Awards Given During APD's 3rd Quarter Awards Ceremony

AMARILLO - **PRESS RELEASE**

On October 19th at 2:00 PM, Chief Ed Drain held an awards ceremony at the Amarillo Civic Center Regency Room. Multiple awards were handed out to officers, APD civilian employees, and citizens of Amarillo. 
 
On June 27th, 2017, Officers Bryan Gaitan and Shane Wheeler were dispatched to a trespassing call at an apartment complex on South Nelson Street. As the officers made contact with the suspect, he fled and entered the driver’s seat of a vehicle. The suspect refused commands to exit and began trying to place the car in gear. Officer Wheeler attempted to remove the much larger suspect from the vehicle. The suspect resisted Officer Wheeler’s attempts to remove him from the vehicle, so Officer Gaitan moved to assist. The suspect then began delivering closed fist strikes to the head and chest of both officers, as they attempted to bring him under control. Officer Wheeler tried to draw his taser and the suspect picked him up and forcefully slammed him on the pavement, leaving him disoriented. Officer Gaitan continued to struggle with the suspect, deploying his taser and collapsible ASP baton in an attempt to bring the suspect under control. While still on the ground, Officer Wheeler observed the suspect holding a handgun and warned Officer Gaitan, who was able to disengage and draw his service weapon. The suspect then fled, but turned back towards the officers, raising his gun. Officer Gaitan fired at the suspect, striking him and ending the threat. Officer Gaitan showed great concern for his fellow officer who was lying defenselessly on the ground and moved to protect him. For their exceptional bravery and courageous action during this incident, Officer Bryan Gaitan and Officer Shane Wheeler were awarded the Medal of Valor. For suffering serious bodily injury during this incident, Officer Shane Wheeler was also awarded the Purple Heart citation
 
On Friday, September 8th, 2017, Amarillo police officers were in the 800 block of North Forest attempting to apprehend a suspect wanted in connection to a murder. APD SWAT officers, Negotiators and APD K-9 Officer Lavery with his canine Koss responded to the scene. Koss went into a crawl space under the residence and located the suspect. Officers then heard what he believed was a muffled gunshot coming from under the house. After Koss made his way back outside he was checked to make sure that he was okay. There were no injuries found on Koss at that time, but officers could smell gunpowder coming from the crawl space. After the incident Cpl. Lavery checked Koss again and found that he was bleeding from his neck. Koss was immediately transported to the Emergency Animal Clinic where he was treated by Dr Katie Dickinson and Vet Tech Ethan Clemans. The bullet had struck Koss on the left side of his neck but he was instantly ready to get back to work. The Amarillo Polic e Department is proud to have Koss protecting fellow officers and citizens from the many dangerous situations that arise. Canine Koss has been awarded the Amarillo Police Department’s Purple Heart Citation.   Dr Katie Dickinson and Ethan Clemans were awarded the APD Certificate of Appreciation for their efforts to treat Koss and their compassion shown to his handler during this stressful situation. 
 
 
On September 12th, 2017, while en route from Canyon to Amarillo on I-27, Sergeant Chaz Williams was flagged down by a couple whose car had broken down. They were left stranded with a six-month-old child and without means to continue their trip. Sergeant Williams called the Randall County dispatch and requested that a deputy bring a set of jumper cables. Deputy Austin Davis arrived and they were able to get the car started. The car did not run for long and eventually died. The young couple was overwhelmed and without the resources, funds, or life-skills to get out of their predicament. Sgt. Williams and Deputy Davis could not in good conscience leave this young family to fend for themselves. Deputy Davis left but soon returned with water, food, and enough baby supplies to last a week. He also researched bus schedules, prices and departure times for Sgt. Williams and was an invaluable problem-solving asset in getting the couple cared for and back on their way. Sgt. W illiams reached out to Corporal Darrell Roberts for assistance knowing that he is a man of faith and active in his church. Cpl. Roberts made some calls and soon after an associate pastor at his church called Sgt. Williams with an offer of money to help purchase a bus ticket. Elizabeth Tomlinson, an employee at the Greyhound bus terminal, was able to get discounted rates on the tickets for the family. Sgt. Williams paid for the second ticket with his own money and assisted the couple in making arrangements for the sale of their non-operational car, giving them extra cash for the remainder of their trip. Sgt. Williams also took the family to his own home, made dinner for them, and allowed them to use his shower to clean up before driving them to the bus station in time for their departure. Ms Tomlinson got off of work and went to a store to buy items for the baby and other supplies that the family would need for their trip. Ms Tomlinson showed great compassion and went out of her way to help a family that she did not know. This incident was brought to the attention of the Amarillo Police Department and the public through the family’s posts on social media. Sgt Williams has been awarded the APD Department Citation, Corporal Darrell Roberts has been awarded with an APD Division Citation, Deputy Austin Davis has been awarded an APD Operational Citation, and Elizabeth Tomlinson was awarded an APD Citizen’s Commendation. The officers and Ms Tomlinson are to be commended for the compassion and service shown to this family. The actions of Sgt. Williams, Deputy Davis, Cpl Roberts, and Ms Tomlinson reflect highly on them, the Amarillo Police Department, the Randall County Sheriff’s Office and the Greyhound Bus Station. 
 
On, June 8th, 2017, Officers Jake Dempsey and Jeremy Rios were dispatched to a medical call of a 3-year-old male that was unconscious and not breathing. The officers quickly arrived and immediately began to administer CPR to the victim, who was suffering from respiratory failure. The actions taken by the officers allowed the child to begin breathing on his own. AMS arrived on scene shortly after this and provided advanced CPR and additional life-saving measures. According to AMS personnel, the swift and prudent actions taken by Officers Dempsey and Rios allowed advanced life support measures to be initiated. The positive pressure ventilations were provided in the pivotal moment and were crucial as a life sustaining measure. Officer Jake Dempsey and Officer Jeremy Rios are to be commended for their dedication and efforts to save a life. They have been awarded the Amarillo Police Department Life Saving Award. 
 
On June 10th, 2017, Officer Travis Moore, Officer Logan Landrum and Officer Jared Wade were dispatched to a Major accident at 7300 East I-40. A truck pulling a utility trailer loaded with sand and rebar was eastbound on IH-40 East when the load shifted and the trailer broke loose. The trailer crossed two lanes of traffic and struck five members of a construction crew laying down material for a new road. These first arriving officers discovered that three of the employees were deceased, but they were able to provide life saving measures help to the other two victims. Officer Travis Moore located a male who had a severe laceration to his leg and immediately applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. A second injured victim was found trapped under the trailer. His left leg was trapped and severely injured. This victim also had a severe laceration to his back, exposing his internal organs. Officer Travis Moore, Officer Chris Padron, Officer Blake Gray, Officer Logan La ndrum, Officer Kirk Anderson and Officer Jared Wade, along with other unhurt construction workers lifted the extremely heavy trailer from on top of the victim. He was then moved to a safe location to begin medical treatment. The injuries that both of these men suffered could have been fatal if not for the fast actions of these officers who took immediate actions to save them from further harm. Officer Travis Moore, Officer Kirk Anderson, Officer Jared Wade, Officer Blake Gray, Officer Logan Landrum and Officer Chris Padron were awarded with the Amarillo Police Department Life Saving Award. 
 
In January of 2017, the Property Division began preparing to move from the basement of the Amarillo Police Department to a secure offsite warehouse. Sergeant Raquel Saunders and Officer Marcus Bettag were instrumental in the planning and organization of the move. Numerous meetings were held to plan and re-plan as set-backs were encountered, all while maintaining the daily operations of receiving, releasing, and destroying of property. Although there were several setbacks, plan changes and location changes, Sergeant Saunders and Officer Bettag were able to overcome, adapt and prevent several critical errors from occurring. Without Sgt. Saunders’ and Officer Bettag’s dedication the move would not have been successful. For their efforts, diligence, and attention to duty, Sgt. Raquel Saunders and Officer Marcus Bettag were awarded the APD Division Citation.
 
In the spring of 2017, Captain Tam Boatler was assigned as the Incident Commander for the July 1st, Route 66, celebration and fireworks show in Amarillo. This was a major change from previous city-wide Independence Day celebrations both in location and scope. Captain Boatler coordinated with dozens of stakeholders for this day-long event. He contacted businesses and residents in the celebration area. He coordinated the hiring of off-duty officers, and coordinated the staffing for on-duty officers. Captain Boatler attended dozens of meetings and spent a considerable amount of time carefully planning this event. He created an operations plan that will guide the event for next year. As a result of his hard work, the event was well received and saw no crimes or accidents. Captain Boatler is commended for his thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and dedication to making this a safe event for the businesses and citizens of Amarillo. Captain Boatler’s actions bring favorab le review to the City of Amarillo and the Amarillo Police Department and he was awarded the Amarillo Police Department Operations Citation.  
 
In May of 2017, two separate inspections were conducted at the Amarillo Police Department by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). The first inspection was a licensing audit conducted by Kenny Merchant and the second was a training program evaluation conducted by Malcolm Jackson. Anticipating the program evaluation, Sergeant Mike Martinez contacted the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy and the Randall County Sheriff’s Office, who had both recently gone through these inspections. Working together, these agencies conducted a training class for area TCOLE instructors covering the evaluation and possible areas of deficiencies. Sgt. Martinez became aware of two areas that the Amarillo Police Department would need to change immediately to ensure compliance.  He met with Kelly Hixon, Mattie McAlavy and Beth Thurmon, who work in the APD Training and Personnel Unit.  Kelly, Beth and Mattie had already taken action to correct these deficiencies. The issues were corrected within the 30 day time table allowed by TCOLE. During the evaluation, these steps were brought to the inspector’s attention and he was greatly impressed with initiative and professionalism of all involved. For their exceptional work and dedication, Sergeant Mike Martinez, Kelly Hixon, Mattie McAlavy, and Beth Thurmon were awarded the Amarillo Police Department Division Citation.
 
On September 8th, 2017, officers were dispatched to 34th and Canyon Drive on a suicidal subject attempting to jump off of the overpass into traffic. When the officers arrived, they found that four citizens had pulled the subject off of the ledge and were holding her until the authorities arrived. One of the citizens, Clint Wood, saw the subject get out of her car and walk to the bridge. Mr. Wood, Thomas Bankhead, and Charles Swopes approached the subject and began speaking to her. Christopher Adams, who is an Animal Management and Welfare officer, saw the subject sitting on the rail and called the incident in on the radio. Mr. Adams then approached the subject and spoke to her, getting her attention and giving Mr. Bankhead an opportunity to pull her off of the ledge. The Amarillo Police Department would like to commend Clint Wood, Thomas Bankhead, Charles Swopes, and Christopher Adams for their quick thinking and swift actions which saved the life of the ir fellow citizen. They are awarded the APD Citizen’s Citation of Service. 
 
Several officers were awarded with APD Good Conduct Awards. 
 

  • 5 Year Good Conduct Award – Evan Burner, Aiden Callahan, H=Jacob Charter, Jon Crum, Fabiola Gajardo, Bryan Jackson, Chris Kidd, Gary Koontz, Lankin Landrum, Domingo Laureles, Reece Lovato, Sean Mcintosh, Luke Nelson, Rafael Quiles, Erick Quirk, Raymond Soto, Jace Strate, Nathan Thompson, David Wolven
  • 10 Year Good Conduct Award – Stephen Beckum, James Blandford, Wes Brown, Devin Cantwell, JC Drennan, Susan Goodson, Jeb Hilton, Jeremiah Hopper, Billy Jensen, Steven Kennedy, Vinilla King, Kaleb McCarrell, Terry Meck, Mike Morrison, Thomas Newton, Jay Puckett, Norma Quiles, Trevor Scherlen, Carmela Smith, Daniel Smith, Jaycin Smothermon, Scott Welling, Sheldon West
  • 15 Year Good Conduct Award – Mitch Matthews, Terry Moore
  • 30 Year Good Conduct Award – Berry Carden, Ephraim Contreras, Keith Cook, Marvin Hill
  • 35 Year Good Conduct Award – Terry Lichtie, Steve Powers

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