Joplin police officers recognized for life-saving efforts, service

Apr. 25—Six officers of the Joplin Police Department were recognized for lifesaving actions, and other officers received awards for exceptional service and length of service at an annual department banquet Tuesday night.

"Each year, we are proud to highlight the amazing work of our officers and staff from the Joplin Police Department," said Capt. William Davis. "While our employees do phenomenal work day in and day out, it is great to recognize specific situations and employees who have gone above and beyond. We want to congratulate all those who received awards and were recognized for their efforts in 2023."

Two officers were recipients of lifesaving awards because of their efforts to rescue a woman who was attempting suicide.

Officers Jeffery Ellis and Clay Goldsborough responded to a call to check the well-being of a woman. After entering her apartment they heard signs of distress and found the woman in a bedroom suspended by a homemade rope tied around her neck. Ellis lifted her body and Goldsborough cut the rope. Ellis called for emergency medical personnel and she was taken to an area hospital.

"Because of Officer Ellis's heroic act, this woman was saved from the brink of death. This act reflects greatly upon himself, the Joplin Police Department, and the city of Joplin," the award states.

Another award was presented to Officer Marcos Encarnacion. He responded to an accidental drug overdose. When he arrived, the victim fell unconscious and stopped breathing and the officer administered the overdose drug Narcan and called for emergency medical service. The man regained consciousness and starting breathing.

"Due to his quick thinking on administering Narcan, Officer Encarnacion saved the life of a citizen of Joplin that accidentally overdosed on his medication. If Officer Encarnacion did not act without hesitation, this subject could have lost his life," the award states.

Three officers, Sgt. Michael Gauss, Goldsborough and Officer Luke Lenhart were heralded for their response to a shooting.

They were conducting a directed patrol in the 500 block of Joplin Avenue when they heard a gunshot in the area. Officers were approached by several people who were running and screaming in the area of the gunshot. Lenhart was approached by a man staggering and holding another man who had an obvious gunshot wound. Both men refused to listen to officers' commands and continued walking, police reported.

Lenhart forced the subjects to stop so that he could begin lifesaving measures. He laid the victim down on the ground and began to work on him. The officers recognized that the victim had a sucking chest wound and that he needed immediate medical attention to save his life. They began removing his clothing and trying to apply chest seals, but a crowd were pushing and pulling on the officers as they tried to provide emergency assistance. The officers later described the scene as pure chaos.

Gauss summoned more officers by radio to assist in crowd control. When additional officers and emergency medical personnel arrived, the victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital. It was determined that he had a gunshot wound to a lung. He underwent surgery and ultimately survived.

"Thanks to the quick thinking and decisiveness of these officers, the victims life was saved," the awards given to the officers state.

Cpl. Michael Moore also was recognized for his lifesaving aid to a resident.

Moore responded to a call for a man who was suffering from a drug overdose. The man was reported to be unresponsive and not breathing. Moore determined the subject was not breathing and had no pulse and immediately provided CPR. The victim regained a pulse and started breathing again. When medical responders arrived, they administered NARCAN and the man became responsive.

"Due to Cpl. Moore's quick and decisive action, this person's life was saved," the award reports.

Officer of the Year

In other awards, Officer Dalton Kirkland was recognized as the officer of the year.

—Recognition as rookie of the year went to Officer John Rauch.

—Brian O'Dell was recognized as civilian employee of the year.

—Stephanie West was named dispatcher of the year.

—Taylor Huston received detention officer of the year award.

—Cpl. Josh Hanes was named supervisor of the year.

—Detective John Watkins was named detective of the year.

Those achieving milestones in their years of service were:

—One year: Officers Marcos Encarnacion, John Rauch, Donald Tobolski, Zachery Wal and Mason Wichman.

—Five years: Officers Ian Allard, Benjamin Eckels, and Cpl. Michael Moore.

—10 years: Officer Dalton Farmer.

—15 years: Officer Lacey Baxter and Sgt. Andrew Blair.

—20 years of service: Detective Chad Comer and Sgt. Jared Delzell.

Three were presented with good conduct awards: Officers Josh Cahoon, Farmer and Sgt. Blair.

Safe-driving awards went to Baxter, Farmer, Moore, Blair and Capt. Trevor Duncan.