San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Officer Candice Brinkkoeter receives the Police Medal of Honor from SMPD Chief Howard Williams.
The San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) held its annual Police Awards Ceremony on May 13, where the department awarded its highest honor.
Officer Candice Brinkkoeter won the Police Medal of Honor for her actions in rescuing an elderly man from a burning vehicle on April 10, 2008. After a two-vehicle collision on Interstate-35, Brinkkoeter crawled into the burning vehicle and pulled the man to safety. Immediately afterward, the car was totally engulfed in flames.
Brinkkoeter was supposed to be on light duty the day of the rescue, as she was pregnant with her first child. SMPD Chief Howard Williams said Brinkkoeter’s actions went above and beyond the call of duty that day.
The following awards were also given out at the same ceremony.
Life Saving Awards:
In January 2008, SMPD Corporal Tracy Frans used a fire extinguisher to rescue a man from a burning truck with gasoline leaking on the ground following a wreck. Frans smashed the window with the fire extinguisher and pulled the victim to safety.
SMPD Officer Sam Meyers, Assistant Fire Marshal/ Paramedic Will Schwall and Park Ranger/Paramedic Katie Fontenot rescued and performed CPR to save the life of an 18-year-old who suffered traumatic injuries after diving into shallow water at Rio Vista Falls on May 25, 2008. The man is recovering from brain and spinal injuries.
SMPD Sergeant Wade Parham, Corporal Scott Johnson, Corporal Kye Kennedy and Officer Dustin Slaughter investigated an apparent fatal accident on Interstate-35. The investigation led to the arrest of a man who staged the accident to cover up the beating death of an infant.
Distinguished Service Awards:
SMPD Corporal Dan Royston of the Criminal Investigations Division uncovered a human trafficking ring in July 2008. What began as a kidnapping investigation ended with the discovery of 25 illegal immigrants being held against their will until ransoms were paid for their releases. The case drew wide attention, involving Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and numerous local agencies.
Afterward, Royston was invited to join the Human Trafficking Task Force, which is helping the Texas Legislature draft new laws to combat human trafficking in Texas.
SMPD Detective Eric Spriegel and Scott Berta, Manager of Best Buy, helped break an identity theft and credit card theft ring from Mexico in 2008. Two suspects were arrested with 51 stolen credit cards and thousands of dollars in fraudulently purchased goods. Berta helped SMPD identify the actual owner of the stolen credit cards.
SMPD Officer Sandra Spriegel worked with a foreign student at Texas State who had been sexually assaulted. Spriegel’s investigation helped Texas State work with other victims and led to the eventual arrest of the suspect.
SMPD Officer Joyce Bender detained three suspects in an arson investigation, after a suspicious nighttime fire at a business. Bender later discovered the suspects were wanted in New Braunfels and San Antonio on other arson charges.
Bender was also recognized for saving the life of a woman who had fallen from a vehicle onto Interstate-35. Bender dragged the victim out of the way of high speed traffic.
SMPD Officer Duwayne Poorboy broke a drug operation at an apartment complex after responding to a loud party call in February 2008, and after working a traffic stop near the complex in March 2008. A drug dealer was arrested after his investigation.
SMPD Sergeant Bob Klett, who supervises the Community Services Division, was honored as the “Coban Guru” of the department. Klett assisted all SMPD officers with mobile computers seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Dr. Wayman Mullins, a professor at Texas State University, was recognized for his achievements in developing crisis negotiation programs and tactics for agencies across the nation. Dr. Mullins is a member of the Hays County Negotiations Team and has assisted with crisis negotiations in San Marcos and Hays County.
Crime Analyst Paul Buske, a retired sergeant from the San Antonio Police Department, was honored for creating a law enforcement information network, known to agencies simply as “the Buske Network.” The network has solved numerous crimes in Central Texas, including a big shoplifting case and an improper photography case in San Marcos.
Green Guy Recycling President Kyle Hahn and Manager Jeremy Kay have helped the SMPD not only in recycling, but also in several investigations involving stolen materials and a burglary at Green Guy Recycling.
Prime Outlets General Manager Tom Jenkins and Operations Manager Hector Trevino donated two Segways at the mall for SMPD officer use, and were honored for providing a training area for teaching officers the PIT maneuver to stop fleeing vehicles.
Eric Lee Ellison, a civilian, was honored for capturing a violent fleeing suspect who was resisting arrest by SMPD Officer Poorboy. Ellison struck the suspect with a baseball bat and assisted in his capture.
SMPD Assistant Chief Lisa Dvorak, Commander Penny Dunn, Commander Terry Nichols. Commander Chase Stapp, Sergeant Jehu Derrickson, Sergeant Martin Manzi, Corporal Kathy Anderson, Corporal Loy Locke, Fire Marshal Ken Bell, Assistant Fire Marshal Will Schwall, Assistant City Attorney Andy Quittner, Dr. Quint Thurman and Dr. Pete Blair were honored for creating a successful problem-solving program to reduce noise violations and nuisance conditions in a collaborative effort to offer short, medium and long-term solutions.
The San Marcos Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association was recognized for its support of SMPD in parking enforcement, special events, the Community House Watch Program, Blue Santa, employee appreciation programs and the warrant roundups.
The following were honored for establishing the nationally recognized “Achieving Community Together” (ACT) program with citizens, university students and officials:
Bell, Dvorak, Dunn, Officer Danny Arredondo, Texas State Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) Dr. Joanne Smith, former Texas State Student Body President Brett Baker, Texas State University Police Department Sergeant Daniel Benitez, Student Volunteer Connection member Lindsey Braun, Texas State Student Body President Chris Covo, Community Relations worker Ivana Flowers, Texas State Housing and Residence Life worker Ted Ingwersen, Texas State Student Affiars worker Michelle Lopez, Off Campus Student Services worker Ashlea Luker, Texas State Community Relations Director Kim Porterfield, Off Campus Student Services worker Kelly Stone and Julie Weyenberg of the VPSA Office.
Honorees for the Achieving Community Together (ACT) initiative.