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State Police ceremony honors several Putnamville troopers

Monday, October 15, 2012

Personnel from the Putnamville District of the Indiana State Police recently honored for their efforts on duty are (from left) Trooper Ted Robertson, Master Trooper Todd Brown, ISP Assistant Superintendent Col. Richard Weigand, Trooper Brandon Mullen, Trooper Brian Thomas, Terre Haute Police Det. Larry Manley and Sgt. Joe Watts.
PUTNAMVILLE -- Several Putnamville troopers were honored recently as the Indiana State Police Department conducted an awards ceremony to recognize troopers, detectives and civilians from around the state for their dedication to service, bravery and devotion to the department and citizens of Indiana.

The awards were presented by ISP Supt. Paul Whitesell.

The Indiana State Police Post at Putnamville had six award recipients.

Troopers Brandon Mullen and Ted Robertson were awarded the Silver Star for their actions on Aug. 17, 2011.

While patrolling Interstate 70 near the 30-mile marker in Putnam County, the troopers came upon a serious crash involving two tractor-trailers. They immediately noticed that one driver appeared to be trapped after the dashboard area collapsed on the upper part of his legs.

Mullen and Robertson were assisting EMS with first aid and extrication of the conscious driver when the cab began to fill with smoke.

The troopers ran to their commissions and retrieved fire extinguishers while directing bystanders to do the same. Robertson climbed onto the passenger steps of the cab and sprayed all available fire extinguishers into the cab area, as did Mullen who was in the interior cab area.

The fiberglass truck cab began to shift and deteriorate from the fire, causing Mullen and Robertson to abandon their efforts to save the driver. The conscious driver perished in the agonizing fire, despite the efforts of the troopers.

Robertson and Mullen are both six-year veterans of the ISP.

Trooper Brian Thomas was awarded the Combat Action Award for his actions on Jan. 15, 2012 after responding to a Putnam County Sheriff's Office request for assistance with a reported suicidal male at a residence near Cloverdale.

Once on the scene, officers determined the man had barricaded himself inside a bathroom and appeared to be cutting himself. As the officers attempted to get the suspect to open the door and come out peacefully, the man suddenly opened the door and with knives in hand, charged Trooper Thomas and the other officers.

Thomas unholstered his sidearm and fired three rounds at the charging man, as did other officers. The man ultimately died of his wounds. The Putnam County Prosecutor's Office determined "that the shooting was justified and all officers acted in self-defense and defense of others."

Thomas is an18-month veteran of the department.

Trooper Brandon Mullen was also presented one of the department's Life Awards for 2011 as the top DUI enforcement officer for the Putnamville District.

In 2011, Mullen arrested 95 impaired drivers and was commended for his efforts in eradicating impaired drivers from the roadways and reducing the number of traffic deaths related to impaired driving. Mullen was previously awarded the ISP Life Award for top DUI enforcement in 2009 and 2010.

Mullen is a six-year veteran of the ISP.

Master Trooper Todd Brown was recognized as the 2011 Trooper of the Year for the Putnamville District. Brown was selected for this award by the command staff at the Putnamville Post as they recognized Brown's traffic and criminal enforcement efforts, community involvement and services performed above the department's normal expectation.

His award states "presented in recognition for high level of service, dedication and professionalism exemplified in service to the citizens of Indiana and the Indiana State Police."

Brown is a 17-year veteran of the ISP.

ISP Sgt. Joe Watts, the Putnamville public information officer, and Terre Haute City Police Det. Larry Manley received the Commendation Award, which is awarded to an employee or citizen for extraordinary conduct and exemplary professionalism.

On July 23, 2010 Sgt. Watts responded to a broadcast over the radio following a 911 call from Vigo County dispatch. The report was of a stabbing of two persons with the suspect was still in the residence.

Watts and Manley arrived at the address eight minutes after the first call. They approached the home and peered into the back door where Manley observed a woman lying in a pool of blood. The officers kicked in the door and announced their presence. Watts was in uniform and Manley in plain clothes.

The victim was conscious and told officers that another female stabbed her and was still in the residence. They found a female being held by a male who had also been stabbed. The male victim was nearing full exhaustion when the officers entered the room. They secured the suspect female and rendered aid to the victims until medical personnel arrived on scene.

The suspect had been attempting to kidnap the newborn baby of the couple after seeing their birth announcement in the local newspaper. The infant was asleep in a baby seat during the incident in the living room. Both officers were honored locally as the Outstanding Officers of the Year in Vigo County for their efforts in the incident.

The idea of an awards ceremony was conceived by Whitesell with the first ceremony held in February 2006. He and others he consulted determined there was a need to publicly recognize the achievements, deeds of self-sacrifice and accomplishments that too often go without proper recognition.

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