his patrol car while Cpl. Thompson secured the knife. Both then began use of the gauze in the kit to plug the wounds and hold pressure while not cutting off the victim's airway. Their efforts prolonged the man's life long enough for him to receive medical treatment from paramedics and later at a metro trauma center. The victim survived his injuries because of the officers and their immediate medical care. Thompson accepted the award; Duggan wasn't at the banquet.
• Lifesaving Award — Cpl Jake Duggan and Cpl. Ryan Corley: Cpl. Jake Duggan and Cpl. Ryan Corley were recognized with the Lifesaving Award for their efforts on May 24, 2018. On that date, both officers responded to a residence on Wolverine Road for a physical domestic disturbance in progress involving a weapon, where officers were told the suspect was an intoxicated man who had already assaulted a juvenile female. Officers also were informed the suspect was seen outside of the residence, armed with a pistol and shogun. Witnesses there believed he was locked inside of the house but unsure of his exact location as the suspect still had a key to that home. As officers arrived, Lt. Freeland Wood and Sgt. Kevin Hughey made contact with the victims and began to search inside the home while Sgt. Williams, Cpl. Duggan and Cpl. Corley began searching outside.
While outside, the officers heard gunshots from inside. Cpl. Duggan and Cpl. Corley both ran to the west side of the home and began forcing entry. Once they did, they observed the suspect lying on the floor in the kitchen. That's when Cpl. Duggan ran to his patrol car and retrieved a medical bag to render aid. Duggan, along with Cpl. Corley and Lt. Wood, all rendered first aid to the suspect as they awaited an ambulance. The letter shows that it is believed that the medical attention of the officers provided in that critical moment prevented the suspect from dying.
• Lifesaving Award — Officer John Bristow and Cpl. Daniel Crisp: Officer John Bristow and Cpl. Daniel Crisp responded to a residence on East Whitaker on Dec. 7, 2018 for a cardiac arrest medical emergency. Upon arrival, they went inside and found a man on the bathroom floor. The patient was unresponsive and did not have a pulse. The officers immediately began CPR and relieved each other for chest compressions until paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and the victim regained a pulse and started breathing again. The ambulance transported the victim to the hospital and then to a metro trauma center, where he later died. But Cpl. Crisp and Officer Bristow's quick actions to start CPR on an unresponsive victim helped prolong his life until relieved by medics, resulting in him getting advanced lifesaving treatment and giving him the best chance to live. Both were present to receive their awards.
• Lifesaving Award — Officer Brad Sherrill: Officer Brad Sherrill was leaving the emergency room on Oct. 7, 2018 when he observed two intoxicated males trying to pry the main doors to the hospital open while holding up a a third individual. After making contact with the two, the officer noticed all three were covered in blood and the one being held up was in and out of consciousness and bleeding from the head. Officer Sherrill carried him over his shoulder into the ER for treatment and then continued to assist ER staff with the patient. That patient's condition became critical in short time. As the ER staff prepared him for transport, it was discovered he had a severe brain bled and that hemorrhage was herniating downward. Officers were told he likely wouldn't survive even if he made it to surgery. After checking on the man's condition the following week, officers learned the patient had survived and was released from the hospital thanks to Sherrill's quick actions to provide lifesaving care to a person in need. In his absence, Sherrill's award was read to the audience.
POLICE MEDAL OF VALOR
• Medal of Valor — Sgt. Kevin Hughey: Sgt. Keven Hughey was honored with the Medal of Valor, given for heroic deeds and courage. On May 24, 2018, Sgt. Hughey, along with other officers, responded to a physical domestic disturbance involving a weapon. Officers were told the suspect was an intoxicated male who had assaulted a juvenile female. They were advised he was last seen outside armed with a pistol and shotgun. As Sgt. Hughey arrived, he and Lt. Freeland Wood began searching the residence, where Hughey located the suspect in a west bathroom holding a pistol. At that time, Hughey immediately began to walk backward to seek cover. As Hughey crossed the kitchen, the suspect exited the bathroom and confronted Hughey and began to raise his pistol and point it toward the officer. Hughey ordered the suspect to drop the gun, however in order to protect himself and the lives of fellow officers and innocent victims, Hughey fired upon the suspect, stopping the immediate threat. Sgt., Hughey advised dispatch of the shooting and ensured the ambulance was on the way; it was later discovered the shotgun was in the bathroom as well. Sgt. Hughey's actions that night exemplify his heroism and bravery with exceptional conduct, involving courage in the face of danger and while risking his own life to ensure the safety of others.
POLICE SHIELD AWARD
The Police Shield Award is given to Shawnee officers who sustained serious injuries while performing police duties.
• Police Shield Award — Retired Officer Julie Huskins: Sgt. Huskins was a dedicated police officer, detective and supervisor. She was injured in the line of duty and after months of extensive treatment and surgeries, she was given the devastating news that she would no longer be able to do the thing she loved most. Her law enforcement career ended early and she was forced to leave her law enforcement family for those medial reasons. She spent her career dedicated to helping the citizens of Shawnee and assisting her fellow officers. SPD was sad to see the end of her career, but she will always be considered a member of the SPD family. All officers in attendance stood to honor Huskins as she received her award; she also received a standing ovation from the crowd.
LETTERS OF COMMENDATION —
• Letter of Commendation — Channa Pauley: Telecommunicator Pauley was honored for her work handling a physical domestic call with weapons involved. Throughout the call, she maintained a professional demeanor while providing the caller with reassurance, safety instructions and while getting important scene safety information to responding officers. Pauley was presented her award.
• Letter of Commendation — Haley Wright: While Telecommunicator Channa Pauley was taking the domestic call listed above, Wright immediately dispatched police units to the location and provided them with updated information as it came in. The domestic call on May 24, 2018, began as a serious threat but quickly evolved into a dangerous situation as shots were fired within 10 minutes of officers arriving at the scene. Once shots were fired, it was several minutes before the dispatchers were notified that all police units were safe. During the incident, both Pauley and Wright were still responsible for processing other calls, with the letter outlining that their performance during the incident was precise and well-documented. Wright was presented her award.
• Letter of Commendation — Cpl. Jay Keehn: Keehn was honored for his work wth the District Attorney's Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force for the past five years. Keehn was assigned in November 2012 and during his time developed a working knowledge of the drug trade as he worked to combat the drug problem within the district. Keehn helped establish and implement Standard Operating Procedures for the task force, which became the No. 1 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force in the state in 2016, 2017 and in 2018.
Keehn's investigations helped seize large amounts of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, pills, mushrooms, firearms and over $500,000 in currency and resulted in the arrest of 486 mid to high level narcotics suspects who received 2,200 years of judicial sentencing. Keehn was presented with his award.
SPF BOARD MEMBER AWARD
Shawnee Police Foundation Board Member of the Year — Justin Payne: In 2009, SPF began to recognize a board member for their service. The award is named for S.D. Hackett, who was one of the founding members of the foundation who died in 2012. This year the SPF S.D. Hackett Board Member of the Year award was presented to Justin Payne, who accepted the award from Margaret Davis and Chief Mason Wilson.
• October Employee of the Month —Although not present, Kelsey Byers was recognized for being honored as the October 2018 Employee of the month for the City of Shawnee. Last year, Byers also was recognized by the Lincoln and Pottawatomie County Coordinated Community Response Team as the District 23 Dispatcher for Domestic Violence.
• Technician of the Quarter — Justin Beaver: Beaver was honored for being awarded the first Technician of the Quarter award presented in 2018 by the Oklahoma Chapter of NENA — National Emergency Number Association.
During the event, Chris Thomas served as emcee and gave kudos to the Shawnee Police Sentinels who volunteer their time for the police department, including Gene Stryjewski, who served as photographer for the event. Music throughout the evening and the National Anthem was sung by Justin Robbins. Law Enforcement Explorer Post No. 2016 led the Pledge of Allegiance with the flags presented by the SPD Color Guard. Shawnee Police Chaplain Ken Kerbo gave the invocation.
Every year, the foundation holds a banquet to honor officers and raise funds for the foundation, which provides equipment and other items to the police department.