March

Sworn Employees of the Month

March 2021 Sworn Employee of the Month March 2021 Sworn Employee of the Month March 2021 Sworn Employee of the Month March 2021 Sworn Employee of the Month

Trooper Thomas Reents
Troop C
Sergeant Paul J. Kempker
Field Operations Bureau
Corporal Dustin B. Reed
Division of Drug and Crime Control
Corporal Jason A. Ashby
Division of Drug and Crime Control
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Thomas Reents, Paul J. Kempke, Dustin B. Reed and Jason A. Ashby, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are the DPS March 2021 Sworn Employees of the Month for their thorough investigative work on what appeared to be an accidental fatal traffic crash but led to charges in a criminal death case.

On August 23, 2020, Troop C Trooper Thomas Reents responded to a reported vehicle crash on the Discovery Bridge in St. Louis County in which a motorcycle struck the median wall and the driver was ejected into the river. Thomas quickly noticed two fresh skid marks traveling parallel with the motorcycle's skid marks. He determined a second vehicle was involved, but had left the scene and requested the Major Crash Investigation Team respond to assist with the investigation.

Field Operations Bureau Sergeant Kempke responded. An investigation of the physical evidence led Paul to determine a motor vehicle intentionally struck the motorcycle by reversing into it. Division of Drug and Crime Control criminal investigator corporals Reed and Ashby responded to the scene. Dustin and Jason’s investigation resulted in criminal charges being filed for the death of the victim.

From start to conclusion, this was a strong example of thoroughness and training put into action. Thomas Reents recognized this incident was more than a traffic crash and took action. Paul Kempke applied his technical crash investigation expertise. Dustin Reed and Jason Ashby diligently put their investigative skills to work. Because of their combined efforts, what could have been mistakenly classified as a fatal traffic crash investigation resulted in charges a criminal death investigation.


Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

March 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Caty Luebbert
Public Information Director
State Emergency Management Agency

Caty Luebbert, the Public Information Director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, is the DPS March 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Since joining SEMA in late 2018, Caty has taken on increasing responsibilities, including video production, graphic art, expanding social media capabilities and much more. SEMA’s social media reach has almost tripled on both Facebook and Twitter. Caty has also greatly advanced SEMA’s response capabilities and effectiveness with media outlets, local and federal stakeholders, and video and other support for Department of Public Safety divisions, state departments and the Governor’s office.

In addition to her PIO duties, Caty has taken a leading role in providing weekly updates for the Governor’s office on SEMA’s work fighting the pandemic and regularly fills gaps at SEMA when other staff members are not available. Her work has been particularly important during the pandemic, when there have been additional needs at SEMA and support has been required for projects that can no longer take place in-person.

While juggling her normal responsibilities at SEMA, Caty has shot and edited numerous videos highlighting the state’s work with PPE warehousing and distribution, Remdesivir shipments, MO DMAT-1 training, and training videos. The Governor’s office recently assigned Caty responsibility for setting up a Joint Information Center to deal with communications coordination for the statewide Mass Vaccination Program. This required long hours and Caty excelled at establishing relations with state and local partners.

Caty is the ultimate team player and helps raise the performance of all those with whom she works.

February

Sworn Employee of the Month

February 2021 Sworn Employee of the Month

Jeffrey W. Huff
Corporal
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Jeffrey W. Huff, a corporal in Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop A, is the February 2021 DPS Sworn Employee of the Month for the care and compassion he demonstrated with a suicidal teenager. The boy’s mother has credited Jeffrey with saving the boy’s life.

On a Sunday night in August 2020, Jeffrey stopped a vehicle traveling 113 miles an hour on Interstate 70 east of Kansas City. When he learned the driver was 16 years old, Jeffrey had the boy call his parents. While he was on the phone, Jeffrey learned the teen was experiencing depression and was suicidal.

Jeffrey decided to share his own personal experience of loss. Jeffrey’s own brother had died by suicide. He explained to the boy how the loss of his brother had affected his entire family. He talked about the benefits of talking with others and working with medical professionals.

The teen’s parent came to the traffic stop scene, talked with Jeffrey, and then informed him they would take their son directly to a hospital.

Later, Jeffrey was contacted by the teen’s mother. She told him she could never thank him for what he had done for her son. She explained that as they had driven away from the traffic stop scene her son explained his plan to take his own life. He had told his parents, “That trooper saved my life tonight.”

Late at night on the side of an interstate, Jeffrey epitomized the Patrol’s core value of compassion. He took the time to listen to a teenager in crisis and intervened in a very personal way, sharing his own story of loss, and his actions helped a boy decide he wanted to live.

*Named Missouri State Employee of the Month for March 2021


Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

February 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Kimberly Threet
Clerk Typist III
Missouri State Highway Patrol

Kim Threet, a Clerk Typist III at Missouri State Highway Patrol General Headquarters, is the DPS February 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

In mid-May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a longtime employee of the Patrol’s Driver and Vehicle Safety Division retired, leaving the full-time position vacant. The duties were extremely time-sensitive, including processing emissions and safety inspections records from stations around the state to meet daily deadlines and promptly fulfilling orders for a variety of motor vehicle safety inspection stickers and decals.

Kim, whose own full-time position in the Driver and Vehicle Safety Division is quite demanding, managed to research the responsibilities of the vacant position, learned the necessary processes and procedures, and juggled both full-time positions for five months, until a new employee could be brought on board.

It was quite a challenge, but Kim prioritized pressing issues and found a way to handle both positions. She met the deadlines for the most time-sensitive requirements and also took the initiative to train other employees so responsibilities could be shared in the future, if necessary.

Working overtime and extremely efficiently, Kim set an outstanding example for her fellow employees throughout the Department of Public Safety

January

Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

January 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month

Jeff Smithee
Maintenance Supervisor
Missouri Veterans Commission

Jeff Smithee, of the Missouri Veterans Commission, is the DPS January 2021 Non-Sworn Employee of the Month.

Jeff, who is a maintenance supervisor at the Missouri Veterans Commission’s Mexico Veterans Home, was chosen for his flexibility, willingness to sacrifice his personal interests to put in extra hours to accomplish critical work and commitment to serving Missouri’s veterans

On Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, MVC leadership learned assistance was needed constructing an isolation unit the following week at the Cape Girardeau Veterans Home because of COVID-19. Initially, Jeff was not contacted because he had been approved for vacation days the following week and he works at the Mexico Veterans Home, a considerable distance from Cape Girardeau. However, Jeff was called when it became clear an additional person would be needed

Once reached by phone, Jeff volunteered without hesitation to travel to Cape Girardeau to assist with the important work required there.

Jeff is an outstanding example of a team member’s commitment to upholding MVC’s mission of honoring and serving Missouri’s veterans whose dedication and sacrifices have helped preserve our nation and its freedoms.