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Home News-Telegram News Drug interdiction officers recognized by peers in region

Drug interdiction officers recognized by peers in region

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Three local law enforcement officers were recognized last week by their peers for their battle against narcotics and work on other “special” crimes in Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County at the 2009 Texas Narcotic Officers Association Conference in El Paso. One in particular was singled out for his work the past year in the local war against drugs, and a police detective’s daughter was awarded a scholarship, as well.

Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Special Crimes Unit Lt. Ron Plaxco, Sgt. Tony Crouse and Sgt. Harold McClure received recognition as the top unit in the North Region by Texas Narcotics Officers Association during the group’s annual training conference July 13-17 in El Paso.

Crouse was also singled out as TNOA North Region’s Narcotic Officer of the Year. The SCU investigator was nominated by Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk and Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams for his “productivity over the past year.”

“We are very pleased Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County SCU received the North Region Unit of the Year. We are very proud to receive the new award the first year it’s given,” Plaxco said. “We were not nominated for the state award, but we won region, which spans west past Fort Worth, south to Waco and across to Lufkin and the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders.”

Since its inception in 2006, Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County SCU’s stats include 450 defendants and several more cases, as some individuals have more than one case filed against them, according to Plaxco.

“I was really honored to actually be nominated by the sheriff and chief,” Crouse said. “It’s a very tedious job, but we all work together. It takes you away from your family, but I enjoy the job. It has a big impact on narcotics, which impacts our family.”

Regan Gilmore, daughter of Sulphur Springs Police Detective David Gilmore and the late Sally Gilmore, was selected by TNOA to receive a $2,000 scholarship to further her education.

While not presented an award, Sulphur Springs Police Sgt. Jason Ricketson, a canine handler and interdiction officer, was also noted to have been nominated for K9 Officer of the Year by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, SSPD and Winfield Police Department. A 25-year veteran of El Paso Police Department received the award.

Ricketson was lauded by fellow law officers for his teamwork and willingness to assist others as well as in sharing of knowledge of interdiction with both other officers.

In the five years Ricketson and K-9 Barry have worked together, they’ve had a big hand in many interdiction cases and taking millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs off the streets. Last year, Ricketson and Barry assisted in seizure of nearly 200 pounds of marijuana, and that was just on five DPS stops.

“It is this unselfishness that should not go without recognition. Often Ricketson is taken away from his own patrol duties to assist others,” officers wrote in the nomination letter. Those who submitted Ricketson’s name for recognition included Texas DPS Troopers Joseph Hogue, Charles Cannon, David Reynolds and Bruce Roberts; SSPD Lt. Cleve Williams; and Winfield PD Sgt. Charlie Walker, who was named 2009 TNOA Non-Narcotics Officer of the Year.

TNOA, formed in 1970, is composed of narcotics and drug enforcement, patrol and other officers from the five regions of Texas (north, west, east, south and central) as well as some officers from other states such as Oklahoma, Kansas and Oklahoma. Each region has a board, and the top officers from each region form the organization’s executive board.

“TNOA is primarily a training organization,” noted Plaxco, who currently is on the regional TNOA board and in the past has served in various offices both at the region and state level, including as TNOA president.

“We go to the conference and receive TCLEOSE [Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education] training hours, special training in narcotics and investigation. There are several topics covered. This is some of the best training for us,” he said, noting that each region also hosts three to four training days throughout the year from certified instructors for up to 8 hours of credit.

The officers generally receive as much as 20 hours of training in narcotics and related topics at the convention, which is also a networking opportunity. Because membership is not exclusive to Texas law enforcement officers, it also helps form connections in other states such as Kansas, California and Oklahoma, and in a few cases even other continents such as Sweden and Africa.





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