ALTON — Last week’s retirements of a longtime Alton Police Department captain and lieutenant set a series of five promotions in action, celebrated Tuesday at a badge-pinning ceremony.

The promotions also resulted in newly promoted Lt. Jarrett Ford becoming chief of detectives, and other lieutenants assuming different assignments.

“Usually only one or two promotions are created from a retirement,“ said APD Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons. “This is not unheard of, but it happens when high-end people leave or during an election year.”

Capt. Scott Waldrup and Lt. Al Adams both retired Jan. 2, making way for the promotions. The move-ups all followed Civil Service Commission eligibility lists for each rank.

The afternoon ceremony celebrating the promotions was held in the satellite courtroom at the Donald E. Sandidge Alton Law Enforcement Center, 1700 E. Broadway.

The room was packed with celebrating family members, current and retired police officers, Mayor Brant Walker, other APD and city staff, assistant Madison County State’s attorneys and Alton School Superintendent Mark Cappel and Assistant Superintendent Kristie Baumgartner, among others.

“Getting promoted and having family there is a big deal, usually their wives or mothers will pin on their badge,” Simmons said prior to the ceremony. As he introduced each officer, he mentioned their dates of hires, promotions, honors, professional involvements, personal anecdotes and notable attributes. He then presented each to the crowd with their new rank title.

He said all five of the men have been members of the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad.

APD Chaplain Marc Lane congratulated and thanked the officers, leading the opening and closing prayers. “We know it is because of your hand we are here today, thank you for the opportunity to serve this community, its businesses and families,” Lane prayed.

Walker said being in office for nearly four years has given him an understanding of what police do to keep the city safe. “It is a 24-hour job, nights and weekends, with sacrifices by families,” Walker said. “It brings home the gravity of how important your job is. You make my job easier. Congratulations on your promotions. Thank you for all the time you put in our city.”

Simmons first thanked the retired officers in the audience for training those now on the force before beginning the promotions.

The first promotion was that of Scott Golike, who moved up from lieutenant to captain, filling Waldrup’s vacancy. The captain is the second-highest officer in the department. Golike joined the department on Dec. 26, 1989, moving to lieutenant in 2003 and working as a detective for more than 15 years, including chief of detectives from 2009 to July 2015. Golike, a sniper on the specialized Tactical Response Team, has more than 50 letters of commendation, Simmons said.

“He is one of the most decorated officers this department has ever seen,” Simmons said, relating how he rode with Golike when Simmons had just started at APD in 1993. He said Golike jumped out of the police car and chased down an armed man on Belle Street. He praised Golike for shutting down the Vice Lords gang in the city in the 1990s, which had come from Chicago and was responsible for many shootings.

Ford’s promotion from sergeant was to the lieutenant position vacated by Golike. Ford said he has been a detective for about seven years; he has been a supervisor in the Detectives Bureau since June 2015.

“I just enjoy the fact that it has a huge impact on the community — the impact of the cases — it’s rewarding,” Ford said when a reporter asked why he likes detective work. He joined the department Jan. 31, 2005, rising to sergeant in 2013.

“He is a work-ethic machine, he is always available, always ready to help out,” Simmons said of Ford. “He is a high caliber guy every department wants. We are glad to have him.”

Next in line, Dustin Christner — hired in 2005 — moved up to sergeant, taking Ford’s former slot. Simmons said school officials were unhappy to hear he no longer would be the Alton Middle School’s school resource officer next school year because of the promotion. Christner, who was hired at APD in December 2009, is “always willing to share the load,” Simmons said. He said Christner will do a good job in training APD’s new officers.

Simmons said another unannounced officer will become the SRO next school year after undergoing training.

Regarding the lieutenant vacancy left by Adams’ retirement, Gary Cranmer moved to that slot from sergeant. Simmons said Cranmer, who joined the department in 1996, would be the administrative lieutenant in charge of Freedom of Information requests — which he has done — and jail superintendent.

Simmons said Cranmer has excellent interviewing skills in sessions with suspects that can go on hour after hour. “Gary is a friend of mine, like Scott (Golike), we worked a lot of homicides together,” Simmons said. “Gary is the man who keeps things together in this department. He always finds the positive” when someone needs lifting.

In the fifth promotion, Michael O’Neill moved up to Cranmer’s former sergeant slot, but he will be a detective-sergeant and assistant to the chief of detectives, Ford’s former role. O’Neill has been at APD since 2000 and trained 13 new officers, Simmons said.

He said O’Neill is a valued member of the Southern Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force. “What Michael O’Neill does is amazing to me,” Simmons said, in particular, getting child sex abusers to confess, a hard task.

O’Neill, a former school resource officer, also is a member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System and the Illinois Crisis Intervention Team.

After the promotions, Simmons gave Waldrup a plaque honoring his 28 years’ service to APD. Waldrup now is chief of the Mascoutah Police Department.

Adams received his plaque last week.

Regarding other personnel shifts among lieutenants, the most recent chief of detectives, Lt. David DeWall, moved to watch commander of the Patrol Division “B” shift, which Golike previously had supervised.

Related to Adams’ retirement, Lt. Seth Stinnett moved from Support Services commander to Patrol Division “D” shift, which Adams previously had supervised.

“We try to plug in who is best for each position,” Simmons said of the switches in responsibilities. “All of the lieutenants and future lieutenants met with me to determine what best suits the city and department.”

The retirements of Waldrup, Adams, and Sgt. Jason Weirich last year — plus resignation of Pfc. Adam Feldwerth — opened the door to new hires at APD. Simmons said two new officers, Clinton McNear and Aaron Porter, entered the Illinois State Police Training Academy on Tuesday. McNear is a former jailer at Alton City Jail.

Those two new hires bring APD’s roster to 57.

A third officer, who has training and experience and can go straight into field training, is undergoing required psychological testing this week. That man will join the force if he passes the exam, Simmons said.

Reach Linda N. Weller at 618-208-6450 or on Twitter @Linda N. Weller

Service honors fallen police officers

ALTON — Retired Illinois State Police Lt. Chris Tracy recalls the last day he saw Trooper Kyle Deatherage alive. On Nov. 26, 2012, Tracy was driving on Interstate 55 to a training session at the police academy in Springfield when he passed a trooper on the side of the highway looking for speeders. Tracy waved to him as he drove by.

Hours later, Tracy and fellow police officers returned to a horrific scene. A tractor-trailer struck and killed Deatherage, a 32-year-old father of two, while he was talking to a motorist he pulled over.

When Tracy arrived he scanned the area for Deatherage, who he trained as a Madison County Sheriff’s Department recruit, hoping the information on his death was wrong.

“All I saw were pieces of Kyle’s uniform strewn around on the ground,” Tracy said. “In all my career, I’ve never seen a police officer’s uniform in that condition.”

Tracy was the leader of the South Honor Guard, which coordinates funerals and services for deceased active and retired State Police personnel. He said Deatherage’s law enforcement comrades focused on helping his family cope with the tragedy.

“That will be emblazoned in their minds, their hearts, their souls, forever,” Tracy said.

After the visitation, Tracy recalled removing decorations from Deatherage’s carefully reassembled uniform and putting them in a bag for his family.

“I told Kyle I would see him later and to take it easy, and we had the watch from here,” Tracy said.

Tracy was months away from wrapping up a 25-year career in law enforcement when Trooper James Sauter was killed on March 29, 2013, after a tractor-trailer hit his vehicle on the Tri-State Tollway in the Chicago area.

Until those two incidents, Tracy had not dealt with deaths in the line of duty during his work for the honor guard.

“It was a defeat; it was a loss for police throughout the country,” he said. “Police officers are trained to win; police officers are trained to come home at all costs.”

Tracy said he took solace in the fact that both officers were Christians, who also are “wired to make it home.”

“For those of us who believe, we take solace in the fact that Kyle and James had a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said.

Tracy was among the speakers at the National Police Week Memorial Service Friday in the Alton Law Enforcement Center Courtroom. National Police Week, started by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 when he proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, is May 11-17 this year.

Alton Police Department Chaplain the Rev. Marc Lane, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, presented a wreath that will be on display at the police department until May 17. Lane said the Los Angeles Police Department’s motto, “to protect and to serve,” has a religious parallel.

“God called officers to stand in the gap for protection and to serve those in need,” he said. “God’s plan is the ultimate protection.”

Alton Mayor Brant Walker praised the police department’s crime reduction accomplishments since he took office a year ago. Walker read a proclamation for National Police Week and encouraged residents to recognize officers’ sacrifices.

“Our police department is absolutely outstanding,” Walker said.

Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons, who also took office last May, said he has been proud to serve Alton over the past year.

“Each day you put the safety and protection of others ahead of your own,” Simmons said. “It’s my hope we can return home safely each day as we stand on the thin blue line.”
 



ALTON - Police officers on Friday honored those who died while on duty, while the department chaplain honored police who continue to serve.

"We want to show our deepest gratitude for the sacrifices," said the Rev. Marcus Lane of Cornerstone Ministries of Alton. "We will never forget what you do for us."

Lane, the Alton Police Department chaplain, spoke at the third annual local observance of National Police Week. The nearly 20-minute event was held at the Donald E. Sandidge Alton Law Enforcement Center lobby, 1700 E. Broadway.

Police Chief David Hayes said President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 of every year as National Peace Officers Memorial Day in 1962, around which law enforcement holds a week of events in the Washington, D.C., area. Police departments throughout the United States commemorate the week in ceremonies.

"National Police Week is a collaborative effort of many organizations dedicated to honoring America's law enforcement community and remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community and its people," Hayes said. "Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have given their lives to protect their communities. On average, one police officer is killed every 53 hours, or 163 per year. There were 116 law enforcement officers killed in 2009, the lowest annual total since 1959, but last year we lost 167 officers."

Because of increasing violence aimed toward peace officers, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder set up a commission to investigate the assaults, Hayes said. The result was a nationwide training initiative called "Under 100," an effort to reduce police officer deaths to fewer than 100 in 2012. The new training model has three primary objectives: having officers wear seat belts and body armor, and to slow down when driving, he said.

Hayes said total U.S. police fatalities have dropped from 71 between Jan. 1 and May 11, 2011, to 40 from Jan. 1, 2012 to Friday, a 43 percent decrease. Of those, last year 33 were from gunfire, compared to 15 this year - a 55 percent drop; 21 were from traffic incidents in 2011, with 14 so far this year, a 33 percent decrease.

The national commemoration begins Sunday, with the 24th annual candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington. Next week, there will be a national peace officer memorial service at the U.S. Capitol, and the National Police Survival conference in nearby Alexandria, Va.

As in the previous two years, Lane brought a memorial wreath of red, white and blue flowers, all symbolizing a different aspect of police service. He also is a chaplain for Madison County Probation and Court Services.

Calvary Baptist Church founded and supports Cornerstone Ministries, a Christian family services organization that also has the help of numerous other churches in the area. Church members also attended the ceremony, and Calvary's men's quartet sang, "My Country 'Tis of Thee," and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Lane broke down the word "COPS" as though an acronym during his speech: "'C' represents those who care, people with compassion; 'O' is how orderly they are, these men and women, they keep everything in order; 'P' is purpose, or a calling to prepare; 'S' is their saving spirit. This profession is a calling, not a job."

He also tied in "COPS" with the New Testament story of Lazarus and Jesus in the Book of John.

"When our friends got in trouble, we respond," he said. "We call on others to help us."

He concluded the ceremony with a prayer asking God to protect the police officers, many of whom were in attendance.

Alton has not had a police officer die in the line of duty since 1937, when there were two killings. On July 22, 1937, officer Addis Miller was driving suspect Clyde Wagner in his patrol car, stopping at City Hall. Wagner pulled a gun from under the front seat and shot Miller, who fired back and wounded Wagner in the leg. Wagner escaped but was arrested later.

Nearly three months later, on Oct. 16, 1937, someone kidnapped officer August Mayford, shot him eight times and dumped his body near Edwardsville. Police never solved that killing.

Alton's first duty-related death happened 15 years after the officer, John Lewis, was shot several times Dec. 26, 1916, while chasing a wanted man. He died of the complications in 1931.

 

 

One Cry for Law Enforcement