Eastham, Clodfelter named as GPD 2013 Officers of the Year
The Greencastle Police Department recently named Officer Nick Eastham and Reserve Officer David Clodfelter as the 2013 Officers of the Year.
The award recipients are chosen by their fellow officers based on the quality of work throughout the year.
"They were chosen by other officers on the department for their outstanding performance," Assistant Chief Brian Hopkins said. "They both have done a great job and deserve it. By them doing such a great job it makes mine easier."
Eastham, a Greencastle native, started his career in law enforcement more than 11 years ago at the Putnam County Sheriff's Department. He then worked for the Cloverdale Police Department prior to joining the Greencastle Police Department in March 2007.
"Law enforcement was the only career I ever wanted to pursue as my father Terry has been with the GPD since 1981," Eastham said. "I grew up surrounded by law enforcement and knew that that was what I wanted to do."
His father's experience and the desire to help people helped shape Eastham into the officer he is today. Eastham also credits Detective Randy Seipel as well as Officer Ed Wilson as major influences in his life.
"There are aspects of it that are not appealing but that are still a part of the job," Eastham explained. "As a police officer and member of the FOP I get the opportunity to participate in the Shop With A Cop and the Santa Drop programs. These programs help us interact in a positive way with the public and with small children to let them know that we care about them and that we are not the 'bad guys.' Law enforcement is way more than arresting people and writing tickets."
While Eastham has endured his fair share of difficult experiences while on the job, there are some stories he holds close that makes his job truly worth while, such as a four-year-old at McDonalds who needed some help getting home.
"I asked him if he knew where he lived and he pointed west. So, I asked if he wanted to walk or ride in my police car with me and he wanted to walk," Eastham explained. "So we started walking and when we got two or three miles down the road we finally got to his house. We talked and had a great time all the way to his house. Anything that shows kids we care about them is what makes this job for me."
Since joining the Greencastle Police Department, Eastham has continued to better himself by attending several schools and becoming a certified Glock Armor as well as becoming a certified law enforcement instructor.
In 2014 he will also be attending the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to become an Emergency Vehicle Operations instructor.
"The award is very humbling and means a lot to me even though I feel I don't deserve it," Eastham said. "I attribute my award to my shift partners Sgt. Charles Inman and Officer Matt Huffman. They make coming to work fun, and I truly believe that they are the best two shift partners anyone could ask for and I owe this award to them."
In the future, Eastham hopes to continue with the good work that the department as a whole has been doing and serve the community as best he can.
"I hope to give them (the community) a police department that they can be proud of and depend on," Eastham added.
Clodfelter, a North Putnam graduate, came to the Greencastle Police Department in 2010 and has since logged more than 270 volunteer hours, which is more than any other reserve in the department.
"Law enforcement has always been something I wanted to do," Clodfelter said. "I wanted to help out my community in any way that I could and I thought law enforcement would be a good way to do that."
Clodfelter, an 82nd Airborne veteran, who served in Afghanistan, currently works at the Putnam County jail full-time and will soon begin working at Central Dispatch in Janurary.
"I was just honored to be voted as Reserve Officer of the Year," Clodfelter said. "It's nothing I ever expected to happen. I just try to do what I do and make it easier for everybody else."
Making things easier is something he does well, as he is known to help cover shifts on short notice. As for the future, it is Clodfelter's hope to become a full-time officer with the department. He is on his way to making that a reality by studying criminal justice at Ivy Tech as well.
"It is really nice to have officers on the department such as Nick Eastham and David Clodfelter that go above and beyond what is required of them and never complain about anything," Hopkins said.