Justice Department Announces the Opening of Nominations for the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced the Department of Justice is now accepting nominations for the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. These awards represent part of the Department of Justice’s on-going commitment to support the nation’s law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

“Effective community policing builds trust between law enforcement officers and those they serve, and that trust helps to improve public safety,” said Attorney General Garland. “These awards honor the exceptional dedication and hard work of law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond in the performance of their duties, and departments that have excelled in their community policing efforts. Policing is a difficult job, for which extraordinary efforts often go unnoticed, and the Department of Justice is proud to publicly recognize these exemplars of community policing.”

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local and tribal sworn, rank- and-file police officers and deputies for exceptional efforts in community policing. The awarded officers, deputies and troopers will have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: criminal investigations, field operations or innovations in policing. Within each category, an award will be given to law enforcement agencies serving small, medium, and large jurisdictions. Those agency sizes are defined as:

Small: agencies serving populations of fewer than 50,000
Medium: agencies serving populations of 50,000 to 250,000
Large: agencies serving populations of more than 250,000

By acknowledging and rewarding these efforts, the department strives to promote and sustain its national commitment to community policing and to advance proactive policing practices that are fair and effective. With the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing, the Office of the Attorney General recognizes that the nation’s law enforcement agencies, officers, deputies, and troopers continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe places to live and work.

The deadline for nominations is May 28, 2021, at 8 p.m. EDT. More information and the application for nominees can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.

Two Cape County Sheriff’s Deputies Receive CIT Awards

Sgt. Ed Curtis, left, and deputy Arman Clark of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office recently received honors.
Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Two officers with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office received awards from state and regional Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Councils.

Sgt. Ed Curtis was named officer of the year by the Missouri CIT Council, and deputy Arman Clark was named co-officer of the year by the Southeast Missouri CIT Council.

“It’s a very proud moment for the sheriff’s office and for me as the sheriff,” Cape Girardeau County sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson said. “When you send officers to training and they take that training, they bring it back and they’re able to implement it like these officers have here in our office, it’s a very proud moment for all of us.”

According to Sheriff Dickerson, Curtis — who has been employed by the sheriff’s office since Oct. 9, 2002 — was the first officer from the sheriff’s department to attend CIT training.

“He became very involved in it. He sits on the CIT Council representing us on that council, and has been very active in bringing the information to our office to our officers,” Dickerson said. “Bringing it back to our area to the law enforcement academy, where they also offer the CIT training. He’s been very instrumental for our office in bringing the CIT training to us.”

Sheriff Dickerson praised Clark — who has been with the sheriff’s office since Dec. 19, 2017 — for his positivity.

“He takes everything with a big heart. He has such a big heart,” Sheriff Dickerson said. “Again, he’s an officer that has taken the training, he’s implemented into his daily routine when he responds to incidents, and he just has really, really shown that he took the training and understands exactly what it’s all about.”

The Missouri CIT Council is a network of representatives from each established local council across Missouri. For more information visit www.MissouriCIT.org.

By J.C. REEVES | Southeast Missourian

North-American Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors Taking Entries for Best Dressed Public Safety Awards

2018’s Best Dressed Department, with over 500 officers, was the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Uniform by Spiewak.

Each year, the  North-American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors (NAUMD) presents the Best Dressed Public Safety Award® to police, fire and sheriff departments across North America. Independent judges evaluate the submissions based on 1) appearance 2) functionality for the job 3) use of technology & innovation 4) department maintains uniform standards to determine the best overall uniform program​​s. In addition to recognizing the departments, the award recognizes the distributors and manufacturers involved in the program.  The judges award a maximum of 100 points to a submission.  The submission with the most total points from all the judges is the winner.

NAUMD is now accepting submissions for the 2021 awards.  The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2021. Three finalists will be named in each category.  All finalists will receive a certificate designating their status.  The national winners will be named at the convention on October 26, 2021.  

Any association member or department is eligible to submit their customer’s program. Award winners are announced at the NAUMD Annual Convention & Expo. Winning the award creates a lasting bond between the provider and their customer. And uniforms make good news stories too – the competition enjoys media exposure from both online and print platforms, as this sample from a past competition demonstrates.

The goal of the awards is to promote professionalism and excellence within the uniform industry. The NAUMD membership is a community for the uniform industry that works on projects to help all pursue a common future.

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

Law Enforcement – Small (Under 100)

Law Enforcement – Medium (100 to 500)

Law Enforcement – Large (Over 500)

First Responders – Small (Under 100)

First Responders – Medium (100 to 500)

First Responders – Large (Over 500)

Private Security Companies

Military Affairs

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND RULES:

Complete the Best Dressed Public Safety Award® entry form on the NAUMD website. Answer all questions, and upload photos or drawings of your program which include both individual and group photos of the uniform program. A maximum of 7 photos may be submitted.
Only uniform programs worn within the North America are eligible to be entered.
The uniform must be currently worn be the organization. If the uniform is being rolled out over time, the rollout must have begun by November 30, 2020.

Submissions are currently being accepted. The submission deadline is September 1, 2021.

Entries will be judged and the winners notified by email and by phone for a follow-up questionnaire.

The NAUMD retains the right to use all photographs in publicity and future promotion materials.
Winners will be honored at the convention’s awards dinner on October 26, 2021.  A representative must be present to receive the award.

JUDGING CRITERIA

The Best Dressed Public Safety Awards® are judged on a 100 point system. Each category will have a point maximum. All submissions will be electronically submitted. The submission consists of up to seven photographs of the uniform program and answers to a series of questions. This is the only information that may be used in judging each submission. Judges will score submissions in the following four categories:

Overall Appearance: Using the photographs provided to compare the appearance of uniform programs within a category. Weight will be given to submissions that show multiple uniforms worn by different job functions within a department. Maximum Value 50 Points

Technology/Innovation: How does the uniform program incorporate new technologies or innovations in it’s design to make the uniform more functional or comfortable? Maximum Value 25 Points.

Problems solved or improvements made for the department: Does this uniform program solve any problems or create improvements for the wearer of the uniform?Maximum Value 20 Points

Maintain appearance standards: Does the department have a process in place to ensure the uniform is worn properly and appearance maintained? Maximum Value 5 points.

Running 4 Heroes Marches Forward

Running 4 Heroes started with a kid, an appreciation for our first responders, and a mission to raise awareness and funds for those fallen in the line of duty.  Zechariah’s first ever mile was for fallen City of Davis Police Department Officer Natalie Corona. He ran that mile back on 1/12/19 at just 10-years (and 3-months) of age. That run started what would become “Running 4 Heroes, Inc.”  



Zechariah Cartledge was born with the gift of running.  He was raised with an appreciation for first responders and all they do for the community.  As he grew older, Zechariah decided to help the families of our fallen first responders in a meaningful way.  Encouraged by the mission and vision of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Zechariah began his journey raising funds for those families by running.

Every run begins and ends with a prayer.

In 2019, Running 4 Heroes officially became a non-profit 501(c)(3).  Zechariah runs one mile for every First Responder who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.  He wants to honor those who gave up their life so we may live in a better world.

The Board of Directors was put in place in 2019 and has served this organization well. The following individuals comprise the Running 4 Heroes Board of Directors.

Zechariah Cartledge – Founder of Running 4 Heroes

Zechariah Cartledge has always had a deep respect for First Responders, and developed a passion for running when he was only 5 years old. At the age of 7, Zechariah began competing in various 5k events around the community. In October of 2017, Zechariah ran in the Tunnel to Towers 5k in Orlando, FL. This run proved to be a turning point for Zechariah and the spark that created Running 4 Heroes.

During this run, Zechariah had the opportunity to run with dozens of First Responders, many of whom ran the race in their full gear. From that point forward, Zechariah knew he wanted to keep running with and for our First Responders. Originally, his mission set out to honor a fallen 9/11 Police Officer named Walwyn Stuart, while raising money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Zechariah spent all of 2018 honoring this fallen hero in his various races and ended up raising over $11,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

It was at the end of 2018 when he heard about how many Police Officers lost their lives in the line of duty that year. Knowing that the number of miles he ran in 2018 was nearly the same amount of miles as Officers lost in 2018, Zechariah set out on a mission to run 1-mile in 2019 for every Officer lost in the line of duty from the prior year and to raise $100 for each Officer for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

However, just 2-weeks into 2019, Zechariah heard how more Officers had already lost their lives in the lines of duty in the current year, so he decided to add an additional mile for every Officer lost in 2019, but for them, he would run those miles carrying the Blue Line Flag in their honor.

Currently, Zechariah has run over 240 miles in 2019 and has raised over $51,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

That decision to honor our fallen heroes has led to the creation of the Running 4 Heroes 501(c)(3), which sets out to honor every First Responder lost in the line of duty as well as support those injured First Responders whose injuries were duty-related.

Chad Cartledge – President & CEO of Running 4 Heroes

Chad Cartledge has helped create the mission of Running 4 Heroes as a way to show support for his son, Zechariah, and the efforts Zechariah puts in to honoring our fallen heroes. While Chad is not a runner himself, he has experience in Theater and a degree from the University of Central Florida in Radio/Television/Communication. Chad uses his experience in his day-to-day duties for the Foundation. Some of his tasks include maintaining the Running 4 Heroes social media channels, emceeing the 1-mile tribute runs that Zechariah puts on for the fallen, and maintaining the day-to-day budgeting of Running 4 Heroes, just to name a few.

Tim Nazzaro – Secretary of Running 4 Heroes

Tim Nazzaro comes to the Board of Directors with 23 years of law enforcement experience in the Central Florida area.  His last 21 years have been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando. He currently holds the rank of Sergeant and  supervises the field training of newly hired deputies in the Patrol division. Tim is a graduate of the State University of New York at Delhi, where he earned a degree in Architectural Technologies.

Tim is also a bagpiper who plays with The Pipes and Drums of OCSO, and has routinely helped honor fallen heroes during Zechariah’s runs with his piping.

Chris Sileo – Director, Marketing for Running 4 Heroes

Chris Sileo has a long history of public service and a track record of appreciation for First Responders. His family holds many members who are current or former Sheriff Officers, Deputies, Military Veterans, Government Employees, and more. Chris has seen the daily deluge these First Responders go through and has made it a goal to give back in every way possible.

Chris owns Awake Marketing Agency, which does work for many non-profits, small businesses, and others. He is also a REALTOR® and gives back a portion of his commission directly to his First Responder clients.

Chris was an early supporter of Zechariah and his Tunnel to Towers mission, and is now honored and humbled to serve on the Board of Directors for the Running 4 Heroes organization.

Jason Stubler – Director of Running 4 Heroes

Jason Stubler is an Illinois native with a passion of Honoring fallen police officers. He is veteran police leader with nearly 20 years of law enforcement experience. He currently serves as a Police Commander for a large suburban Police Department outside of Chicago, Illinois. His responsibilities include the management of Patrol Division and oversees the department’s Honor Guard Unit. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University. He is also a bagpiper for the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department.

Charlene “Charlee” Jennings – Director of Running 4 Heroes

Charlene “Charlee” Jennings is a police officer in Texas. She has spent most of her life in the South Plains area of Texas. Charlee enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18 and received an honorable discharge after a deployment to Iraq and Africa. She then went on to serve the public as a parking control officer, then a jailer in the city holding facility, and now as a police officer in the Texas panhandle. She is a 10 year veteran with the department serving as a property crimes detective.

Charlee has a passion for public service, and has been heavily involved with Toys for Tots while in the Marine Corps, and is currently involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for the Special Olympics. She assisted in organizing the LETR along with other essential logistics for the organization. Charlee is also a loving mom and loving wife to her Police Officer husband.

Jeffrey Taylor – Director & Treasurer of Running 4 Heroes

Jeffrey Taylor is a native of the Ozark Mountain region and lives in Central Florida with his children. He is a licensed CPA in the State of FL, a Licensed CMA, and a member of the AICPA and IMA.

Prior to becoming a Communications Soldier in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Jeffrey worked as an HVAC technician in a family business, a firefighter, and a concrete finisher. The Army provided opportunities to cross function, where he rotated through roles in logistics, machine-gun paratrooper, and signal battalion medic.  Jeffrey also volunteered his time with local schools and helped soldiers prepare their taxes pro-bono.  After his honorable discharge from the Army, Jeffrey obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Accountancy from Stetson University.

In early 2010, Jeffrey was appointed to the IRS Special Enforcement Unit in Maitland, Florida as a field agent.  Working with FICPA, Florida’s DBPR, and the FL Board of Accountancy, he was influential in driving change to the FL CPA requirements in 2012.  After approximately a decade of enforcement work, he transferred to DOD to audit defense contracts and start @CPA, LLC – an accounting firm that specializes in tax resolution and compliance engagements.

Jeffrey met Zechariah and Chad during a compliance engagement for the charitable organization and was impressed to see what a great job they were doing.  After realizing that Zechariah has a better patch and award collection than most children his age have baseball cards, Jeffrey gladly signed on to support the mission by providing treasury services and monitoring compliance with federal and state regulations.

Camrin Northrop – Director of Running 4 Heroes

Camrin Northrop comes from a small town in upstate New York and currently resides in South Carolina. He is a Captain for the Shaw Air Force Base Fire Department (USAF AD), a Lieutenant for the Sumter County SC Fire Department, and the director of safety for the Sumter Speedway. Camrin is certified to the Fire Officer 3 level and is always seeking avenues for further professional development.

He has been in the fire protection field for 10 years and has served overseas in an undisclosed location as a firefighter for 6 months with the USAF. He is an active member in the community and loves helping others in many different capacities, including as a mentor for local schools, which he has been doing since 2017. Camrin is honored to be part of the Running 4 Heroes mission!

Sadly, Zechariah has added 791 more miles since that very first tribute mile run just shy of two years ago. One thing remains true, Natalie’s story continues to inspire Zechariah to march forward with this mission in memory of Officer Corona and all others lost in the Line of Duty.

Today, we remember her on this two-year anniversary of her End of Watch (1/10/19).

Help us in honoring our fallen First Responders.

Running 4 Heroes is always looking for volunteers across America to help in our mission of bringing some joy to the families who have lost their loved one in the line of duty.  Please consider joining us in our mission. For more information on volunteering, visit https://running4heroes.org/volunteer/

Law Enforcement Appreciation Day: A Day to Say ‘Thanks’

Across the country on January 9th each year, citizens take the lead to show support on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Law Enforcement Officers of every rank and file have chosen a profession that puts their life on the line every day for their communities.  They’ve answered a call to public service that is demanding and often unappreciated.

From local, state, and federal, their duties command dedication. The jobs are often thankless and take them away from their families for long hours. Rarely do they know what their days have in store for them. Often law enforcement are the only paid emergency resource a community has. More often they work in coordination with other local, state, and federal organizations to make communities safer.

On National Law Enforcement Day, we have an opportunity to thank them for their service and offer a token of respect.

HOW TO OBSERVE #LawEnforcementAppreciationDay

There are several ways to show your support. Send a note of thanks to your local, county or state police agency. Wear blue, turn your social media channels blue or shine a blue porch light to show your support. Find more ideas at Concerns of Police Survivors and share your support using #NationalLawEnforcementAppreciationDay to share on social media.  

NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION DAY HISTORY

Several organizations came together to create National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in 2015 to thank officers across the country for all the daily sacrifices they make for their communities. This holiday was triggered by the chain of events in 2014, when a police officer was involved in a crossfire shooting in Missouri. The backlash and violence that followed this event led Concerns of Police Survivors(C.O.P.S.) to take the initiative to change this negative portrayal of police officers in the news in recent years into a positive one.

Some of the organizations supporting the observance include:

  • FBI National Academy Associates
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • International Association of Chief of Police
  • Officer Down Memorial Page
  • Law Enforcement United
  • National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
  • International Conference of Police Chaplains
  • National Troopers Coalition

Since then the inaugural celebration, nationwide many more organizations have joined forces to support National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.) to spread encouragement and respect to these dedicated men and women.

A LITTLE LAW ENFORCEMENT HISTORY

1636  – Policing in Colonial America had been very informal, based on a for-profit, privately funded system that employed people part-time. Towns also commonly relied on a “night watch” in which volunteers signed up for a certain day and time, mostly to look out for fellow colonists engaging in prostitution or gambling. (Boston started one in 1636, New York followed in 1658 and Philadelphia created one in 1700.)    

1838 – ​The first publicly funded, organized police force with officers on duty full-time was created in Boston.

1844 – New York City establishes a municipal police force.

1857 – New York leads the way with adopting the first detective unit.

1905 – Pennsylvania becomes the first state to establish a state police force, as recommended by Theodore Roosevelt to help control the numerous labor riots going on in the state’s hill country.

1920s – Berkeley, California’s police force gets ahead of the curve by adopting centralized and consistent training, communications, and order throughout its police force.

1933​ – T​he Bayonne​, New Jersey​ Police Department ​​initiated the first regular two-way police radio communication in patrol cars.

NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT APPRECIATION DAYS AROUND THE WORLD

Around the world, police officers and rangers watch over and protect their communities. In return, this is how their hard work is celebrated!

  • Armenia Police Workers Day – A day to commemorate the Police of Armenia personnel. It’s celebrated on April 16.
  • Canada – Police and Peace Officers National Memorial DayMembers of the Canadian law enforcement are honored. It is observed on the last Sunday of September
  • China – The Day of the People’s Armed Police, created as a result of sharing of power between the Ministry of Public Security and the People’s Liberation Army, and is commemorated June 19
  • Egypt National Police Day – The lives of 50 police officers who were killed after refusing British demands on January 25, 1952 are paid tribute to each year on January 25.
  • Romania Police Day – The holiday celebrates the flag of the Romanian Police and everything it stands for on March 25 each year.

LAW ENFORCEMENT FACTS

  • There are more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. About 12 percent of those are female.

  • Crime fighting has taken its toll. Since the first recorded police death in 1786, there have been more than 22,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Currently, there are 22,217 names engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

  • A total of 1,627 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 54 hours or 163 per year. There were 135 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2019.

  • According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 2018 LEOKA report:
    There have been 58,866 assaults against law enforcement officers in 2018, resulting in 18,005 injuries.

  • The 1920s were the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,517 officers died, or an average of almost 252 each year. The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 312 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 163 per year.

  • The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 72 officers were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on America.

  • The New York City Police Department has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 941 deaths. Texas has lost 1,772 officers, more than any other state. The state with the fewest deaths is Vermont, with 24.

  • There are 1,181 federal officers listed on the Memorial, as well as 720 correctional officers and 44 military law enforcement officers.
  • There are 365 female officers listed on the Memorial; 11 female officers were killed in 2019.

 

Information was pulled from several websites, including:

National Police Foundation https://www.policefoundation.org/

National Day Calendar https://nationaldaycalendar.com/

National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund https://nleomf.org/

Officer Down https://officerdown.us/

United States Department of Justice https://www.justice.gov/

Time Magazine https://time.com/

Blue Help to Honor All Emergency Responders

Over the years, we have had submissions from the families of all #firstresponders, not just law enforcement. In an effort to honor all first responders we have lost to suicide, Blue H.E.L.P. will now collect the information for all suicides, any duty status, any year. What does this mean?

It means that we will place the photo and memorial of any #firefighters, #policeofficers, #correctionsofficer, #emergencyservices personnel and #dispatchers on our memorial wall forever remembering their service.

It means that we will track any and all first responder suicides that are submitted to us, we will no longer restrict our honor wall to #lawenforcement.

All information will continue to remain confidential unless we have permission to share from the families. We believe it is important for you to see the number of verified suicides, whether you know their identities is up to the family; we only post personal information with their permission. We do not contact or “cold call” families, we wa​​it for them to reach out to us. Their privacy and ability to grieve properly is of the utmost importance to us, we are counting every death, but we are only sharing the personal details if the family’s request it, matter how public the death.

We encourage you to let us know what you know so we can continue to raise #suicideawareness

Our History

Blue H.E.L.P. began in 2015 after The Price They Pay was written by two of it’s founders; Karen Solomon and Jeffrey McGill. It became clear to Karen, Jeff and Steve Hough that suicide prevention and care for the families afterward was not offered in law enforcement; compassion and understanding took a backseat to stigma and shame. In 2017, they incorporated and received their 501(c)3 designation and are now the only organization in the country that collects law enforcement suicide data and regularly supports families in the aftermath.

To submit a name or for more information visit https://bluehelp.org/honor-wall/submit/

Sheriff Looks Back on Decades in Law Enforcement

After more than three and a half decades in law enforcement, Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell is retiring at the end of this month.

Reflecting upon his career and his start in law enforcement, Russell said that, even before becoming an officer of the law, he had been working in a similar, but different, line of work with the Taney County Ambulance District.

“From April 1, of ‘82 I was an EMT and paramedic until June 1, ‘85. During that time, our office was in the basement of the old sheriff’s office, and I got to hang out with a lot of the deputies and stuff back then,” said Russell. “I got interested in the law enforcement side and decided to leave the medical side and go into law enforcement.”

Russell said, from being an EMT, he made his career transition by first becoming an officer with the Branson Police Department.

“In June 1, of ‘85 I started with the Branson Police Department and I worked there at Branson Police until Feb. 1 of ‘92 when I went to the (Taney County) sheriff’s office. I worked at the sheriff’s office for eight years as a deputy,” Russell said. “I started under Sheriff Chuck Keithley and worked a year under him, then Theron Jenkins took over for him when Chuck retired. I worked eight years for Theron. When he decided he was going to retire, then in 2000, I ran for sheriff and won the election and was fortunate enough to become sheriff for 20 years.”

As a life-long resident of the area, Russell said he’s seen a lot of changes in Taney County.

“I grew up here in Taneyville. Went to Taneyville grade school and all through grade school there and then graduated from Forsyth High School. I’ve lived around here all my life. Actually grew up within three miles of where I live now,” said Russell. “When I first started at Branson Police Department in ‘85 our city limits ended just before the Walmart store on 76 highway out there, just east of that is where the city limits ended. There were a few businesses out past there, but not many.”

Russell added that getting into the law enforcement field back when he got started is a lot different than what you have to go through these days.

“Back then, you had to go through a law enforcement academy within the first year of being hired. You didn’t have to before you were hired,” Russell said. “You could actually work on the road and everything before you went to the law enforcement academy. I think it was just an (120) hour academy back then. Of course, now it’s 700 hours.”

Compared to now, Russell explained, there were no requirements for continued eduction; however, he took as many of the courses as he could when he was first starting out.

“Back then, the Highway Patrol academy, they had a lot of classes up there, and the city of Branson was really good about sending us to training. I actually went through every class the highway patrol academy had to offer, with the exception of the photography class. I didn’t go through it,” said Russell. “The rest of them, all the supervision classes and all the advance accident investigation and accident reconstruction and the firearms instructions and everything. I went through all of that up there while I was with Branson.”

When it came to deciding to run for Taney County Sheriff, Russell said becoming sheriff had always been a goal of his.

“The first time I think I said that I would like to was during white bass season, and me and (Branson Police Chief) Steve Mefford, we were fishing down below Powersite Dam and Theron Jenkins and a bunch of them were up there fishing, also. They were talking then that Theron was going to be the next sheriff and I remember Steve said, ‘That wouldn’t be anything I would want to do’ and I said, ‘You know, I think one day I may want to do that.’ So it was even a goal from back then, back when I was with Branson. I had it in the back of my mind that is what I wanted to do. So when the opportunity came for me to move over to the sheriff’s office and learn it and everything, I took it.”

Russell added that when Jenkins announced his retirement as sheriff in 2000, he knew then he wanted to run for the position. Russell ran, won and was sworn-in as Taney County Sheriff in 2001. Since then, Russell explained, the job has continued to evolve.

“The first year I was sheriff in 2001 we had the 9/11 attacks, and that brought about a big change in law enforcement then and how we do things, how we looked at things and there was just a whole round of things we had to change and adjust to. Throughout the years, there have been continual adjustments,” Russell said. “My first year we had all that to adjust to, and then my last year we had COVID and the protests to adjust to.”    

As he was taking office in 2001, Russell said he also found himself having to bring the sheriff’s department into the 21st Century.

“When I walked into the sheriff’s office, we didn’t have any computers. It was all hand-written reports and everything done by hand. It was just the turn of the times when that needed to be done and just hadn’t been yet,” Russell said. “So we put in new computer systems and records management systems, jail management systems and everything, including computer-aided dispatch for them.”

In his time as sheriff, Russell said he’s had the chance to accomplish many things, but one of his proudest moments has been the creation and completion of the Taney County Judicial Center.

“Whenever I came into office, they had already taken and made plans for a new facility. Actually the county had spent $1 million on the plans and getting everything going, and it was going to be a 100 bed facility. At that point, whenever I took over, we were already at 120 inmates. I said, ‘You know this is supposed to be a long-term facility that you’re planning. This is not going to work. We’re already past the pool limit,’” said Russell. “Of course the plans then involved tearing down the old courthouse to build this one, which is not actually what the commission wanted. That’s the way the architects and everybody developed it. So long story short, we ended up scrapping a $1 million plan and starting all over and redesigning an all-different location and going through that. So in 2008, we finally got the current facility built.”

While in office, Russell said he was also proud of his time working with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

“I worked with them on the ‘Hand in Hand’ (event) in Branson and everything. That was a great highlight in my career, being able to work with those people,” he said. “I met a lot of very interesting people during that and made a lot of really good friends through that.”

Russell said one of the final things he was glad to see through during his final months in office was this year’s passing of the Law Enforcement Sales Tax increase. After serving the residents of Taney County for two decades as sheriff, Russell said he knew it was time to retire.

“They always say you know when it’s time, and it’s time. After 20 years, of course. My wife, she’s retired now, and we want to chase our grandkids around the rodeos and basketball games and all that and be a little freer to do that stuff,” said Russell. “I’m just ready to settle down and farm and not be called out in the middle of the night and everything else. I’ve been in law enforcement for 35-and-a-half years now, and that’s long enough for anybody.”

Russell added that it was also important to him that he and Chuck Keithley are now tied for the longest serving sheriffs in Taney County history, both serving 20 years in office.

Earlier this year, the voters of Taney County elected current Taney County Deputy Sheriff Brad Daniels to succeed Russell as sheriff. Russell said he’s the right man for the job.

“Anybody coming in. I don’t care who it is, me or Brad or anybody else coming into that position, there will be a lot that they realize they have to learn. He’s been going to school to learn, and it’s opened his eyes to what all there is. Even being chief deputy, he knew a lot of it, but there’s still stuff that he has to learn,” said Russell. “He’s very level-headed. He’s the right man for the job. He’ll do real well. He’s going to have Matt Wheeler as his chief deputy, and that’s an excellent choice. They’ll be a great team.”

When asked what he’s going to miss most about the job, Russell said, “The people. I’m going to miss the employees and the people.”

Russell said doing this job as long as he has wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his family.

“Having my family behind me, especially my wife. You know the family goes through a lot whenever you’re sheriff, too. It’s probably been harder on them than it’s been on me. But having them there to support me and be behind me with it, means a lot.”

Russell’s final day in office will be Dec. 31, 2020.

By Tim Church | Branson Tri-Lakes News

The 2021 Community Policing in Action Photo Contest Ends Soon

The deadline for the seventh annual “Community Policing in Action” Photo Contest is quickly approaching​. Entries must be submitted by 7 p.m. Central Time, ​Monday, November 16​ to be considered.

All state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement agencies are invited to send in submissions for an opportunity to be featured on the COPS Office website and on Twitter and Facebook​​ headers for one month during the 2021 calendar year.

Each winning law enforcement agency may also be featured in the COPS Office e-newsletter, the Community Policing Dispatch, and a COPS Office-issued press release.

Complete Submission Quick Tips

Make sure your submission is complete with these steps:

Snap your photo

Photo should depict positive community engagement that promotes community policing and trust building with community members, stakeholders, local government, and others.

Only ONE photo may be submitted (no collages). Photo should be visibly clear.

Fill out all forms (submissions without these forms will not be accepted)

Privacy Consent, Waiver, and Release Authorizing Use and Disclosure of Photographic Image Form(s): Submission must include an original, signed Notice, Consent and Release waiver for EACH recognizable individual in the photo.

Permission and Release to Law Enforcement Agencies Form: Submission must include Permission & Release form signed by an authorized law enforcement agency representative.

Include a description of the photo and why it exemplifies community policing in action (don’t forget to include photo credit).

Review your forms to ensure they are signed and complete.

Send submissions to TELLCOPS@USDOJ.GOV by ​7 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, November 16.

More Questions?

​V​isit http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/photocontest for all the required forms, FAQs and the complete contest rules, terms and conditions.

Community Policing in Action Photo Contest Is Now Open

All state, local, territorial and tribal law enforcement agencies are invited to submit a photo that captures a spirited community policing moment for the opportunity to be featured on the COPS Office website, and its Twitter and Facebook headers, for one month during the 2021 calendar year. Each winning law enforcement agency may also be featured in the COPS Office e-newsletter, the Community Policing Dispatch.

The photo should reflect positive engagement that promotes community policing and trust building with community members, stakeholders, local government, and others. While photos may include community members of all ages, we highly encourage photos depicting interactions with adults due to privacy concerns with photos of minors (please see the website for important details regarding photos of minors).

Brief overview on how to enter a complete submission:*

  • Select or snap a photo that best conveys your agency’s “community policing in action.” Please note that horizontal, high quality images are preferred.
  • Fill out the required Permission and Release to Law Enforcement Agencies Form, as well as the required Privacy Consent, Waiver, and Release Authorizing Use and Disclosure of Photographic Image Forms for each recognizable individual.
  • Submissions without these forms may not be entered to the contest.
  • Write a brief description of the photo and how it reflects your department’s positive community engagement.
  • Email in your complete submission by 8:00 PM EST on Monday, November 16, 2020.


*Please ensure to read all Contest Rules, Terms and Conditions carefully prior to submitting an image.

All photos must be submitted by 8:00 PM EST on Monday, November 16, 2020, via email to tellcops@usdoj.gov. Please visit our website for complete contest rules, terms and conditions. Winners will be notified no later than December 28, 2020, via email.

For questions regarding the contest, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the COPS Office website or contact us by email at tellcops@usdoj.gov.

Please note that photos may be used in other COPS Office communications in the future and there is no cash award or other prize for this photo contest.