John Mapes, an Agent with the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety July 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month.
John, a 10-year law enforcement veteran, is being recognized for his fine investigative work, which led to regulatory action halting the sale of unregistered wines that endangered the public.
As an ATC Agent, John’s duties include conducting inspections of licensed alcohol retailers, which includes checking to ensure alcohol products are properly labeled and registered, as required by state and federal law. Registration requires lab testing to help ensure public safety.
In March, while conducting a routine retail inspection, John found wine bottles that were not properly labeled. John initiated an investigation, seized the unregistered wine bottles and placed them in the ATC evidence room. The following month, one of the glass wine bottles exploded, spraying shattered glass all over the evidence room.
Understanding the imminent risk to the public, John quickly contacted the wine manufacturer and obtained a list of retailers selling the wine, to get the bottles off the shelves. He then assisted in getting warnings out to the public through a news release and social media posts.
As the investigation continued, ATC learned of other instances of the manufacturer’s wines exploding. More than 15 unregistered products were discovered.
The Department of Health and Senior Services and federal regulators joined the investigation. Unregistered products were embargoed and destroyed. The ATC probe widened and alleged the manufacturer had continued to sell unregistered wines. In June, the Missouri Attorney General went to court to block the wine manufacturer from continuing to operate, alleging it was a public nuisance, and seeking restitution for retailers and consumers who had purchased the wines.¬†
Congratulations, John, for advancing ATC’s efforts to protect the public and the outstanding example you have set for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!
Kevin Virgin has been selected as the Department of Public Safety July 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month. Kevin is the Statewide Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Coordinator in the Missouri Office of Homeland Security.
Kevin, a Marine veteran with 16 years of law enforcement experience, excels in his day-to-day responsibilities of working with law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen coordination, collaboration and statewide law enforcement mutual assistance planning.
An Eldon resident, Kevin is being recognized for his outstanding efforts in response to the May 22 tornado that struck Eldon, causing widespread destruction. As severe storms swept across the state that night, Kevin was communicating with law enforcement contacts about conditions and resource needs. He then shared, in real-time, important information he was gathering with the State Emergency Operations Center.
Kevin’s role changed to first responder and an on-scene coordinator after tornado sirens sounded in Eldon. After sheltering in his own home, which was not damaged, he headed out to assess the damage around town. At times riding with Eldon Police Chief Brian Kidwell, Kevin requested fire service mutual aid resources to assist with search and rescue operations. Seven surrounding departments would respond and support local responders.
Kevin also requested Missouri State Highway Patrol assistance, and troopers quickly arrived and helped secure the tornado impact zone and assisted with traffic control.
He also stressed the urgent need for utility crews, not just to restore power, but to clear downed power lines and utility poles, which were slowing response operations.
Kevin then worked alongside first responders through the night, providing valuable support.
Congratulations, Kevin, for your outstanding efforts and the example you have set for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!