San Marcos Police Chief Howard E. Williams presented awards to officers and civilians for acts of heroism in 2008.
Police Medal of Honor:
- On April 10, 2008, Officer Candace Brinkkoeter crawled in a burning vehicle on Interstate 35 and pulled an injured, semi-conscious elderly man to safety just as the car became totally engulfed in flames. At the time, Brinkkoeter was pregnant with her first child and was supposed to be on light duty.
Life Saving Awards:
- In January 2008, Cpl. Tracy Frans used a fire extinguisher to rescue a man in 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.
- On May 25, 2008, 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 youth who suffered traumatic injuries after diving into shallow water at Rio Vista Falls. The young man suffered brain and spinal injuries—but thanks to their quick action and advanced training, he is recovering.
- Sgt. Wade Parham, Cpl. Scott Johnson, Cpl. Kye Kennedy and Officer Dustin Slaughter whose investigation following an apparent fatal accident on Interstate 35 led to the arrest of a man who staged the accident to cover up the beating death of an infant.
Distinguished Service Awards:
- Cpl. Dan Royston, of the Criminal Investigations Division, investigated a reported kidnapping in July 2008 and uncovered a human trafficking ring and 25 illegal aliens who were being held against their will until ransoms were paid for their release. The case drew wide attention and involved U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, IRS, ATF and numerous local agencies. 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.
- Det. Eric Spriegel and Scott Berta, manager of Best Buy, were recognized for helping break an identity theft and credit card theft ring from Mexico in July 2008. Two suspects were arrested with 51 stolen credit cards and thousands of dollars in goods fraudulently purchased. Berta helped SMPD identify the actual owners of the stolen cards.
- Officer Sandra Spriegel’s commitment to helping a sexual assault victim, a foreign student, led to the investigation of similar incidents, helping Texas State University work with the victims, and the eventual arrest of the suspect.
- Officer Joyce Bender detained three arson suspects after a suspicious nighttime fire at a business, discovering later that the suspects were also wanted for arson in New Braunfels and San Antonio. Bender was also cited for saving the life of a woman who fell from a vehicle and tumbled onto Interstate 35. Bender dragged her out of the high speed traffic.
- Officer Duwayne Poorboy broke a drug operation at an apartment complex after responding to a loud party call in February 2008 and in March 2008 working a traffic stop near the complex. Due to his diligence and work with the Narcotics Unit, a drug dealer was arrested.
- Sgt. Bob Klett who supervises the Community Services Division was honored as the “Coban Guru” of the department—assisting all San Marcos 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 national 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, 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 general manager and Jeremy Kay have helped the San Marcos Police 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 were honored for donating two Segways at the mall for San Marcos police and for providing a training area for teaching officers the PIT maneuver to stop fleeing vehicles.
- Eric Lee Ellison, a civilian, was honored for his assistance in capturing a fleeing suspect who resisted arrest by Officer Duwayne Poorboy. Ellison struck the violent suspect with a baseball bat and assisted in his capture.
- Assistant Chief Lisa Dvorak, Cmdr. Penny Dunn, Cmdr. Terry Nichols, Cmdr. Chase Stapp, Sgt. Jehu Derrickson, Sgt. Martin Manzi, Cpl. Kathy Anderson, Cpl. 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 their devoted support of SMPD in parking enforcement, at special events, the Community House Watch Program, Blue Santa, employee appreciation programs, and the warrant roundups.
- For establishing the “Achieving Community Together” (ACT) program with citizens and university students: Assistant Chief Lisa Dvorak, Cmdr. Penny Dunn, Officer Danny Arredondo, Fire Marshal Ken Bell, Texas State Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Joanne Smith, Associated Student Government president Brett Baker, Texas State University Police Sgt. Daniel Benitez, Student Volunteer Connection representative Lindsey Braun, student liaison to the city council Chris Covo, Texas State Community Relations representative Ivana Flowers, Housing and Residence Life representative Ted Ingwersen, LBJ Student Center representative Michelle Lopez, Off Campus Student Services representative Ashlea Luker, City Council member Kim Porterfield, Off Campus Student Services representative Kelly Stone and Julie Weyenberg, a representative of the vice president for student affairs’ office. ACT collaborates on a variety of community service projects, outreach and education and communication on community issues.