July

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

July 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Kevin Virgin

Kevin Virgin
Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Coordinator
Office of the Director

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!


Sworn Employee of the Month

July 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month, John Mapes

John Mapes
Agent
Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control

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!

June

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

June 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Tina Schirmer

Tina Schirmer
Unit Manager
Missouri Veterans Commission

Tina Schirmer, a Unit Manager with the Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety June 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month. 

Tina, who works at MVC’s Cape Girardeau Veterans Home, recently acted quickly and heroically during a potential emergency situation. A veteran was being dropped off by a friend in the home’s parking lot and was briefly left unattended in the truck. The veteran, who was a special care unit veteran, moved into the driver's seat and began driving the vehicle erratically.

Tina witnessed the situation from the other side of the parking lot and, understanding the danger, immediately went to the veteran’s aid. Despite the risk of harm to herself, Tina hopped into the truck, managed to put the vehicle in park and removed the keys. Tina’s action prevented the veteran from harming himself or anyone else in the area.

It was another example of how Tina keeps a watchful eye at the Cape Girardeau Veterans Home, motivated by her dedication and compassion for the veterans in the home’s care.

Congratulations, Tina for your outstanding efforts and the example you have set for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!


Sworn Employee of the Month

June 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month, Keaton L. Ebersold

Keaton L. Ebersold
Trooper
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Keaton L. Ebersold, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H, St. Joseph, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety June 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month. Keaton is a trooper assigned to Troop H, Zone 1 (Atchison and Holt counties)

Keaton was chosen for his decisive and courageous actions.

On Jan. 22, 2019, Keaton responded to a possible rolling domestic case on I-29 in Atchison County. The Rock Port Police Department was also at the scene. A truck driver exited the vehicle with his hands up saying a woman in the cab forced him at gunpoint to drive north after he had stopped to assist a motorist at a traffic crash.

Keaton went to the passenger side; the Rock Port officer approached the driver side. The woman had her left arm around a small child and held a flare gun pointed at the child’s head in her right hand. Keaton opened the passenger door and attempted to speak with the woman. The suspect pointed the flare gun at Keaton as he attempted to speak with her, before pointing it back toward the child.

Then, as the Rock Port officer spoke to the suspect, the woman lowered the flare gun slightly. Keaton immediately lunged inside the vehicle and wrapped his left hand around the hammer of the flare gun to lock it in place. He gained control of the flare gun and threw it out of the truck.

After a lengthy struggle, the woman was taken into custody and the child was safely removed from the truck. The suspect was not injured. Keaton sustained minor cuts to his hand during the altercation

Congratulations, Keaton! You have set an outstanding example for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety.

*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for July 2019

May

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

May 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Dawn Urban

Dawn Urban
Accountant
Division of Fire Safety

Dawn Urban, with the Division of Fire Safety, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety May 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Dawn has been an accountant with the Division of Fire Safety since 2001, and has taken on greater responsibilities and been promoted because of her strong skillset, attention to detail and team attitude.

Recently, when there were vacancies in the division’s Boiler and Pressure Vessel Program, Dawn stepped in to handle accounting responsibilities, assist field staff, and answer calls from the public and industry partners. Dawn did all these things without missing a beat with her own responsibilities as DFS administrative accountant.

Because of previous experience in the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Program, Dawn was able to hit the ground running, but she was almost immediately saddled with two large, extremely detailed and time sensitive high-level special projects. Dawn was unfazed, combed through the numbers, corrected inaccuracies and reformulated information that could have been confusing.

In her own position, Dawn has reorganized employee expense account filing and management of the division’s vehicles. In short, Dawn is described as the complete team player – hard working, a critical thinker with a positive attitude that raises everyone’s game! 

Congratulations, Dawn! You have set an outstanding example for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety


Sworn Employee of the Month

May 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month, John J. West

John J. West
Corporal
Missouri State Highway Patrol

John J. West, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E, Poplar Bluff, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety May 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month. John is a corporal assigned to Troop E, Zone 1 (Butler and Ripley counties).

John was chosen for his initiative, resourcefulness and professionalism, which likely saved a woman’s life.

On Feb. 8, 2019, John overheard the Poplar Bluff Police Department dispatch a call regarding an armed subject inside a residence. He then heard that Poplar Bluff officers arrived at the scene and shortly afterward those officers advised that shots had been fired.

John responded and, equipped with his first aid kit, entered the residence. He found one person deceased and two others injured. John and a Poplar Bluff officer began treating the more seriously injured patient by applying direct pressure, creating a makeshift tourniquet, because the tourniquet in the first-aid kit was not large enough, and packing a gunshot wound in the neck of an injured woman.

John then assisted paramedics move the patient into an ambulance. The patient might have bled to death if not for John’s forethought and swift action.

Congratulations, John! You have set an outstanding example for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety.

April

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

April 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Kasey L. Green
Food Service Manager
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Kasey L. Green, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Training Academy, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety April 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Since 2016, Kasey has been the food service manager for the training academy kitchen, which serves meals to thousands of students each year – both Patrol recruits and others from around the state attending academy training classes.

Kasey is being recognized for the management techniques, efficiencies and healthy diet options he has brought to the academy food service. By closely tracking food usage, preference and expenses, the food service was able to reduce food expenditures by 33 percent within two years.

While bringing a variety of options to the menu, Kasey has continued to reduce unit costs.

Kasey knows his staff and relies on their strengths. He leads by example, striving to improve the productivity, performance, knowledge, and abilities of his employees.

Congratulations, Kasey! You have set an outstanding example for your co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety.


Sworn Employee of the Month

April 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month

Bill Albus
Investigator
Division of Fire Safety

Bill Albus, an Investigator with the Division of Fire Safety, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety April 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month.

Bill, a 28-year Division of Fire Safety veteran, has conducted thousands of fire cause and origin investigations during his career. They have included serial arsons, homicides, and, the most difficult cases, child fatalities. His knowledge, experience and reputation are unmatched, and despite his seniority, he willingly assists other investigators during scheduled off days.

A training officer for many years, Bill has been working to pass on his expertise and highly professional approach to the job to the next generation off fire investigators.

Bill also serves his community as a dedicated volunteer firefighter with the Little Dixie Fire Protection District, rising to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief during his 40 years there. A member of the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri, Bill has faithfully served as a volunteer during the Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Weekend services since their inception.

Prior to joining the Division of Fire Safety, Bill worked for the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office and the Mexico Department of Public Safety  for a total of 10 years.

Fire Investigator Bill Albus has set an exemplary example of public service for his fellow Department of Public Safety employees.

March

Non-Sworn Employees of the Month

March 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Tim KempkerMarch 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Liz Leuckel

Tim Kempker and Liz Leuckel
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Unit
Office of the Director

Tim Kempker and Liz Leuckel, with the Office of the Director’s Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Unit, have been selected as the Department of Public Safety's March 2019 Non-Sworn Employees of the Month.

Tim and Liz administer the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) Program, which gets valuable surplus U.S. Department of Defense equipment to Missouri law enforcement agencies to help them better serve their communities. They’re being recognized for their outstanding efforts, efficiency and commitment to serving our local law enforcement partners.

The LESO Program allows Missouri law enforcement agencies to acquire useful law enforcement and emergency response equipment they would never be able to afford due to budget constraints. But responding to the 300 Missouri agencies now utilizing the program and complying with complicated federal oversight requirements takes long hours, patience and attention to detail. Tim and Liz meet all of these expectations while working in an off-site office of DPS.

Largely self-trained, Tim and Liz have administered the LESO Program for less than two years but continue to perform exceedingly well managing an inventory that now exceeds 6,300 pieces of property and $26 million in value.

Their efforts make Tim and Liz outstanding models for other DPS employees to emulate!


Sworn Employee of the Month

March 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month, Gary Grundy

Gary E. Gundy
Trooper
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Gary E. Gundy, a Trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety’s March 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month.

Gary is a road trooper assigned to central Missouri’s Troop F. He was chosen for the excellence he demonstrated during four separate high-stress incidents he handled over a one-week period in November, including capturing a suspected bank robber.

While off duty, Gary stopped on I-70 to check on what first appeared to be a medical emergency in a vehicle. It turned out to be a domestic assault in progress. Gary captured the fleeing suspect, subdued him and held him until police arrived.

Four days later, Gary was working a crash on I-70 when a multi-vehicle crash occurred, killing four people. Gary handled control of the scene, rerouting traffic, and the initial investigation with professionalism.

The next day, while handling paperwork from the crash, Gary learned of an armed bank robbery, responded, and quickly located and apprehended a suspect – who was half his age – after a foot pursuit.

One day later, Gary responded to a crash involving a commercial vehicle hauling car batteries. He handled the investigation and remained in contact with the Department of Natural Resources, tow company, and the contractor cleaning up the hazardous materials, even when off-duty.

Congratulations to Gary for the outstanding example he’s set for his co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!

View the video of the March 2019 Employee of the Month ceremonies here.

February

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

February 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Patti Tye
Administrative Office Support Assistant
State Emergency Management Agency

Patti Tye, an Administrative Office Support Assistant at the State Emergency Management Agency, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety's February 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Patti, who is assigned to the Missouri Emergency Response Commission, was chosen for her “get-it-done” attitude and problem-solving abilities.

Federal law requires many businesses and facilities that handle hazardous materials to file an annual Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory called a Tier II Report. They must be filed in the online system by March 1 to provide first responders and the public with information about potential hazards.

To reduce past confusion about the Tier II online reporting process, Patti went to work and wrote in-depth, step-by-step filing instructions, including visuals. She then worked to create video tutorials, using her extensive knowledge of the system to walk users through the entire process. Patti appeared onscreen as part of two instructional videos and assisted with final production – one for first-time filers and another for returning users.

In the past, the MERC has been inundated with questions and issues as Tier II reporters attempted to complete the online reporting process. This year, because of Patti’s efforts, call volume dropped dramatically. The video tutorials also allowed the MERC team to focus its efforts on customer service, and meant the MERC was better able to serve Missourians.

Congratulations to Patti for the outstanding example she’s set for her co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!


Sworn Employee of the Month

February 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month

Ashley Klempke
Trooper
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Ashley Klempke, a Trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been selected as the Department of Public Safety's February 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month.

Ashley, who is a road trooper in central Missouri’s Troop F, was chosen for the determination, initiative and compassion with which she approaches her responsibilities as a law enforcement officer and protector of the public.

In the early morning hours of October 2018, Ashley responded to a report of two young girls walking along a highway in Cole County. The girls were dressed only in pajamas and had no shoes. While other agencies were skeptical of the girls’ allegations of long-term abuse, Ashley insisted on conducting a thorough investigation, including a medical evaluation.

The medical evaluations supported the girls’ claims of severe abuse, as did forensic interviews and a search warrant executed at their residence. As a result of Ashley’s effort, a total of six children were placed in protective custody and both parents were criminally charged.

Ashley carried out a very thorough investigation, including 16 interviews and the execution of multiple search warrants. If not for Ashley’s dedication, perseverance and compassion, the young victims would still be subjected to abuse.

Ashley’s pursuit of justice in this case also led to the Missouri State Troopers’ Association “adopting” the two girls for Christmas. They enjoyed a pizza party and donated presents for the holidays.

Congratulations to Ashley for the outstanding example she’s set for her co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!

*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for March 2019

View the video of the February 2019 Employee of the Month ceremonies here.

January

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

January 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month, Darin Dorris

Daren Dorris
Maintenance Technician
Missouri Veterans Commission

Daren Dorris, a maintenance technician with the Department of Public Safety's Missouri Veterans Commission, has been selected as the department's January 2019 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Daren, who works at the St. Louis Missouri Veterans Home, was selected for his outstanding work ethic, leadership and "do-it-all" abilities as a maintenance department technician. He has demonstrated proficiency in many areas of maintenance at the St. Louis Home, including plumbing, floor installation, painting, and wall repairs.

Recently after the St. Louis Home sustained tornado damage, Daren quickly went to work – securing shingles, ridge caps, and installing a network of tarps as a stopgap measure to prevent further damage to more than 40 areas of the roof at the facility.

Daren also frequently comes to work outside normal working hours to complete essential repairs. He has conducted after-hours repairs to the kitchen area which prevented downtime to the dietary department. He also worked late nights to test fire suppression systems and participate as a member of the wheelchair audit team to ensure Veterans are both safe and as comfortable as possible.

Daren has been an employee in the maintenance department at the Missouri Veterans Home – St. Louis since 2005.

Congratulations to Daren for the outstanding example he’s set for his co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!


Sworn Employee of the Month

January 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month, David Johnson

David Johnson
Trooper
Missouri State Highway Patrol

David L. Johnson, a trooper with the Department of Public Safety's Missouri State Highway Patrol — Troop D, has been selected as the department's January 2019 Sworn Employee of the Month.

In June 2018, David attended specialized training involving interdiction methods to protect children. Within the next three months, he arrested five suspects for charges involving possession of child pornography, failing to register as a sex offender, and violating terms of their sentence.

In one case, David stopped a car for following too close on Missouri Highway 13 in Polk County. His interviewing technique during the traffic stop led to the arrest of the driver for possessing child pornography and failure to register as a sex offender.

In another incident, while off-duty with his family, he observed suspicious behavior by a subject in a vehicle at the same park. After he returned to work, David followed up with the registered owner, identified him as the driver of the vehicle, and found he was a registered sex offender who was restricted from being at a public park. This same suspect had initially failed to list his vehicle in his sex offender registry information.

Since June, the Patrol has conducted the 16-hour Interdiction for the Protection of Children training in all nine troops. It concentrates on identifying signs during a traffic stop that a child might be in danger. A total of 307 troopers have completed the training. Since being trained, troopers have initiated a total of 22 investigations.

David recognizes there are many nuances to this type of investigative method and continues to refine his technique.

Congratulations to David for the outstanding example he’s set for his co-workers throughout the Department of Public Safety!