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Six OPD graduates sworn in during ceremony

The six graduates of the 14th Session of the Odessa Police Department s Police Academy appeared relatively small in number but they all drew loud and hearty cheers from a phalanx of loved ones Thursday as the new officers were sworn in during an upbeat ceremony at the MCM Elegante Hotel.

Odessa s newly minted finest were lauded for having completed the 24-week training session, which new OPD Chief Mike Gerke noted is not for the faint of heart. It was learned during the ceremony that one graduate continued with the training despite his dislocated elbow while another almost knocked an instructor out because he didn t realize the instructor was tapping out during training.

The ceremony, which was Gerke s first as the new police chief, was highlighted by Gerke s reminder during opening remarks that while the life of a police officer is not an easy one, the OPD s newest officers stand to make many friends in the department. But Gerke urged the graduates to go out and make new connections, and to find friends outside of the department.

This is a very exciting time for the Odessa Police Department, Gerke said. There were initially seven people who signed up for the 14th Session but one dropped out. Having a small number of recruits sign up for the OPD s Police Academy is nothing new as the number also tends to fluctuate from one session to the next. The OPD s next session is slated to begin July 10, OPD Capt. Jerry Harvell said.

The six graduates of the program now bring the number of vacancies in the OPD to the low 20s, Gerke said.

I am just excited we got six more officers in the streets, Gerke said. Excited was how 44-year-old New Orleans native Glenda Lomax felt the moment she realized her long sought-after dream of becoming a blue knight. It is something Lomaz said she always wanted to do since the days she worked as a correctional officer in Lamesa and a security officer in Maryland. Lomax, who is the sole woman among the six graduates, and the oldest, earned an associate s degree in accounting during her long journey to becoming a police officer.

God brought me here, and He led me to this career to protect and serve, Lomax said.

While getting acclimated to the Odessa community, 22-year-old Tyler Silverthorn, who was born in Michigan but raised in Watertown, N.Y., said he is looking forward to starting his law enforcement in earnest.

I m getting used to different kinds of heat, Silverthorn said. I just want to be a good officer and to do good things.

Marco Antonio Barreno Jr. is a 34-year-old native of Pecos and had served 14 years in the United States Air Force. Not only was Barreno praised for his military service, but he was noted for having served five tours overseas, which consisted of two tours in Afghanistan, one tour in Qatar, one tour in Korea and a final tour in England, he said.

The discipline and the structure, Barreno said when asked what drew him to law enforcement. After serving his country for as long as he did, Barreno said he wanted to do the same for the community.

Local airport security top of mind following Flint attack

Local Airport Security Top Of Mind Following Flint Attack

“Flip-Flow” doors at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL3) – The Kalamazoo County Sheriff s Office says it’s paying close attention to what happened in the attack on an officer at Flint s Bishop International Airport. Undersheriff Paul Matyas said deputies will be ready to make any necessary changes to the security at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.

“You’ve got to have security at a location like this. These are soft targets, said Matyas. “Since the 9-11 incident, many years ago, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department has had a detail at the Kalamazoo airport.”

County deputies patrol the grounds and tower, as well as making normal rounds through the inside of the airport. For Matyas, it s important to stay visible.

“We put a patrol car right in front, said Matyas. There’s no doubt there are sheriff’s deputies at the airport on duty.”

“They’re always doing the perimeter checks, said Anton Bjorkman, Airport Assistant Director of Operations and Maintenance. They always have a bit of presence here on sight.”

The airport also has technology that can help prevent an emergency, or contain one, if something were to happen. They re called Flip-Flow doors, and they control movement through the building.

“The only comments ever we get on it are, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before,’ said Bjorkman. Which, you know, is kind of a cool thing.”

The doors are only in one spot: the path that leads from the boarding zone back to the public entrance. The doors open on the boarding side, allow one person to enter, then close. From there the door on the opposite side will open and allow people to exit.

“They’re unique to our airport. Not a lot of other airports have these type of doors, said Bjorkman. “It gives you audio direction while you’re going through them. Please stop. Please wait here. Door open. Things like that.”

The purpose of the doors is to control the flow of traffic, but they also prevent a threat from getting to the boarding area without pushing through multiple TSA guards.

“It has several layers of protection against letting people back into the sterile area, said Bjorkman. “We’re very confident in the set up that we have for our Flip-Flow doors.”

For passengers trying to meet their loved ones, the doors may slow you down, like they did for Jason Bolhuis who visits his family in Michigan every year.

“From someone who travels to many different airports, it was a nuisance, said Bolhuis. But, he understands why they are in place. “I can completely understand the security measure, and why that would be something they’d want to install, said Bolhuis. “I think having a secure airport is always important. You don’t want people getting into your airport with weapons or anything from there. And, you don’t want to be attacked. For the staff, slower is fine, especially if that means a safer airport.

“We don’t take security any less seriously than the larger airports, or even the smaller airports, said Bjorkman. “It is a topic in every one of our meetings. It is something that is discussed daily here. It’s never something we take lightly.”

Flint airport stabbing suspect tried to buy gun in Mt. Clemens before attack

Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before AttackFlint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before Attack

DETROIT (WJBK) – Amor Ftouhi, the Canadian accused of stabbing an airport security officer in Flint, tried to buy a gun at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens shortly after arriving in the U.S. on Friday, FOX 2 has learned.

The FBI said that Ftouhi entered the country legally last week through Lake Champlain in Upstate New York. The Quebec resident then made his way to Michigan, where FOX 2 learned he visited the Gibraltar Trade Center and tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun.

Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi[1]

The Gibralter Trade Center is a massive indoor marketplace where guns and knives are among the many items for sale by vendors who rent space. The last show was this weekend and it’s not clear whether Ftouhi visited the trade center on Saturday or Sunday. He reportedly told the FBI that after his attempt to buy a gun failed he bought the knife he used to stab Lt. Jeff Neville at Bishop International Airport in Flint on Wednesday morning. During a press conference on Thursday, the FBI confirmed that Ftouhi tried to buy a gun in the U.S. but would not say where he tried to purchase the weapon.

Ftouhi was rejected early in the process because he is not a U.S. citizen. FBI agent Thomas Sondgeroth wrote in a criminal complaint filed against Ftouhi in federal court that Ftouhi used an “Amazon Jungle Survival Knife” to stab Neville.

Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack[2]

After interviewing a law enforcement officer who witnessed the attack and an FBI agent who reviewed surveillance video, Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi entered the airport around 8:50 a.m. carrying two bags, went to a second-floor restaurant around 9:10 a.m., left the restaurant about 30 minutes later and entered a restroom, where he left his bags. Less than a minute later, he emerged yelling “Allahu Akbar,” and stabbing Neville, Sondgeroth’s report said. Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi “continued to yell ‘Allah’ several times. He further exclaimed something similar to ‘you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.’ “

Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill[3]

After officers subdued Ftouhi, he asked them why they did not kill him.

Neville survived the attack and Ftouhi was charged with violence at an international airport. He is in federal custody and faces a detention hearing Wednesday.

Contact M.L. Elrick at [4] or 248-552-5261.


  1. ^ Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi (
  2. ^ Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack (
  3. ^ Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill (
  4. ^