hawkins

2009 Shop with a Cop!

It doesn’t take 9-year-old Preston Gunter long to shop. Just a few minutes after he headed into the wilds of Wal-Mart during Sunday’s Shop with a Cop, he was standing in the checkout line with Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Troy Thompson, his shopping buddy. In his cart: an Indiana Jones video game, a Bakugan game and a large bag of Butterfingers. There was one problem. He hadn’t spent enough — there was money remaining on his gift card. So, off he went again with Trooper Thompson, quickly returning with a case for the Bakugan game. “He knew what he wanted and he knew right where to go,” Thompson said. “There were only three of the games, so he was glad he got to be one of the first to go.”
For his part, Preston didn’t say much, but his frequent smiles spoke volumes. He was one of 97 children taking part in Leadership Shawnee’s Shop with a Cop. The Shawnee Chamber of Commerce annually sponsors Leadership Shawnee and requires each class to have a project. This year’s class decided to organize Shop with a Cop and raised $7,500 to buy $75 gift cards for 92 children and presents for five of their siblings who were younger than 18 months. The 92 older children were paired up with a local enforcement officer as a shopping partner. For about two hours, the area just south of Wal-Mart’s book section was packed with children, their parents, cops and Leadership Shawnee class members. Everyone involved genuinely seemed to enjoy the experience. “All the policemen are smiling and all the kids are smiling,” said Felicia Freeman, one of the Leadership Shawnee class members. “It feels good just knowing that we helped make the kids have a good Christmas.” A total of 39 officers from the Shawnee, McLoud and Tecumseh police departments, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Absentee Shawnee Nation volunteered to help the youngsters shop. Dan Shumaker of the Shawnee Police Department said he was glad he had the opportunity to participate. His first shopping partner was a girl who bought clothes. “Her father thanked me over and over and over,” Shumaker said. “With the economy being the way it is, this is perfect timing. You could see in her face that it made a difference.” Wal-Mart supplied cookies and Hawaiian Punch for the shoppers, their parents and the cops. Brenda Burkey, a department manager, came in on her day off to run a register at a line dedicated for Shop with a Cop sales only. “I’m a sucker for the kids,” she said. “You could see their eyes light up. It was just magic.”
For some shoppers, particularly the older ones, it went fast indeed. Some of the younger ones took a more leisurely pace, savoring the moment and the company of the cop. And the program had an unintended benefit for one person not involved in Shop with a Cop. A lady went to the check-in table to sternly ask how long the policemen would be tied up at the store. When told about another hour and a half, she brightened.
“That’s great — I’m going to speed on my way home.” Despite the potential for abetting in the violation of speed laws, members have discussed continuing Shop with a Cop next year and making it annual event.

Police officer awards

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, several area police officers were honored for the excellence in report writing and investigation into domestic violence cases. Officers honored during the Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign hosted by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Violence Prevention Program and the Pottawatomie District Attorney’s Office were: Detective Lee Minick, Sgt. Jody Opela, Officer Daniel LeClaire and Investigator LaTrenda Sanders, all from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal police; Sgt. Tim Boyd from McLoud Police Department; Deputy Scott Hawkins and Deputy Amanda Myrko from the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office; Patrol Officer Kevin Hughey, Cpl. Kim Dibble and Cpl. Shawn Parsons from Shawnee Police Department; Officer Brandi Carnell from Tecumseh Police Department; as well as two officers from Lincoln County.

Wanette burglary solved, property returned

An overnight burglary at Wanette Tractor and Supply was solved within hours Wednesday after two suspects were arrested and the stolen property was recovered. Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer said the burglary was discovered upon opening the store Wednesday morning. The burglars pried open a door and took a laptop computer used by the business, Palmer said.  Deputy Scott Hawkins worked the case. Using evidence collected at the scene, Hawkins was able to identify two suspects and had both of them in custody by that afternoon, Palmer said. The computer also was recovered and returned to the business.  Arrested on complaints of burglary, second degree, were Jared Wilson, 19, and Brad Baxter, 20, Palmer said. Both remained jailed at the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center Friday, each held on $10,000 bond. Wilson also was held on a complaint of possession of stolen property, according to jail records. Palmer said Hawkins did a good job working the case, which will be forwarded to the district attorney’s office for consideration of any formal charges.

Woman surrenders to deputies after threatening suicide, pointing weapon at them

Six Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies kept a level head and held their fire when a Pink woman who had been threatening suicide pointed a weapon at them earlier this week. After negotiations, the woman surrendered and dropped the weapon, which looked like a 9 mm black pistol, but was actually a BB gun. Capt. Travis Palmer said the woman, whose name is not being released, called 911 and said she was armed with a 9 mm pistol and was going to kill herself. The E-911 center in Tecumseh was able to track her call to the Pink area, Palmer said, and Deputy Johnny Austin began negotiations with her over the phone for about one hour. Palmer said deputies used the tracking system to pinpoint the general area of her location, but they weren’t sure exactly which residence she was calling from. Several deputies responded to that general area. The woman said she was going to kill herself or force deputies to kill her as Austin continued phone negotiations. About 30 minutes later, she agreed to come out of the house. Deputies Randy Willis, Jimmy Brewer, Scott Hawkins, Brian Wolfe and Palmer went to the home with Austin and REACT EMS paramedics were at the scene in a standby mode, he said. The woman, reported to be in her 40s, didn’t come out of the home they expected and exited a nearby travel trailer, Palmer said. She took a stance and pointed her weapon at all six deputies, and while they are trained to protect their lives from shooters, none of them fired their sidearms. “I was proud of them — they took cover” behind one patrol car, Palmer said, as negotiations continued. Deputies were a distance away as the woman put the gun to her head and then pointed it at the deputies again, he said, then there was more negotiations. Austin kept talking to her, Palmer said, and the woman eventually decided to throw the weapon a few feet away from her. She was taken into custody to be medically checked and undergo evaluation, Palmer said. In the end, deputies learned the black pistol, which looked just like a 9 mm handgun, was a BB gun, “but we didn’t know that at the time,” Palmer said. Any of the deputies could have shot her to protect their own lives, he said, but none did. “The officers were professional and held their fire. I don’t know why,” he said. “The guys did a tremendous job,” Palmer added, praising Austin’s negotiation efforts. Palmer also said dispatchers at the 911 center did a great job of coordinating dispatch efforts as the deputies worked the scene. Afterward, all of the deputies were debriefed about the experience. Sheriff Mike Booth said they’ve all asked why none of them shot the woman. He said something — maybe “intuition” — stopped them. And just like officers are trained and subconsciously pull their sidearms when someone threatens or points a weapon at them, Booth said sometimes deputies pull their guns and can tell something’s not quite right. Undersheriff Dave Balleweg said there was great teamwork involved at the scene. In the end, what mattered was that no one was hurt and the woman’s life, despite her desire to end it, was spared

Police officers honored for work in domestic violence cases

Law enforcement officers from several agencies have been honored for their work and dedication on cases involving domestic violence. October is domestic violence awareness month.

During the fourth annual Citizen Potawatomi Nation Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign, held Saturday at Shawnee Mall, seven local police officers were recognized with an award by the District Attorney’s office.
Assistant District Attorney Sunne Day said the CPN made the awards possible during its annual event.

The officers were recognized for their outstanding service to victims of domestic violence as well as their attention to detail in their reports to prosecutors on domestic violence cases.

Honored were: Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Hawkins; Tecumseh Police Lt. J.R. Kidney; CPN Officer Lee Minnick and four officers from the Shawnee Police Department — Jason Crouch, Darrell Williams, Kim Dibble and Mike Laughlin.

“These officers deal with the worst that humanity does to each other and to people they are supposed to love the most,” Day said while presenting the awards. She told the officers that what they do does save lives. Day said the awards were donated by CPN and Shawnee Trophy and she appreciates CPN for the opportunity to present the awards in conjunction with the event.

The awareness campaign, hosted by the CPN Family Violence Prevention Program, included several booths of information from various organizations and law enforcement agencies, along with a program of keynote speakers and other presentations.