All in the Family: Wounded Officer has Brothers on Force - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/01/03 - Tyler

All in the Family: Wounded Officer has Brothers on Force

"He was in very good spirits," says Chief Gary Swindle about Kenneth Gardener in the hospital.

He says the Gardner and his family will pull through.  In fact, they are very strong.

Kenneth Gardner is married with three daughters - ages 16, 4 and eight months. 

"Officer Gardner has worked in the department for over six years, does an outstanding job, with several years spent as a member of the bike team," Swindle says.

It was a routine patrol for the bike team in a part of Tyler that has a history of drug activity. Bike officers may seem more vulnerable than those in squad cars, but Swindle says it also gives them an advantage.

"It's easy for them to sneak up on the drug dealers, and witness transactions go down. But it increases their risks, because as we know, our drug dealers carry weapons."

Ironically, drugs were involved the last time a Tyler officer was shot.  Two were hit. One of those was Kenneth's brother, Clint. He and his partner entered a motel room in 1997.  When drug paraphernalia was spotted on a table, a man emerged from a bathroom firing. Clint was hit in the chest. His bulletproof vest saved his life.

Searching for drugs is what the bike officers do, and they often encounter possible criminals in the act.

"This type thing happens several times a week, if not every day that they encounter these drug dealers and take them down with weapons," Swindle says.  Only in this case, weapons were used.

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