University Police sergeant named Vigo County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
May 28, 2015
Less than a month after receiving the Indiana State University Public Safety Department's Medal of Valor for peacefully ending a standoff with an armed man, Sgt. Brenda Edington has been recognized with the prestigious W. Kevin Artz Memorial Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
The Terre Haute Breakfast Optimist Club presents the award annually in recognition of outstanding performance by a law enforcement officer who works in Vigo County. This marks the second time in three years, and the third time since 2008, that a university officer has received the award.
A 15-year department veteran, Edington was among officers who responded to University Apartments on Nov. 29 when a distraught man threatened suicide. As the department's designated negotiator in such situations, she began talking with the man, who was intoxicated and had locked himself inside his room, and University Police called in the Terre Haute Police Department's Emergency Response Team.
"When this specialized and highly trained unit is called in, it is normal procedure to yield to their process," University Police Chief Joe Newport wrote in nominating Edington for the Artz Award. "In this case though, it was evident that Brenda Edington had been successful at continuing the dialogue with the man that she had established early on. She must have paid attention during her training as she developed a solid rapport and trust with a very confused man. After three intense hours that included several moments where the man threatened to exit the room with a gun, he did come out and peacefully surrendered."
In his nomination letter to the Breakfast Optimists Newport cited what he called Edington's "exemplary display of patience and skill" and said she ‘is a well-respected officer with a reputation of being caring, steady and dependable."
Edington said the incident marked the first time she had called upon her training as a negotiator.
"I had no idea how I was doing and a couple of times I wanted to say, ‘Oh, gosh, I'm not doing anything so I'd better stop," she said. But Chief Newport came to the scene and when she made eye contact with him, "he nodded his head at me and (indicated) to continue. That gave me the confidence and the courage in myself to complete the mission that I was on."
Edington, the first female recipient of the Artz Award, thanked the Artz family and the Optimist Club for the recognition, Terre Haute officers who were called to the scene and university officers she was supervising the night of the incident.
"I didn't have to do anything that night other than negotiate," she said, praising Officers Josh Clifford and Jeff Bucklin for clearing other residents from the apartment building and securing the scene. "I didn't have to do anything that night other than negotiate. I forgot about everything else except that job."
The W. Kevin Artz Award memorializes a Vigo County sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty in 1987. In 2008, then-Cpl. Ian Loomis, now a captain in the University Police Department, and Officer David Glick, now retired, were recognized for saving the life of a professor who suffered a heart attack in his office. In 2013, Officer Chris Heleine received the award for pulling a student to safety after his car crashed into several parked cars and caught fire.
Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2015/Artz-Award-2015/i-7fPXNgx/0/3X/May%2028%2C%202015%20Artz%20Award%20photos%200199-3X.jpg - Sgt. Brenda Edington of the Indiana State University Department of Public Safety and University Police Chief Joe Newport pose with the W. Kevin Artz Law Enforcement of the Year Award, presented to Edington by the Terre Haute Breakfast Optimist Club May 28, 2015. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)
Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or firstname.lastname@example.org