By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Three troopers were awarded Trooper of the Year Awards during the Department of Public Safety and Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s 46th annual awards ceremony Thursday at Embassy Suites.
Troopers Bobby Raines, Sean Mass and Tommy Allen were recognized as Trooper of the Year in three categories: heroism, humanitarianism and valor.
Allen received the valor award after a pursuit and officer-involved shooting Feb. 27, 2013. Allen had been notified of a stolen vehicle, spotted the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop near State Highway 1 and State Highway 3, Trooper George Brown said, telling the story of the incident.
The suspect turned onto the Indian Nations Turnpike, where Allen attempted to perform a tactical vehicle intervention to stop the suspect and the pursuit. The suspect regained control of the vehicle and continued to a parking lot just off the turnpike.
Another trooper assisting with the pursuit, Tommy Richardson, noticed Allen driving across a grassy area to box in the suspect. The fleeing vehicle accelerated and struck Allen’s patrol car.
Fearing for his partner’s safety, as well the safety of all residents in the parking area and the restaurant, Allen initiated a second tactical vehicle intervention to end the pursuit, Brown said.
“During the spinning maneuver, Trooper Allen observed the suspect open his driver’s door and bring a long rifle up into his hands and swing it around in the direction of Trooper Richardson and himself,” Brown said. “Trooper Allen saw imminent danger to his partner, nearby citizens and himself and, in a split-second decision, drew his duty pistol and fired through the windshield of his own patrol vehicle, tracking the suspect until he dropped the rifle.”
Once the threat was eliminated, Allen exited his patrol car and administered first aid to the injured suspect until ambulance personnel arrived.
“Trooper Tommy Allen displayed courage and professionalism in the most harrowing situation. His quick actions, dedication to duty and valor reflect great credit upon himself, his troop and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Brown said.
Raines was recognized with the heroism award for an incident Sept. 21 when attempting to make a traffic stop in west Tulsa. The vehicle driver failed to stop, turned into a parking lot and exited his vehicle. Several physical altercations followed as the suspect tried several times to flee on foot, Brown said.
Raines caught him in a nearby alleyway, where their last altercation took place, during which Raines felt the suspect tug at his gun belt and attempt to obtain his duty weapon. The suspect tackled Raines and, again, pulled at his gun belt.
Raines knew if the suspect were to obtain the gun, it would be used against either him or the public, Brown said.
“In a final attempt to free himself, Trooper Raines was forced to use deadly force to protect himself against the violent aggressor,” Brown said. “Trooper Bobby Raines’ tenacity and split-second decision to use deadly force are the factors which ultimately saved his life. His quick actions, dedication to duty and heroism reflect greatly upon himself, his troop and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.”
Mass received the humanitarianism award after an incident Aug. 7 involving a vehicle running off the roadway into water off State Highway 31 in Pittsburg County. When Mass arrived, he noticed a vehicle submerged in the waterway approximately 75 yards from the shoreline that appeared to be sinking.
Mass and a resident passing by entered the water and made their way to the vehicle and driver. The driver stated he had intended on killing himself. Mass defused the emotional driver and assisted him out of the vehicle and back to safety, Brown said.
“Trooper Sean Mass displayed great courage and professionalism in saving the life of another. His quick actions, dedication to duty and citizenship reflect great credit upon himself, his troop and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol,” Brown said.
In addition to the Trooper of the Year awards, nine were recognized with the Chief’s Award, and Department of Public Safety employees were recognized with several awards.
Those who received the Chief’s Award included Troopers George Hoyle, Herbert Perry, Matt Drummond, Jeremy Tolman, Rusty Callicoat and Joe Kimmons; Capts. Don Stockton and Paul Timmons; and Game Warden Chad Strang.
Troop A — which covers Cleveland, McClain, Oklahoma, Canadian, Logan, Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties — received the Distinguished Troop Award for their response to tornadoes affecting Shawnee, Moore and El Reno last spring.
Other award recipients included:
· Lori Swanson, The Paul Matthews Memorial Award for Community Service
· Kathy Harris, Exceptional Service Award
· Karen Gentry and Linda Phillips, Career Achievement Award
· Angela Finley-Todd, Administrative Professional of the Year Award
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