February

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

February 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Sheila Huddleston
Training Technician III
State Emergency Management Agency

Sheila Huddleston has been chosen as the Department of Public Safety February 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month for her outstanding work organizing a multi-agency, full-scale exercise involving the response to the discovery of a suspicious package containing hazardous materials inside the Missouri Capitol building.

Sheila, of the State Emergency Management Agency, was the lead planner – exercise officer for the exercise, which was critically important for preparing local, state and federal response agencies for how they would respond to a similar real-life emergency at the Capitol.

Sheila is a 19-year veteran of SEMA, where she is a Training Technician III. She previously worked at the Department of Economic Development and has been a state employee since 1999.

Sheila spent almost a year researching, planning and coordinating the exercise to maximize the participation and benefits to all the agencies involved, which included the Department of Public Safety, Missouri Capitol Police, Jefferson City Police, Cole County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri National Guard 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team, Department of Natural Resources, Cole County Emergency Management, Cole County Emergency Medical Services, Cole County Emergency Response Team, Jefferson City Fire Department, SEMA and the FBI.

This large undertaking was not within Sheila’s main duties since she is a local exercise planner, not a state exercise planner. Despite handling her normal duties with her usual high level of skill and care, Sheila created a well-coordinated and highly beneficial exercise that got strong reviews from participants.

Congratulations, Sheila! You’ve set a tremendous example for your fellow team members throughout the Department of Public Safety.

January

Sworn Employees of the Month

January 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the MonthJanuary 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Darron F. Blankenship and Greg P. Martin
Lieutenant                       Sergeant
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Lt. Darron F. Blankenship and Sgt. Greg P. Martin, investigators with the Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control, have been selected as the Department of Public Safety January 2020 Sworn Employees of the Month for their outstanding investigative work.

The two veteran investigators, who have been teamed as partners for years, were responsible for a first degree murder charge being filed in a four-year-old murder case.

In 2017, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office requested that the Missouri State Highway Patrol review a 2015 shooting death. No charges had been filed because indications were that the victim had been fatally shot in self-defense by an 18-year-old. The teenager’s father claimed to have witnessed the shooting.

As Darron and Greg began their review of the case, they conducted a systematic statement analysis of the original 911 recording following the shooting. Their analysis identified several discrepancies. Darron and Greg had an independent medical examiner review the case; they reconstructed the crime scene, and determined the shooting could not have occurred as originally described.

Armed with the new evidence and facts they had gathered, this year, Darron and Greg met with the young man who had originally claimed to have shot the victim in self-defense. Upon being re-interviewed, he disclosed that the shooting had been a murder committed by his father. The interview was the final piece of the puzzle that resulted in the first degree murder charge. The case has not yet gone to trial.

Congratulations, Darron and Greg! Your fine investigative work has not only served the cause of justice, it’s set an outstanding example of commitment and perseverance to your fellow team members throughout the Department of Public Safety.


Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

January 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Dawn Kliethermes
Criminalist III/AFIS Site Administrator
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Dawn Kliethermes has been chosen as the Department of Public Safety January 2020 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month for her exceptional lab work, organizational skills and efforts to save taxpayers money. 

Dawn, a veteran employee of the Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory Division, is a Criminalist III and the Patrol’s AFIS Site Administrator. AFIS is the national Automated Fingerprint Identification System, which uses digital imaging to obtain, store and analyze fingerprint data to identify criminal suspects.

When the state was testing an extensive upgrade of its AFIS system, Dawn discovered ways to increase the efficiency of the system. For the last three years, she has worked with AFIS engineers to further enhance the system, including working with the FBI to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in fees a vendor would have billed.

Following the May 22, 2019 Jefferson City tornado, Dawn insisted on working despite the fact Governor Parson had given state employees the day off. Dawn believed it was essential for the state to take part in testing of an AFIS software update that had occurred the day before the tornado. Dawn knew the testing was the only ways to make sure that all Missouri law enforcement agencies had access to AFIS. 

These are just two examples of Dawn’s resourcefulness and commitment which make Missouri a safer and more secure state, benefiting law enforcement agencies and citizens alike.

Congratulations, Dawn! You’re set an outstanding example for your fellow team members throughout the Department of Public Safety.