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December 13, 2013

Police honor Matt Terry during awards banquet

EDMOND — Edmond Police have honored Matt Terry, the detective who died unexpectedly several months ago, choosing him as the 2013 Officer of the Year.

The news was part of the annual Edmond Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association Officer Appreciation Banquet Thursday evening at the Oak Tree Country Club. Terry also posthumously received the 2013 Investigator of the Year award.

Terry, who was beloved by colleagues, family and friends in the community, died of natural causes on Oct. 2. It was the first time members of the Edmond Police Department had lost one of their own. He is survived by, among others, his wife, Kathy, and his daughter, Heather.

During the following days, members of the Edmond Police Department and the community showed their love and appreciation for the detective in various ways, including a funeral with full honors and a softball tournament benefiting the Terry family.

During the awards banquet, everyone in the room stood and applauded as Kathy Terry accepted the award on her husband’s behalf.

Speaking with easily discernible emotion, Terry referenced qualities that endeared Matt to so many, and thanked the members of the Edmond Police family for helping her family at a difficult time. She said Matt really loved his job and never dreaded going to work.

“Thank you again for all your support and this very special tribute,” Terry said.

Ricks said fellow officers vote for the Officer of the Year and they vote for anyone they want. Detective Greg Hunt nominated Terry for the award.

When Ricks presented the Investigator of the Year award, he described Terry as a detective who was diligent, sought to close cases and went the extra mile. During the year, Terry had eight cases result in state charges being filed, and several moving to the federal level, Ricks said.  

In a recent case, Terry connected with a father who had just lost his son, and worked in a way that made the father feel at ease when the detective asked questions and looked closer into the child’s death, Ricks said.

“It was a story of kindness and compassion that we may never have been able to know about except for the father reaching out to express his condolences in the death of our investigator Matt Terry,” Ricks said.

Kathy Terry and Bill and Jody Terry, Matt’s mother and father, accepted on Matt Terry’s behalf the Investigator of the Year award. In other action:

• Jailer Brantlee Olinger received the 2013 Civilian Employee of the Year Award;

• Jason Rigsby received the 2013 Patrol Officer of the Year award, presented for the first time; and

• C.J. Wise received the 2013 Supervisor of the Year award.

• Chad Brown was the 2013 Kiwanis Officer of the Year.

During his remarks, Ricks said, noting the agency’s continuing sorrow over the loss of one of their own, it has been a good year.

Ricks noted among other things the generosity of the citizens in providing the department with a new Public Safety Center, many promotions, the switch to 10-hour shifts, the addition of four new officers, the coming in-house academy for eight new hires, the installation of a new records management system and hiring a new bailiff.

Ricks said the city, one of the safest in the state and one of the best places for raising a family, where residents care for one another and stand up for one another, is experiencing exceptional growth. He credited the work of the men and women of the Police Department toward creating a safe city.

“Don’t ever take for granted what we have here in Edmond,” Ricks said. “It can get away from us unless we stay on top of it and we can continue to deliver the level of services that the people of this community demand and expect.”

After Chaplain Jon Cook gave the invocation and Aubrey King, chairperson of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, welcomed guests and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Waner spoke on behalf of the community.

“As a community we are indebted to our officers, our uniformed officers and our non-uniformed Police Department employees, who dedicate themselves to our city every single day,” Waner said.

During the banquet, officers were recognized who in 2013 received:

• The Lifesaving Award: Officer Trint Tripp, Officer Chad Brown, Officer Jon Cramer, Officer Jason Rigsby and Officer Kyle Cunningham;

• The Medal of Merit: Sgt. Chad Langley, Officer Nathan Fountain, Officer Neil Martin, Officer Mason Long and Officer Vincent Johnson.

• Those who reached various anniversaries with the department including 20 years of service: Sgt. Bill Gilbert and Officer Tony Hill; 25 years of service: Officer Bruce Leehan and Officer Paul Sinclair; and 30 years of service: Officer Rex Demoss; and

• Those who retired: Capt. Nicki Smith, now Animal Welfare supervisor.

Each year, the CPAAA raises funds for the banquet through a golf tournament. The funds also helped buy door prizes awarded during the banquet. Ricks thanked the event sponsors.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

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