ISP recognizes three Putnamville troopers, including Trooper of Year Bell

Thursday, April 26, 2018

PUTNAMVILLE -- Indiana State Police Supt. Douglas G. Carter and his primary staff recognized three Putnamville troopers their hard work and dedication in a recent awards program for ISP employees at the Indiana Government Center.

Trooper Justin B. Bell, a two-year ISP veteran, was presented the 2017 Trooper of the District Award for the Putnamville District.

Trooper Bell

Overwhelmingly nominated for the award by his peers and the District 53 Command Team, Trooper Bell concentrated his enforcement efforts in traffic, DUI and drug enforcement and associated crimes in 2017. He made 33 DUI arrests and 125 criminal arrests, including 46 felonies, most of which were drug- and/or alcohol-related.

Those statistics placed Bell first in the district in criminal arrests. He was second in the district in DUI arrests and issued 1,279 traffic enforcement contacts (citations and warnings).

Trooper of the Year Bell obtained a murder confession after locating a wanted person who had made threats against law enforcement. During the interview, the suspect confessed to an out-of-state homicide he allegedly committed as a juvenile and was subsequently extradited to that state for charges. The same suspect also confessed to a robbery in Sullivan County.

Trooper Bell has shown to be a compassionate professional. A prime example is the July 2017 fatal crash investigation in which a mother was killed and her four-year-old son survived. They were the lone occupants of the car.

The trooper contacted the boy's next of kin, his grandparents living in Missouri. Trooper Bell then bought the boy a happy meal and sat with him at Terre Haute Regional Hospital for four hours until the grandparents' arrival.

Trooper Shelton

"Trooper Bell sets the example for other officers to follow and he treats people with genuine respect and concern," Lt. Dan Jones, commander of the Putnamville District, said. "Justin is a mature and conscientious officer who has earned the respect of his peers, supervisors and the citizens he serves. His attributes are his overall dedication to the agency and mission, his initiative and his modesty. He is a well-rounded law enforcement professional who will undertake any task."

Trooper Rondell K. Shelton, a three-year State Police veteran, was awarded the 2017 Putnamville District DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Award. Shelton incarcerated 47 impaired drivers during the year.

Shelton was the past recipient of both the 2016 Trooper of the Year and the 2016 DUI Award.

"Trooper Shelton is a hard-working and motivated individual and most deserving of this award," Lt. Jones said.

Det. Michael J. Taylor, a 10-year ISP veteran, was presented the ISP Commendation Award for his actions on Feb. 4, 2018.

Det. Taylor

Taylor, an eight-year member of the ISP Underwater Search and Recovery Team, was one of four ISP divers who responded to an incident in Knox County.

Two males and two females were in a vehicle traveling along the Wabash River when the military-style vehicle suddenly entered the Wabash River and began to submerge. The males were able to escape, but the females were not, ultimately drowning.

In the dark of night, in 12 feet of frigid and hazardous water, the divers were able to connect approximately 50 feet of cable to the submerged vehicle. Once the cable was attached, the vehicle was pulled from the river allowing for the respectful and dignified recovery of the female victims.

"Det. Taylor's courage and compassion, his underwater skills and his commitment to duty in this hazardous environment is above reproach. Taylor is most deserving of this recognition," praised 1st Sgt. Jason Fajt, district investigative commander for the Putnamville District.

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