LIMA — Five Lima citizens were honored by the Fraternal Order of Police Lima Lodge 21 during its Citizen Recognition Award ceremony Tuesday.
“We do it primarily because, honestly, we could not solve many of the crimes in our community without their involvement,” said Darrell Ball, Fraternal Order of Police Lima Lodge 21 vice president.
Ball said citizen involvement in criminal investigations is far too rare. Law enforcement officials in Lima would like more civilians to call police when they see illegal activities occurring in their community and to come forward after witnessing a crime. While officers don’t normally encourage citizens to get directly involved in fighting crime, the five individuals honored during the event did and they helped in the cases, Ball said.
Peggy Smith witnessed Lima Police patrol officer Tanner Engle, who nominated her for the award, struggling with a suspect, Ball said. When the suspect got the upper hand on the officer Smith distracted the suspect so Engle could gain the advantage again. The suspect tried to flee and Smith delayed him long enough for Engle to take him into custody.
Elizabeth M. Howard, Keith Hurlburt, Jr. and Keith Hurlburt, Sr. were nominated by Shawnee Township Police Department detective Donald Marik for their assistance in apprehending a suspect breaking into a vehicle in Shawnee Township. While fighting against the suspect, Howard sustained severe injuries leading to the suspect being charged with aggravated robbery and being sent to prison for six years.
Nacole Reser, of Lima, said she was delivering papers for The Lima News one morning in the summer when she noticed a couple of suspicious individuals, one dressed in black, carrying bolt cutters with a black backpack on, on Kildare Avenue and Union Street. Reser contact 9-1-1 and the dispatcher told her to continue with her job but keep them updated on the activities of the suspects as long as she could before police arrived.
“They looked back at me a couple of times to see what I was doing,” Reser said. “I was pulling in and out of the driveways on my route, so they didn’t notice me.”
Ball said people don’t notice people like delivery drivers, garbage men, yard janitors and other laborers in similar professions because they’re so used to seeing them doing their jobs. One suspect was arrested possessing stolen goods and drug paraphernalia.
“At least I got one criminal off the street,” Reser said.
Each civilian recognized received a free steak dinner and a certificate expressing the appreciation of the Fraternal Order of Police during the event Tuesday.
“It’s not a common occurrence,” Ball said of people assisting law enforcement. “But, when people are willing to help, it certainly makes our job easier.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.