Central Alabama Crimestoppers Recognize Area Officers for Service, Dedication, Heroism

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Central Alabama Crimestoppers Recognize Area Officers for Service, Dedication, Heroism

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BY: Central Alabama Crimestoppers

Wednesday was a day for area law enforcement to be reminded that what they do not only matters, but saves lives, and they are truly appreciated.

The Central Alabama CrimeStoppers organization was also celebrating 20 years of helping unite citizens, law enforcement and media together to help bring criminals to justice. It was a day to recognize those agencies and individuals who have been in from the beginning.

John O’Conner, with WSFA News, welcomed the large group to the RSA Activity Center in downtown Montgomery. WSFA is the founding primary news media supporter for Central Alabama Crimestoppers.

A prayer was lead by Montgomery Police Department Sgt. T. Williams and lunch was served.

Special acknowledgement was given to Ty Fondren, who was the first board president for Central Alabama Crimestoppers.

CrimeStoppers Secretary Jason Oswalt shared statistics with the crowd that included 1997 to 2016.

In that time, 6,555 tips have been received; 5,210 charges have been filed; 2,055 arrests have been made; and $120,755 rewards have been paid.

“Each year CrimeStoppers recognizes an Officer from the Law Enforcement Agencies we serve,” CrimeStoppers Executive Director Tony Garrett said. “This year we are recognizing Officers who went above and beyond the call of duty.  We can never pay you enough for the job that you do, but we can at least honor your good deeds and accomplishments that go towards making our community a safer place to live.”

Garrett said sponsors of this years event went out of their way to award these officers with over $500.00+ worth of apparel and equipment.

Sponsors were:

Gulf States                                        Taser

Hornady                                            Sig Sauer

Point Blank                                       US Peacekeepers

Smith and Wesson                           Bushnell

Streamlight                                       5.11

Tru-Spec                                           Blackhawk

Safariland                                         Region’s Bank

Elmore County Sheriff’s Office

Crimestoppers 2016 Officer of the Year

Donnie Foster

On February 25, 2016 at approximately 0005 in the morning, the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office received a call from an address near the 3800 block of Crenshaw Road in reference to a home invasion that just occurred.  Dispatch advised deputies of the vehicle description of the alleged offender that had just fled the scene.  Deputy Donnie Foster made contact with the vehicle traveling northbound on Hwy 111.  He turned his patrol vehicle around and pursued the suspect for several miles at a high rate of speed.  The pursuit continued north into Autauga County where the suspect wrecked his vehicle and ran on foot.  He gave chase and caught the suspect after a short foot pursuit.  Because of Deputy Foster’s diligence and attention to detail, the suspect was taken into custody and charged with Burglary 1st, Robbery 1st, Sodomy 1st, and Theft of Property 1st.  Subsequently it was discovered that just minutes before the home invasion the suspect broke into a nearby Church and Church bus.  The suspect was also charged with Burglary 3rd, Breaking and Entering of a Vehicle, and Theft of Property 3rd.

Wetumpka Police Department

Sergeant Darrell Spraggins

Sergeant Spraggins is assigned to the Wetumpka Police Department Patrol Division, as a night shift supervisor.  Sergeant Spraggins is also the senior firearms instructor at Wetumpka Police Department.  He has upgraded the firing range and conducted four civilian firearm classes.  As a Dog Handler, Sergeant Spraggins continues to work hard to pull illegal drugs off the streets.  He has made numerous felony drug arrests, one which confiscated 26 grams of meth.

On the evening of 15 May 2016, while on patrol Sergeant Spraggins was dispatched to the Wetumpka Wal Mart in reference to a robbery of an elderly female.  While heading to the location Sergeant Spraggins located the suspect’s vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop.  The suspect refused to stop and a vehicle pursuit began.  The suspect vehicle was stopped at I-65 in Millbrook and the suspect was placed under arrest.  The investigation revealed the suspect was driving a stolen vehicle and had 23 prior felony arrests. 

Sergeant Spraggins was a major player in the Wetumpka Police Department 1st Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which raised almost 3000 dollars for local charities and Wounded Blue ( A organization which assists injured officers and their families in Alabama).   He has brought great credit to the Wetumpka Police Department and has made the City of Wetumpka a better place to live.

Autauga County Sheriff’s Department

Crime Scene Investigator Steve Campbell

On July 14, 2014, the Chevron located at 1677 US Highway 31 North, in Prattville, Alabama was robbed at gunpoint by three unknown subjects. Crime Scene Investigator Steve Campbell photographed and processed the entire crime scene.  During his investigation, a loaded shotgun was located behind the business. Investigator Campbell was able to lift a latent print from a shotgun shell. The evidence was then submitted to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office where a Latent Fingerprint Examiner identified it to belong to Scottie Jeroma Grace. ATF Agents connected the shotgun with that of the suspect. The arrest of Scottie Grace led to two additional suspects identified as Tremane Darnell Carthen and Kevin Lavarius Martin.  All three were connected to two additional robberies that occurred in the City of Wetumpka and Elmore County. In 2016 these individuals were convicted and sentenced in Federal Court by the U.S Attorney’s Office.

On July 26, 2015, an unknown black male robbed the Citgo Gas Station, located at 1719 U.S Highway in Prattville, Alabama at gunpoint.  Crime Scene Investigator Steve Campbell was again called to process the crime scene.  As Investigator Campbell viewed the surveillance video he noticed where the suspect went into the restroom. Paying attention to detail, Investigator Campbell located a paper towel in the trash can and collected it as evidence. This evidence was submitted to Forensic for DNA testing. A match was identified as Manley Deontay Bray as being the offender. Warrants for Robbery 1st degree were issued and this case is pending the 2017 Autauga County Grand Jury.

If not for his dedication to detail and work ethic these cases may have gone unsolved.

Millbrook Police Department

Lieutenant Don Pugh

Lieutenant Don Pugh has been employed with the Millbrook Police Department for over 20 years. He is currently assigned to the department’s Special Operations Division and serves as the department’s Sex Offender Registration and Compliance Officer. He currently maintains registration files on 34 sex offenders who reside in the City of Millbrook. It is his responsibility to ensure that each offender maintains current registration and ensures they comply with all laws stemming from the Sex Offender Notification and Registration Act, which governs where convicted sex offenders may live and work. Lieutenant Pugh conducts investigations on offenders that are in violation and presents the results to the Elmore County Grand Jury to determine if criminal charges are warranted. Lieutenant Pugh is recognized by his peers as being one of the best at what he does. Lieutenant Pugh also serves as the supervisor of the department’s Traffic Homicide Unit.

Despite his workload, Lieutenant Pugh is always one of the first to volunteer to work on the department’s community service projects, such as Cops and Kids or Operation Blue Santa. Over the past two years the Millbrook Police Department has partnered with local organizations, businesses, churches, and citizens to collect and distribute toys and gifts to local children that may not have otherwise received a Christmas gift. Just this past Christmas over 200 children received assistance. This was a direct result of Lieutenant Pugh’s imagination, hard work, and dedication. Lieutenant Pugh is a veteran law enforcement officer that does an outstanding job at his assigned duties, but he’s an even better man. He has a huge heart, especially when it comes to children, and he believes in giving back to the community. 

Prattville Police Department

Investigator Eric Collier

Investigator Eric Collier has been a member of the Prattville Police Department for eight years, the last three of which has been with the Computer Forensics Unit in the Criminal Investigations Division. Investigator Collier’s knowledge in information technology has been essential in prosecuting highly technical cases, including everything from identity theft and child pornography to robberies and murders. Most recently, his expertise has been indispensable in a multi-state robbery investigation, a human trafficking investigation, and a multi-state robbery/police impersonation investigation.

Investigator Collier’s knowledge and skill in cell phone mapping and analysis was crucial in tracking a robbery suspect’s movements through multiple jurisdictions in Alabama and Georgia, which resulted in multiple federal indictments for Tariq Jones under the Hobbs Act. Investigator Collier’s proficiency in digital forensics yielded extremely damning evidence in a human trafficking case where multiple victims were rescued from their abuser. Investigator Collier’s investigative skillset was particularly useful in identifying a couple who has participated in numerous robberies while impersonating police officers in several states throughout the southeast region.

As a result of this investigation, several warrants were issued for Robbery and Impersonation of a Peace Officer in multiple jurisdictions. Investigator Collier is extremely diligent, hardworking, and always willing to help other investigators with their cases. Investigator Collier would like to recognize and thank Investigator Scott Baxley at the Prattville Police Department, with whom he has worked very closely in the cases described previously, for his hard work and dedication to bringing about the best conclusion to these cases.

Macon County Sheriff’s Department

Investigator Dion Robinson

Last year Investigator Dion Robinson received the 2015 CrimeStopper Officer of the Year Award.  Sheriff Andre Brunson took only minutes to decide what Deputy would receive the honor this year.  Sheriff Brunson nominated Investigator Robinson citing that his work ethic alone is making a profound difference and impact in Macon County and his Sheriff’s Department.

According to Sheriff Brunson, Investigator Robinson is responsible for making over 100+ Felony Arrests within Macon County this past year and rightfully deserves the 2016 Officer of the Year for the Macon County Sheriff’s Department.

A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Dion Robinson earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Tuskegee University in May 2012. During his undergraduate studies, he was selected by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Enforcement Division to serve as an intern for two consecutive summers (2010 & 2011). Passionate and eager to protect and serve his community, Dion began his law enforcement career as a Deputy Sheriff with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in May 2012. With the completion of the Advanced Montgomery Police Academy, he became the youngest certified Deputy Sheriff in the department. He has since then been promoted to an Investigator in the Special Operations Division with additional responsibilities such as Canine Handler, Agency Information Security Officer, McGruff Crime Prevention Coordinator, Agency’s Law Enforcement Liaison, Project Life Saver Coordinator, and Special Response Team Member. As of October 2016, Dion was chosen to serve as a full-time Task Force Investigator on the United States Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Task Force as a Special Deputy, where he focuses on making felony arrests, tracking down violent fugitives and sexual predators.


 

Montgomery Police Department

Corporal Jamail D. Copeland

On Monday, June 20, 2016 J.D. Copeland responded with another officer to Whisperwood Drive on a report of a subject with suicidal thoughts. The dispatcher further advised that a female subject was holding a hand gun to her head threatening to kill herself. Upon unit’s arrival to the scene contact was made with the complainant who stated her niece was diagnosed with mental illness and was upset about a recent relationship break up. She was in the bathroom with a gun pressed against her head.

Once on scene, Copeland took control and decided to make entry to residence to clear the occupants and attempt to make contact with the victim. Copeland was able to get everyone out of the residence and began speaking with the victim through the door way. Copeland remained calm and began negotiating with her to put the dun down. He promised to get her help she desperately needed to work through her issues. After a few tense minutes of negotiating with the victim, she turned the gun over to Copeland and allowed the Montgomery Fire Medics to treat her.

The victim was subsequently transported to Baptist South Medical Center for psychiatric treatment.Due to the direct actions of Copeland, the suicidal subject was not able to harm herself or any family members or officers on the scene. His caring for the victim’s well being was both observed by other officers and her family members on scene.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department

Corporal Ben Harrison

On February 2, 2016, a robbery occurred at 7120 Mobile Highway (Convenience Store).  Corporal Harrison responded and observed a key piece of evidence on the counter, which was a package of Starburst candy.  Realizing that this insignificant seeming item was a strong piece of potential evidence, Cpl. Harrison immediately cleared the crime scene of patrons and any personnel who could have potentially contaminated the crime scene. Fingerprints were pulled from the candy wrapper that led to the identity and arrest of a suspect that was charged with Robbery 1st degree.

On February 14, 2016, a robbery occurred at 7249 Troy Highway. Again, Cpl. Harrison was able to obtain critical evidence. Cpl. Harrison was able to obtain a partial tag number of a suspect vehicle.  Cpl. Harrison used computer resources available in his Department, along with a call to an outside agency in Ashford, Alabama, to develop a suspect.  The information Cpl. Harrison gathered led Investigators to the identity of the suspect and the filing of charges against him for Robbery 1st degree.

Captain G. A. Beaudry stated that Corporal Ben Harrison is a Senior Field Training Officer and a true leader among his peers.  Due to his outstanding attention to detail during his primary responder investigations and high level of professionalism and work ethic his Department has nominated him as the CrimeStopper Officer of the Year.


 

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

Trooper Jimmie Hendrix

On September 16, 2016, Trooper Hendrix, with the assistance of his K-9 partner Mary Jane, stopped a tractor-trailer on I-65 in Lowndes County for a Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection.  During the course of the inspection, Trooper Hendrix located approximately (15) kilos of powder cocaine.  Additionally, this discovery has evolved into a Federal case.

Later, on October 7, 2016, Trooper Hendrix observed a vehicle traveling on I-65 in Montgomery County with a tag violation. As Trooper Hendrix attempted to stop the vehicle he observed an unknown object being thrown from the vehicle.  When it landed on the shoulder it appeared that a large sum of U.S. currency “flew” out of the bag.  Hendrix notified his dispatch of the location where the money landed and proceeded to stop the vehicle.  When Hendrix questioned the driver about the money, he denied throwing anything out of the window.  A short time later, another Trooper arrived on scene and located the money, verifying that it was U.S. currency.  A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of additional U.S. currency in the glove compartment.  The money, totaling $40,470, and vehicle were seized. 

In summary, Trooper Hendrix’s actions on September 16, 2016 and October 7, 2016 reflected great credit upon himself, ALEA, DPS, and the citizens of Alabama, and is deserving of recognition. 

United States Marshals Middle District of Alabama

Special Agent Senior Anthony Birmingham

SAS Birmingham is currently assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service as a Task Force Agent. SAS Birmingham has earned the position as Assistant Team leader for his group. This Task Force is responsible for finding and arresting the worst of the worst criminals. When a case comes to this Task Force, it is because the criminal is violent and dangerous. This Task Force responds to and helps find persons wanted for murder, rape and violent assaults, to name a few. The Task Force is the first called when an officer has been killed or injured by an offender, and the offender is at large. 

Along with being the Assistant Team Leader, he carries a large case load. During 2016, SAS Birmingham was assigned 74 cases and closed 64 of them. This is an exceptionally high success rate, and SAS Birmingham has operated at this level for many years. SAS Birmingham’s group closed 438 cases for the year that resulted in the clearing of 1,066 violent crime warrants being cleared and 712 violent fugitives being arrested.

Thanks to SAS Birmingham and the Marshals Task Force, our state is a much safer place.

Award of Appreciation

16 Years of Dedicated Service

Susan Moss

20 Years of Dedicated Service                                  

WSFA 12 News 

20 Years of Dedicated Service

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department

20 Years of Dedicated Service                                  

Montgomery Police Department                               

20 Years of Dedicated Service                                  

Elmore County Sheriff’s Department                        

20 Years of Dedicated Service

Autauga County Sheriff’s Department

20 Years of Dedicated Service

Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office

The keynote speaker for the day was Special Agent/Public Information Officer Michael P. Knight who spoke of the importance of releasing important information without causing panic.

He praised the FBI program that offers rewards for information on guns brought to school, and said it has seen great success. That program has been implemented in Montgomery County Public Schools, and is growing across the nation.

He encouraged law enforcement agencies to keep thinking “outside of the box” to continue improving their relationship with the community, stressing that today’s children need to understand officers are there to help and keep them safe.

It is also important, he said, for agencies to recognize their employees for their hard work and dedicated service.

The Board of Directors for the Central Alabama Crimestoppers include:

Zahi Aziz, Sheila Crews, Andy Ducker, Sergeant Earl Frazier, Moses Harper, Mike Henderson, Amanda Grablin, Warden Larry Nixon, Sarah Stephens, Frank Winkler and Jiles Williams.

Officers are:

Karl Wade, President; Paul McTear, Vice President, Wendy Anderson, Treasurer; Jason Oswalt, Secretary and Tony Garrett, Executive Director. 

Sponsors are:

City of Millbrook, Autauga County Commission, Doster Construction, Charter Spectrum City of Montgomery, City of Wetumpka, City of Prattville, City of Troy, Elmore County Sheriff’s Department, Fraternal Order of Police #11, Gulf States Distributors, Mongtomery County Commission and Regions Bank.  
 

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