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Optimist Club honors Herbert with law enforcement award

GREENSBURG Serving the community he loves is perhaps the greatest joy to come out of James Jamie Herbert s young-but-already-distinguished police career. Surrounded by his wife and youngest child, fellow members of the Indiana State Police and officers of the Greensburg Police Department and Decatur County Sheriff s Department, Herbert was honored for his work in taking impaired drivers and numerous other suspected criminals off the street. For the Iraq War veteran, his duties as a state trooper are about not only making his community a safer place, but also changing lives — for the better.

I always have something nice to say to everyone, whether I m taking them to jail or not, said Herbert. For me, it s more about helping people.

One of only a handful of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) on the ISP, Herbert has arrested more than 100 suspected impaired drivers since he joined the force in 2013, ISP Sgt. Bob Hedger said Thursday. Hedger and ISP Capt. Anthony Scott selected Herbert for the Greensburg Optimist Club s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award, a prestigious honor that, since 1985, has recognized local police officers, prosecuting attorneys and judges for their efforts in combating crime. The award is held in conjunction with National Police Week, which honors law enforcement personnel across the nation. The ceremony was held Thursday morning at the Decatur County Community Schools Administration Building and highlighted the burgeoning career of Herbert, who was lauded by his sergeant for his relentless drive to make the Tree City community and nearby places safer.

James has a unique ability, Hedger said of Herbert s self-motivation and dedication to his job. He basically likes to put bad guys away. He s out there getting criminals and making DUI arrests.

Herbert s patrols have resulted in 377 arrests and helped make him his squad s top performer in 2016, Hedger said. Herbert is also part of what Sheriff s Lt. Rob Duckworth called a pretty elite group. As a DRE, Herbert underwent 96 hours of intense training in approximately 2.5 weeks in order to be able to recognize intoxication by alcohol and various drugs.

It s a valuable skill that has helped keep impaired drivers off the street. There are only 14 DRE-trained state police officers, and only 156 in total in law enforcement agencies throughout the state, Duckworth noted. Herbert explained that the skills he has learned entail techniques beyond the standard field sobriety test, such as checking a person s blood pressure, pulse and temperature. This is particularly important in today s police work as Hedger and Duckworth indicated that drug intoxication is eclipsing alcohol as the main reason for impaired driving in the Hoosier State.

Herbert said marijuana use, for example, can hinder a person s ability to drive as much as, if not more than, alcohol. Coupled with his dedication to his duties, Herbert is an active member of his department in community affairs, volunteering his time to help with security at events such as the Indianapolis 500 and the Indiana State Fair.

He is committed to serving the community, Hedger said of the state trooper. He truly wants to make the community safer. Herbert, a 2006 graduate of South Decatur High School, joined the National Guard in 2007 and subsequently received his military training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. He was deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2009. He served for 15 months as an equipment engineer and received an Army commendation medal.

Herbert and his wife, Abby, live in Decatur County with their children, 8-year-old Emma and 3-month-old Maverick. Past honorees of the Optimist Club were in attendance as well Thursday, including retired Indiana State Police Trooper Hugh Chambers, retired former Greensburg Chief of Police Bill Meyerrose, ISP Capt. Anthony Scott, retired Decatur County Sheriff s Lt. Rick Underhill, Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen, Greensburg Police Lt. Dennis Blodgett and Greensburg Chief of Police Brendan Bridges. Chambers was the inaugural winner of the award.

Also in attendance from the Indiana State Police were Lt. Paul Anderson and Trooper Jim Ponsler. Representing the Greensburg Police Department were Capt. Mike McNealy, Det. Steve Barnes, Sgt. Wayne Davis, and Patrol Officers Devin Moore and John Albert.

Sheriff Allen thanked the Optimist Club for their efforts at honoring police each year.

Thanks for having us, he said. This really means a lot to all of us.

Winners of the Greensburg Optimist Club Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award

1985 – Hugh Chambers

1986 – Ed Schwendemann

1987 – Jon Oldham

1988 – Ed Lewis

1989 – Lester Gay

1990 – Robert Clark

1991 – Mike Riley

1992 – Larry Snyder

1993 – Dick Baldwin

1994 – Steve Delph

1995 – Keith Gay

1996 – Mark Bailey

1997 – Andrew Winzenread

1998 – Fred Huser

1999 – Darryl Templeton

2000 – Bruce Copple

2001 – John Westhafer

2002 – Bill Meyerrose

2003 – Darin Lucas

2004 – Anthony Scott

2005 – Rick Underhill

2006 – Greg Allen

2007 – Dennis Blodgett

2008 – Matt Haviland

2009 – Brian McCullough

2010 – William O. Smith

2011 – Pete Tressler

2012 – Stacey Chasteen

2013 – John Westhafer

2014 – Rob Goodfellow

2015 – Brendan Bridges

2016 – Chris Bridges

2017 – James Herbert

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