January 2017

Sergeant David Echternach, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the January, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Sgt. Echternacht was chosen as the Employee of the Month because of his actions as the responding officer to a boating accident that occurred at the Shoot Out Boat Race at the Lake of the Ozarks in August, 2016. A driver participating in the Shoot Out lost control of his vessel, which was projected to be going approximately 109 miles per hour. The vessel went airborne, violently impacted the water, and ejected the driver into the lake. The vessel sank 30 seconds after impact and Sgt. Echternacht made contact with the victim within 36 seconds. Sgt. Echternacht’s quick thinking and efforts undoubtedly saved the victim’s life.

February 2017

Trooper Gary Gundy, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the February, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Tpr. Gundy was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his demonstrated investigative skills with a Boone County case that resulted in the recovery of approximately $1,050,000 of stolen equipment and goods discovered in a vehicle from a robbery that occurred in San Francisco, California. Tpr. Gundy was able to retrieve several clothing items from the vehicle of the apprehended suspects. In reviewing the surveillance video of the robbery from the California company, these same clothing items were worn during the crime and in turn strengthened the Tpr. Gundy’s case in Boone County.

March 2017

Trooper Jeremy D. Sanders, Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the March 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Trooper Sanders was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his dedication to enforcing Missouri’s traffic laws and pursuing every lead. In November 2016, Trooper Sanders was patrolling U.S. 67 in St. Francois County, when he noticed an SUV traveling with two different license plates on the front and back of the vehicle. Once he initiated a vehicle stop, the SUV fled, eventually crashing. The occupants fled on foot into some woods. One suspect was quickly captured by local officers. While searching the crashed SUV, the body of a man was discovered in the cargo area. An investigation determined the victim was the owner of the SUV. A couple of hours later Trooper Sanders heard radio traffic indicating the second suspect had just been seen near the crash location. Trooper Sanders immediately drove to the scene and took the suspect into custody without incident. Trooper Sanders exemplified the Patrol’s commitment to serving the public and his dedication while on traffic patrol led to the discovery of a murder victim and charges being filed in the case.

April 2017

Rebecca "Becky" Cantrell, Nursing Assistant II within the Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the April, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Becky was chosen as the Employee of the Month for always going above and beyond in providing excellent care to our American Heroes, while also serving as an excellent mentor to new employees. Staff have reported that Becky’s kind heart, contagious laugh and sweet smile make her a joy to work with. Through those attributes and her cheerful and hardworking disposition, Becky earns the respect of everyone, including the Veterans to whom she provides such amazing care.

May 2017

Tabitha Perkins, Electronic Gaming Device Specialist I within the Missouri Gaming Commission, has been selected as the May, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Tabitha was chosen as the Employee of the Month for her devotion in conducting a highly complex investigation, all while still performing her extensive day-to-day responsibilities. Tabitha’s thorough investigation resulted in a review of over 13,000 emails and multiple interviews with individuals both internal and external to the casino. Tabitha’s investigation was critical to the Missouri Gaming Commission’s regulatory efforts.

June 2017

Trooper Robert North, Missouri State Highway Patrol - Troop C, has been selected as the June, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. Trooper North was chosen as the Employee of the Month for his involvement with a case that demonstrated his continued initiative and self-motivation in removing illegal narcotics from society. Tpr. North arrived at the scene of a motor vehicle crash to find EMS personnel treating a male driver for a drug overdose. Due to Tpr. North’s initiative to investigate further, multiple police agencies, including a few from Illinois, solved burglaries and pending criminal cases in their jurisdictions. A consensual search of the driver’s residence led to the seizure of over 100 wholesale prescription pill bottles containing 13,358 pills, numerous syringes, smoking pipes, and a bag of marijuana. Tpr. North assisted in determining that the wholesale prescription pill bottles were linked to a recent pharmacy burglary in De Soto, MO. While searching the residence, several components of automated teller machines were located. They were later linked to several recent ATM machine thefts in the surrounding area. The driver and his wife confessed to multiple crimes.

July 2017

Rebecca Trapani, Deputy Chief - Training & Certification Program within the Division of Fire Safety, has been selected as the July, 2017 Employee of the Month for the Department of Public Safety. One of the many roles the Division of Fire Safety is statutorily mandated to administer is a training and state certification program for Missouri’s fire service and emergency first responder personnel. Rebecca was nominated for her outstanding leadership abilities in keeping the program running smoothly despite losing two key employees. She boosted morale and created a better working environment and always encouraged her employees to hang in there and do their best to get the job done. Rebecca’s top priority is dedication to Missouri’s fire service, the Division and the Department.

August 2017

Sergeant Kurt Merseal and Corporal Bryan Silverthorn, Missouri State Highway Patrol – Troop I, have been selected as the August, 2017 Employees of the Month for the Department of Public Safety for their actions in rescuing individuals captured by the unprecedented amount of rainfall which occurred in Missouri late April, 2017. On April 30, 2017, Sgt. Merseal and Cpl. Silverthorn responded to the Meramec River near Bird’s Nest Lodge after a report of an adult and two juveniles in the water and clinging to trees. Due to their location, it was impossible to reach the three victims by boat. Thus, Sgt. Merseal and Cpl. Silverthorn relied on their rescue swimming training. The troopers entered the swift water, which was littered with floating debris. They swam a rope and lifejackets to the victims, then shuttled the victims to safety.