Heartland Trooper, sheriff’s office lieutenant awarded MO Public Safety medals

Heartland Trooper, sheriff’s office lieutenant awarded MO Public Safety medals
Trooper Ryan Windham with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E will be awarded the Public Safety Medal of Merit in Jefferson City, Mo. (Source: Missouri State Highway Patrol)

MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri Governor Mike Parson presented several first responders, including a Heartland Trooper and a Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, with Missouri Public Safety medals in on Tuesday, November 13.

In addition to awarding a total of 33 awards in St. Louis, Governor Parson proclaimed today as Missouri Public Safety Recognition Day in further recognition of the acts of bravery and public service performed by public safety professionals.

“The public safety responders we honored today are more than role models; they represent the best among us,” Governor Parson said. “They raced into burning buildings to rescue people trapped by fire; heroically ended the threat posed by a gunman, despite being wounded and trapped inside a residence with him; and they worked to innovate in policing to make communities safer and bridge divides between police and the public. In addition, a civilian honored today selflessly accompanied a firefighter in a life-saving rescue from a burning building. I could not be prouder to stand with these exemplary men and women whose actions truly inspire.”

Trooper Ryan Windham with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E will was awarded the Public Safety Medal of Merit in Jefferson City, Mo. He was nominated for his work in a traffic stop and manhunt that ended with the arrest of three convicted felons.

According to Sgt. Clark Parrott, on March 6, 2017, Trooper Windham was on a routine patrol on southbound I-57 near the intersection with I-55. When he saw a silver Pontiac Grand Prix without a front license plate, he attempted to pull the car over.

Parrott said the vehicle failed to yield and a chase began. He said the vehicle left the highway and made a couple of turns before sliding off the road and coming to a stop. That’s when the right, rear passenger got out and started firing at Trooper Windham who then moved toward the rear of his vehicle and returned fire. Neither the passenger, nor Windham were shot.

After a manhunt, two passengers and the driver were found and taken into custody. Parrott said all three were convicted felons and members of a violent Southeast Missouri gang with outstanding warrants for their arrest.

((Mo governor, flickr))

Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant David Watkins, Jr. was awarded the Medal of Valor in St. Louis, Mo. He was nominated by Interim Sheriff Branden Caid for his bravery in responding to a shooting in Wyatt, Mo. in which Watkins was shot in the knee by a suspect.

“On March 10, 2017, a team from the Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office was serving a search warrant to a convicted felon suspected of narcotics trafficking at a second-story apartment in Wyatt, Mo. Lieutenant Watkins had the lead as the team announced their presence and breached the apartment door. Lieutenant Watkins entered the front door and immediately took fire from the suspect. Other members of the entry team were forced to take cover on the ground outside. Shot in the left leg, and trapped in the apartment with the gunman, Lieutenant Watkins crawled into a nearby room. Unable to stand, he sat against a wall. Outside, his team called for Lieutenant Watkins. Watkins did not answer so as not to reveal his position to the gunman. The gunman, still armed with an AR-15, walked to the front door, where officers were taking cover, and looked outside. He then turned and saw Lieutenant Watkins and began raising his weapon. Lieutenant Watkins fired his weapon striking the gunman in the upper torso, ending the threat to him and the other officers. Watkins then staggered to his feet and held the gunman at gunpoint until his team members took control of the scene. While under fire and while wounded, Lieutenant Watkins demonstrated incredible courage while trapped inside an apartment with a gunman.”
MO Governor's Office

“I nominated Lieutenant David Watkins for the Metal of Valor after he demonstrated extreme courage under Fire. Lieutenant Watkins possibly saved the lives of many people that day,” said Acting Branden E. Caid from Mississippi County, Mo. “While being shot once in the leg and finding himself inside the suspect apartment alone he was able to conceal himself and at the right moment fired two rounds that disabled the suspect. The suspect who was heavily armed continued to fire rounds through the walls towards the entry team forcing them to take cover in a nearby stairwell. Watkins alone (had) injuries, and saved the day. He is my hero. He will receive his award from the Governor Nov. 13 in St. Louis.”

((Mo governor flickr))

Other medal recipients in Jefferson City included:

Medal of Valor:

  • Corporal Logan Benjamin - Vandalia Police Department
  • Corrections Officer Michelle Vogel - Missouri Department of Corrections

Public Safety Medal of Merit:

  • Officer Christopher Papineau - Columbia Police Department

Hall of Fame Award:

  • Chief of Department (retired) David Hall - Springfield Fire Department

Governor’s Medal:

  • Shawn Bice, Chris Brockelbank, Jeremiah D. Jones and M. Corbin Thompson - West Plains Fire Department
  • Christopher Kimes and Tyler Pond - Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop G
  • Chris Bell, Gary Brower, Matt Cockrum, Richie Hammon, Grant Sholes and Kurt Wilbanks - West Plains Fire Department

Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award:

  • Charles Barney and Sandra Straw - nominated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol
  • Cary Stewart - nominated by the West Plains Fire Department

Other medal recipients in St. Louis include:

Medal of Valor:

  • Captain Leon Whitener III - St. Louis Fire Department

Director’s Leadership Medal:

  • Chief Frank Mininni - Normandy Police Department

Governor’s Medal:

  • Private Louis Bollasina, Private Paul Clark, Captain Larry Conley, Private Marquis Hayes, Captain Michael Hostetler, Private Joe Johnson, Private Tim Mahnken, Private Jeff Ronshausen, Private Dale Schultz, Private Tim Schultz, Battalion Chief Gary Steffans, Private Galen Taylor, Private John Vallero, Captain Joe Waring, EMT Andrew Beasley, Paramedic Daniel Goldfield, Paramedic Dustin Lammert, EMT Antuan Knox, Paramedic Supervisor Colin McCoy, Paramedic Cameron Morton, EMT Nicholas Spiess, EMT Norman Walker, Paramedic James Wilson and Fire Equipment Dispatcher Angela Williams - St. Louis Fire Department

Public Safety Civilian Partnership Award:

  • Raymond Rayford - nominated by the St. Louis Fire Department

The medals are for life-saving or extraordinary acts beyond the call of duty to protect the public during 2017. The Governor will also present civilians with awards for their exceptional acts to help public safety responders in 2017.

The presentation was at 10:30 a.m. at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Training Academy Gymnasium in Jefferson City. A second ceremony honoring other award winners was held at the Harris-Stowe State University Henry Givens Administration Building in St. Louis on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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