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Tyler police honor East Texas heroes

KLTV Faces: Tyler PD '12 Awards Banquet

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Several East Texas heroes were honored Friday evening for their actions and service. The Tyler Police Department recognized both employees and residents at their annual awards banquet. Tyler's police chief told us the awards handed out will be remembered for years to come.

"We have a 'Hall of Honor' back at the police department, so it really means something to know your name will be up there basically forever," Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle told us. 



This is the list of awards released by the  Tyler Police Department:


             Officer of the Year - Officer Edgar Zapata

This year's Officer of the Year is highly respected and exhibits the utmost professionalism in the image he presents for the Tyler Police Department. This officer comes to work every day and exhibits a strong work ethic. He recently was chosen to serve in the Community Response Unit and has applied his work ethic and self-motivation in his new position. Officer Zapata works to gather gang intelligence and is an integral part of the Tyler Police Department. He works well in a team environment and continually strives to be a better officer. This officer always takes the time to help new officers and offer assistance wherever he can.

            Rookie of the Year - Officer Jason Compton

The Rookie of the Year award is presented to an officer who has less than two years of service as an officer with the department and does not have previous law enforcement experience .New officers have to make the adjustment from being civilians to Tyler Police Officers and all that entails. The officer selected as Rookie of the Year this year is an officer that started his career with the Tyler Police Department as a Public Service Officer displays a willingness to always be learning in the law enforcement profession. This person has shown his ability to learn and adapt to all situations.

            Plainclothes Officer of the Year - Detective Chris Miller

The qualifications for nomination for this award exemplify an investigator whose effectiveness is highly rated. This investigator must divide his time between numerous detailed investigations while maintaining a high rate of case clearances. This investigator wears many hats in the department. He is an integral part of the Physical Fitness Program in the Police Academy and works throughout the city to identify gang members. He is always willing to help other officers with gang intelligence and offers a wealth of knowledge in filing engaging cases. This investigator goes the extra mile to exceed in the Youth Crimes division and is constantly striving to better the Tyler Police Department.

             Sworn Supervisor of the Year - Sergeant Billy Yates

One of the more demanding jobs with the Tyler Police Department is that of Sworn Supervisor.  The supervisor selected for this year's award has earned the respect of the officers; other supervisors; and civilians throughout the police department. This year's Sworn Supervisor of the Year has been with the department for almost 13 years and was recently moved from Patrol Sergeant to Sergeant of Major Crimes. Some supervisors are given specific positions within the department based on their ability, achievements and past performances. The sworn supervisor chosen for this award was given an assignment where dedication and hard work was a must. He promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2008.  He has excelled in every area of the department in which he has been assigned and that is why the Tyler Police Department is proud to recognize Sergeant Billy Yates as the Sworn Supervisor of the Year.

           Unit of the Year - Community Response Unit:

(Lt. Derreck Wagoner, Sgt. Gary Rice, Officer Luis Aparicio, Officer Ken Caudle, Officer Darrell Gardner, Officer Toska Graham, Officer Oliver Hall, Officer Shane Jasper, Officer Kerri Long, Officer James McCraw, Officer Letitia Powell, Officer Edgar Zapata and unit secretary Courtney Stiefer )

The Unit of the Year for 2011 has had a busy year. This unit implemented several changes in 2011 including adding 4 new positions within the unit.  The Unit strives each day to provide the community with better service and to build a relationship between the police and the citizens of Tyler that will allow the Police Department as a whole to respond quicker and more effectively to problems within the city.

The Unit added a Child ID machine this year with grant money allowing the Unit to reach out to the community and provide free ID cards to hundreds of children each month. This unit has stepped up their efforts in proactive policing by thinking outside the box. 

             Civilian Employee of the Year - Betsy Thrash

This year's Civilian Employee of the Year represents the Tyler Police Department in a highly efficient and professional manner. This employee has worked for the Tyler Police Department for over 11 years. She is an excellent team player and gets along with everyone. She is always willing to go the extra mile and conducts herself in a professional manner. She is a dispatcher that takes pride in her work and has been known to cheer on officers during pursuits and foot chases.

              Civilian Supervisor of the Year - Elton Anderson

The Civilian Supervisor of the Year is an individual who has the reputation of being hardworking, dedicated and willing to go above and beyond to help whenever and wherever needed.  This person sets the example for those working for and around him through his high standards and dedication to our department and fellow employees. This person manages to help every department at the PD and is always competent and quick to complete any job.  He meets everyone with a smile and always has an excellent attitude.

              Volunteer of the Year - Kathy Becker

Our Volunteer of the year for 2011 has been bringing a smile to the Police Department every Friday. She has kept us up to date by entering items that have been pawned into a database. She always comes in with a wonderful attitude, a bright smile and a greeting for everyone that she sees. Not to mention her sense of humor that keeps us all laughing. Kathy has logged countless hours entering data and saved the city both time and money with her efforts.

              Tyler Patrolman's Association Awards:

President's Award - Mike McClain- G.M. of Allen Samuels East Texas Dodge

Excellence in Policing Award - Officer Jimmy Turner

Honorary Members - Judge Jack Skeen Jr. and David Dobbs.

Tyler Police Department Awards

              Police Shield: Officer William Steinmiller

On March 3, 2011 Officer William Steinmiller conducted a traffic stop at Front and College. After making contact with the driver of the vehicle Officer Steinmiller was informed by dispatch that the suspect had several outstanding felony warrants. As Officer Steinmiller waited for backup he was attacked by the suspect. Officer Steinmiller began a battle for his life as the suspect relentlessly attacked Officer Steinmiller and continually reached for Officer Steinmiller's duty weapon. Officer Steinmiller continued to fight the suspect until help arrived and the suspect was taken into custody. Officer Steinmiller received neck and back injuries from the attack but kept fighting throughout the assault.

              Life Saving Award: Officer Jimmy Turner (X2)

On August 6, 2011, Officer Jimmy Turner was attending a birthday party for the three year old of a friend. The three year old fell in the pool. When the child was pulled from the pool he was limp and his lips were blue and he was not breathing. Officer Turner heard cries for help and began to administer CPR to the child. After giving the child breaths and chest compressions the child was able to expel the water from his lungs and began to breathe on his own. Officer Turner's quick action saved the life of a three year old child. The child made a complete recovery due to Officer Turner's actions during a critical time.

On December 14, 2011, Officer Jimmy Turner was conducting a traffic stop when he was approached by a citizen stating that a woman had passed out near her vehicle. Officer Turner immediately went to the aid of the female. When Officer Turner contacted the female she had no pulse and had extremely labored breathing. Officer Turner began to give chest compressions to the unconscious woman until medical personnel arrived on scene. As medical personnel arrived Officer Turner continued to do chest compressions while advising Fire and EMS of what had transpired. Due to Officer Turner's quick action the woman began to breathe on her own and a pulse was regained.

               Certificate of Merit: Officer Pat Mullican

On May 10, 2011, the Tyler Police Department received a call concerning a traffic accident at the 4600 block of S. Broadway in front of the mall. Officer Pat Mullican was the first to arrive on scene and found a motorcycle engulfed in flames and the rider of the motorcycle on fire. Officer Mullican acted quickly to assist the motorcyclist. Officer Mullican moved the victim away from the motorcycle due to heat from the fire and began mouth to mouth CPR. Officer Mullican performed CPR for several minutes before EMS and Fire arrived on scene to transport the victim to the hospital. Officer Mullican acted quickly to get civilians away from the gas fire in case of explosion and to try and save the motorcyclist.

               Certificate of Merit: Officer Chad Kersey

During the Spring of 2011, Officer Chad Kersey was called to work in a temporary full time capacity in the Crime Scene Unit. During that time, he assisted in the completion of several high profile crime scene investigations including the attempted murder of a police officer, a home invasion, and a fire death. Officer Kersey was a great asset to the unit during his time of service and is to be commended for his contributions.

            Certificate of Merit: Officer Jessica Doughten

On Feb 24th, 2011 an Arson/Homicide was discovered at 4516 Edinburg. The residence was full of ash and debris requiring several days to process for evidence. This included sifting the ash swept up from the floors and going through burned items throughout the residence. Officer Jessica Doughten, an Intermediate Crime Scene Investigator, was called to the scene to assist due to its size and complexity. Officer Doughten, working in a capacity and environment far outside her normal duties, applied herself cheerfully and energetically to every task set before her, all of which contributed directly to the successful completion of the crime scene investigation.

               Certificate of Merit: Detective Adam Colby

The officer being commended in this award works in one of the busiest units at the Police Department. Property Crimes is constantly inundated with new cases. Detective Adam Colby is known for his hard work and dedication to his job and to the victims of the cases he is assigned. He is decisive in his actions and has an extensive knowledge of the Penal Code and CCP. Detective Colby does whatever is needed to follow a case to its conclusion. Anyone at the Police Department can tell how diligently he works by the shear amount of warrants he writes.

           Certificate of Merit: Detective Doyle Lynch and Detective Reggie Conley

During 2011, the Tyler Police Department has been actively seeking applicants to become new officers throughout the State of Texas. While it is the responsibility of all officers of the department to be involved in the recruiting process, two officers, Reggie Conley and Doyle Lynch have been very instrumental in the successful recruiting and hiring of our new police officers.  These officers have been visiting various colleges, universities, and police academies throughout East Texas in an effort to encourage potential officers to work for the Tyler Police Department.  They also work together to promote our department  not only to potential applicants but also with the faculty and staff of the various colleges, universities, and police academies they come in contact with throughout the state of Texas.

              Certificate of Merit: DA Investigator Fabio Martinez

On March 3, 2011 Officer William Steinmiller conducted a traffic stop at Front and College. As Officer Steinmiller waited for backup he was attacked by the suspect. While Officer Steinmiller struggled with the suspect and fought to maintain weapon retention he was waiting for backup. Officer Steinmiller continued to fight the suspect until D.A. Investigator Fabio Martinez arrived on scene. Investigator Martinez immediately came to Officer Steinmiller's aid and began to fight with the suspect. Through their combined efforts Investigator Martinez was able to get the suspect handcuffed and secured. During the struggle Investigator Martinez sustained injuries to his knee and back.

Citizens Certificate of Merit:

Alvin Craig – Thadeus Yates - Brittany Kirkley - Citizens Certificate of Merit

On March 9, 2011, a major accident occurred at University and patriot. One of the vehicles involved in the collision flipped and landed on the driver's side door trapping the driver inside. The vehicle's gas tank had been punctured in the accident and gasoline was spewing from the vehicle.

Despite the danger three witnesses attempted to extricate Smith from the vehicle. Alvin Craig, Thaddeus Yates and Brittany Kirkley all tried to get Smith out of his seatbelt and get his foot cleared of debris. Craig, Yates and Kirkley all advised that they feared the vehicle was about to explode. The vehicle exploded into flames before the driver was able to get out of the vehicle.

Craig, Yates and Kirkley all received significant burns from the explosion and all required medical attention for their injuries. All three knew the vehicle was about to catch fire and went to Smith's aid regardless of the danger. These three civilians showed courage and compassion for their fellow citizens and put their lives in danger to try and save a stranger.

Loy Parker – Citizens Certificate of Merit

On January 23, 2012, Loy Parker, and employee of Centerpoint Energy was working when he located a bank bag. In the bag was $9000 in cash and two endorsed checks.

Parker contacted the police regarding the bank bag and it was found that a lost property report matching the found money had been made earlier in the day.

Due to Parker's honesty and integrity the owners of the bank bag were able to reclaim their property.

Parker showed true character when faced with temptation and Tyler Police Department is honored that Parker is a part of our city.

Robert Hunt – Citizens Certificate of Merit

On October 22, 2011, Tyler Police Officers were attempting to arrest a suspect on a felony warrant. As an officer approached and identified the suspect the suspect fled on foot and the officer gave chase.

Citizen Robert Hunt was driving by and observed the chase. Hunt exited his vehicle and tackled the suspect. Hunt's quick action allowed officers to take the suspect into custody.

Hunt showed courage in his contact with the suspect and Tyler Police Department thanks him for his support.

Jackie Lynn Weaver – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for coming to the aid of Officer Bart Lemons on January 31, 2012. As he attempted to arrest a suspect you observed the citizen becoming more aggressive and came to assist Officer Lemons as he placed her in handcuffs. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Roberto Quintane – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for chasing and apprehending a robbery suspect at the Super 1 store on October 10, 2011. Your efforts were a tremendous help to the Tyler Police Department as you took a stand against crime.

Edward Gordon – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for chasing and apprehending a robbery suspect at the Super 1 store on October 10, 2011. Your efforts were a tremendous help to the Tyler Police Department as you took a stand against crime.

Mayda Tabares – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for your bravery as you fought off the man attempting to rob you at the Super 1 store on October 10, 2011. Your outstanding actions put your personal safety at risk, but saved your children from being taken by the robber.

Edmund Johnson – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for your outstanding actions during the robbery of a convenience store on January 27, 2012. After contacting the Tyler Police Department, you stayed with the store clerk to ensure his safety and well-being. Your quick observations allowed you to give officers a description of the suspects.

Jon Honea – Citizens Certificate of Merit

You are to be commended for your heroic effort when, on August 6, 2011, you observed a child at the bottom of a pool and dove in to rescue him. Your actions were part of a great effort that saved the child's life.

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