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Official Publication of the Gastonia Police Department


Tim L. Adams, Chief of Police

Vol. XIII, Issue II, Spring/Summer 2010

Segways Join Fleet


If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve likely seen a Segway®. The Gastonia Police Department has two new Segways paid for by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Segways go up to 13 mph and run for about 10 hours on one electric charge. The vehicles will be used primarily on Main Avenue, during community events and along the greenway. The vehicles are black and white, have blue lights and a citation carrier. GPD Officers Mark Peeler, pictured on the left, and Christian Clinch recently completed training to operate the Segways and have used them in a number of community events since April. (Photo by Det. Eddie Green)

Chief’s Message Page 2

Cindy Isenhour Retires Page 3

GPD’s New Guns Page 3

New Chaplain & Promotions Page 6

Two Lives Saved by GPD Officers By Donna Lahser BLB Editor


hree Gastonia Police officers have received Lifesaving Medals for saving the lives of two suicidal subjects, Chief Tim Adams has announced. “We are pleased to be able to recognize outstanding achievements made by officers and employees through the Gastonia Police Department’s annual awards program,” Chief Adams said. “Saving someone’s life is a tremendous accomplishment and we’re proud of the officers who made that happen.” On Sept. 17, 2009, Officer

Nikki Armstrong was at the scene of a suicidal subject where a man had slit his wrist. There were Ofc. Armstrong knives and firearms in the room he was in, and Officer Armstrong talked with the man, trying to calm him down. Officer Armstrong talked the man into allowing her to put a bandage on his wound to stop the bleeding. She kept him calm and eventually talked him into going to the hospital voluntarily. On May 15, 2009, Officers David Wind and Casson Reynolds responded to a room at a local motel for a civil disturbance.

While investigating the incident, the offender, who was high on cocaine and a paranoid schizophrenic off his medications, ran Ofc. Wind out of the room and tried to commit suicide by jumping over the second floor balcony. Officer Wind took prompt action Ofc. Reynolds by grabbing the offender before the man jumped over the railing to the public vehicular area. Officer Reynolds (Please see Awards, page 5)

The Blue Light Bulletin

Spring/Summer 2010

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Greetings From The Chief Staying Positive, Working Together


t’s hard to believe we the reason it is so great is are half way through because of the dedicated this year. The first and caring employees that decade of the 21st century make up our organization. passed quickly, and this This year, I have year is proving to be no witnessed so many kind different. The same holds acts of service that never true for many things in cease to amaze me. From life such as our careers. It providing a Christmas to seems only yesterday I a needy family to helping was the young rookie at a stranded traveler on the the department. Now, 28 interstate, our employees plus years later, I am go above and beyond the almost the senior person call of duty on a regular here and nearing the end Left to right, David Dover, Freddie Hurt and David basis. Whitlock work on the Habitat home built in the of my career. For the past several Parkdale neighborhood in May. More information and Time is something years, we have tried to photos are on page 5. (Photo by Donna Lahser) none of us can control. We recognize our employees serving others was the two Habitat can, however, control how we and their families by having a houses that were just completed. choose to take advantage of the family day for everyone to enjoy. This project not only helped the time we have been allotted. I Limited city funding had families that needed a good home, would suggest that each of us threatened to discontinue the event concentrate on the important things it was a huge benefit to the this year until the Gastonia Police Parkdale neighborhood. One in our lives and don’t take them Foundation stepped in to provide for granted. Although our jobs and important observation I made was the needed funding. The event was the bond that was formed between held at Karyae Park on Linwood careers are not the most important all who participated including things in most of our lives, they do Road and we had one of the best employees from the sheriff’s take up the vast majority of our turnouts yet. Many thanks to the office, fire department and many waking hours. foundation and all who attended to other city departments. Working It is very easy to allow the make the event such a great together for one common goal negative aspects of our jobs, even success. builds memories that will never be things beyond our control, to I am very proud to be the chief forgotten and provide each distract us from enjoying our of such a great group of employees employee with a great sense of careers. We should remember the and sincerely thank each of you for satisfaction for service to the reason we became police officers the hard work you do to make in the first place and keep working community. I would like to Gastonia a better place. personally thank everyone that for the good of the public we participated in this project and serve. It is out of this desire to serve others that brings us the most challenge others to get involved in the next one. satisfaction. I am very proud to be part of One great example of doing Tim L. Adams such a great police department and good things in our community and Chief of Police

The Blue Light Bulletin

Spring/Summer 2010

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Capt. Cindy Isenhour Retires


apt. Cindy Isenhour received many gifts and hugs during her retirement ceremony on March 31, and thanked everyone who helped along the way. In her 25-year career with GPD she became the department’s first female captain and major, and also served as commander of the Hostage Negotiators Team. She encountered unwelcoming attitudes toward women early in her law enforcement career, including a professor who told her women should not be hostage negotiators (she later told him she was the team commander), and a chief who told her women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. “Things have changed and Chief Adams was never that way,” she said after receiving a

retirement plaque. Other gifts included a retirement Chief Adams presents a retirement plaque to Capt. Isenhour, above. On left, husband Jeff and their sons certificate from share how proud they are of her accomplishments. Assistant City (Photos by Det. Michael Schwartz) Manager Larry list of feats and firsts, she said Wood, a key to the City from she’s most proud of her sons. She Councilman John Howren, praise thanked her father for his support from Sheriff Alan Cloninger, and and her mother, who has passed, flowers, praise and hugs from her for taking care of the kids when husband, Jeff, and two sons, Beau she was called in to work in the and Jason, who are also police middle of the night. Her retirement officers. Detectives and members plans include a trip to the Cayman of the HNT also gathered to wish Islands, spending more time with her well. family, and more time at the beach. Even with Capt. Isenhour’s long

New Guns for GPD


he Gastonia Police Department is changing its standard issue weapon. The H&K USP .45-caliber handgun is being replaced by the Smith & New Smith & Wesson Wesson M&P .45-caliber gun. “The H&Ks are 10 years old and showing signs of wear,” said Sgt. Paul Smith. “Springs and magazines get worn out.” In 2009, all GPD officers were

invited to test and evaluate a number of possible replacement weapons. “We had an overwhelming response to the Smiths due to the interchangeable grips, which come in small, medium and large sizes, and it was the best cost deal,” Sgt. Smith said. The new guns are being phased in during the department’s 2010 In-Service training. Forty-five officers got the new guns in May and all the department’s 180 officers will be carrying the new guns by the end of October.

The Blue Light Bulletin Staff Executive Editor Chief Tim Adams Editor Donna C. Lahser Staff Writers/Contributors Gordon Cobb, Steve Norris, Mike Lari, E.G. Starling, Sherry Dunaway, David Morton, Chuck Lifford, Teri Mullinax, Jonas Hansen, Robert Helton, Patrick Daley, Mike Schwartz, Nancy Capistran, Eddie Green, Jamin Brackett, Eddie Lovingood

The Blue Light Bulletin

Spring/Summer 2010

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Leadership Gaston’s Lessons By Capt. Rob Helton BLB Writer


signed up for Leadership Gaston with the goal of networking and developing some new contacts. To my surprise, I ended up learning a lot about the community that I serve and formed not only some new relationships but also some new friends. Formed in 1979, Leadership Gaston is a program to develop the leaders of tomorrow. Since its inception, the program’s intent has been developing and enhancing volunteer community leadership. Leadership Gaston was divided up into six sessions over a six month period. It consisted of sessions on topics such as Politics and Government, Gaston County History, Education, Health Care, and Economy. We started our sessions with a team building day to get to know each other and to learn a little about ourselves. Members of the

Walk Against Domestic Violence The Shelter of Gaston County received $35,000 as a result of Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence held April 27 at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. Three other non-profits fighting domestic violence in the region were also beneficiaries of the event which was rained out. Members of GPD’s team, left to right, were Rob Helton, Julie Dellinger, Janet Griffin, Donna Lahser, Sherry Dunaway, Amanda Neese, and Gene Weaver. (Photo by Pam Peacock)

YMCA led us through some team building exercises and we quickly got to know each other during a ropes course. Mrs. Jennifer Davis led a session that afternoon on leadership and we all completed work place personality profiles to identify what strengths and weaknesses Capt. Helton we graduates from possessed. Leadership Gaston Being originally from Gastonia, I was surprised at how much I learned about the history of Gastonia from Mrs. Lucy Penegar on our History Day. We traveled to the old Loray Mill site and she gave a passionate account of what took place during the labor union conflict that led to the death of our police chief in 1929, Chief O.F. Aderholt.

On our Health Day, we visited Holy Angels and were all so moved by the challenges that the residents there faced and by the loving care that was being administered. Upon leaving, we all agreed that we would like to do something to help which led to a fundraising effort through the Angel Bowl. I cannot express how rewarding it was for our group to present Holy Angels with a check at our graduation for $13,589 that was raised through the generous donations of individuals in our community during these tough economic times. As a graduate of Leadership Gaston, I left with what I was looking for and much more. I left with a new appreciation for the problems we face and a new network of friends to work with through these challenges and opportunities. We have much to be proud of in Gaston County and I hope that the Lord will guide and direct me as I take on new leadership roles in Gastonia.

The Blue Light Bulletin

Spring/Summer 2010

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GPD & Partners Build Habitat Homes


uring May GPD partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and the Gastonia Fire Department to build Habitat for Humanity’s 20th Anniversary house and complete Habitat’s first full renovation of the house next door. The two builds honor Johan Newcombe and Becky Carter who were pioneers in establishing the local Habitat affiliate. The groundbreaking for the new house was May 2. There were 10 GPD volunteers, 8 GFD volunteers, 3 GCSO volunteers, and many others at

various times. Female employees of the departments volunteered on site May 5th as part of Habitat International’s Women Build Week. A dedication ceremony for both homes was held May 23. Margaret Leach and her daughter Imani are the homeowners of the 20th Anniversary House and Robert and Amy Thomas are owners of the 20th Anniversary Renovation. Hanging vinyl siding in the upper left photo are, top to bottom, Janet Griffin, Rachel Hamilton and Michelle Smith. The renovation house is pictured on the bottom far left. A refrigerator is being delivered to the newly built home pictured left. More Habitat photos are online at (Photos by Det. Michael Schwartz and Sgt. Jamin Brackett)

Exceptional Duty & Other Awards (Awards, continued from page 1) then assisted Officer Wind by getting the man to the ground and securing him while the man continued to try to escape so he could jump over the railing. Other recipients in the department’s 2010 awards program include: • Exceptional Duty awards to Craig Singer for leading the department in DWI arrests; Nancy

Capistran for Gang of One efforts; and Matt Phillips for crime analyst services. • Chief’s Achievement award to Stephanie Welch for off-duty employment administration. • Educational awards – Master’s Degree: Jonathan Hallman, Nancy Capistran, Freddie Hurt, Casson Reynolds and Laura Biggerstaff. Bachelor’s Degree: J.P. Etters and R.D. Gantt. Intermediate Certificate: J.P. Etters, M.S. Willis

and R.D. Gantt. • Officer of the Year awards to Sgt. Mike Smith for coordination of in-kind police services for numerous community events; and Craig Singer for DWI arrests. • Commendation certificates – David Lingafelt, J.R. Smith and Chris Baxter for being second, third and fourth, respectively, in the number of DWI arrests in 2009; Jeff Bryson for policy manual updates; and E.K. Anthony for a K9 track.

The Blue Light Bulletin

Spring/Summer 2010

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New GPD Chaplain John Schrock


new volunteer, John Schrock, has joined our GPD chaplains. John, 29, has been a chaplain with GPD since February 2010 and serves as pastor of the Parkdale Baptist Church, 405 Sherman Street, Gastonia. Chaplain John was born Schrock and raised in Indiana and always wanted to be a police officer. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and suffered a shoulder injury so becoming a police officer was put on the back burner. He was called into the ministry and in 2006 he married, moved and started a ministry. His

wife is Elizabeth and they have three children: Stephen, 3, Hannah, 22 months and Abigail, 9 months. They are expecting a fourth child, due in December. John has training in counseling through the military, Ambassador Baptist College and Indiana Baptist College. His training includes abuse counseling, and anger and stress management. He is the Piedmont Chapter President with the Institute for Church Safety and Risk Management. In addition, he’s one class away from obtaining an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. John believes that truth flows through a relationship, and true relationships are based on honesty

and integrity, and not the facades we have due to roles we play and hats we wear such as being a police officer, or being a husband and father or wife and mother. “Our values – truth, honor and integrity – are like marbles that flow in and out of our belly buttons, and you have to guard your marbles,” he said when asked about what message he’d like to provide to employees through this article. “It is important to be yourself and recognize that what you do is not who you are. Your values are who you are. People can criticize or attack me for the roles I play, but that is not an attack on who I am.” John can be reached via cell phone at (704) 974-2577.

GPD Tidbits Roper, Howard and Hawkins Promoted


astonia Police Sgt. Don Roper has been promoted to captain, and Officer Eric Capt. Roper Howard has been promoted to sergeant, with both promotions effective April 1. “Together they have 36 years of experience with the Gastonia Police Department, and each are well qualified for their new positions,” Chief Adams said. Capt. Roper, 43, joined the department in August 1987 and has served in Patrol, Detectives, the Identification Bureau, and most recently the Vice & Narcotics Bureau. He was promoted to

sergeant on Jan. 31, 1998, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, a master’s degree in Public Sgt. Howard Administration, and the state’s advanced law enforcement certificate. Sgt. Howard, 36, joined the department in June 1997, has served in Patrol, and currently serves with the Street Crimes Unit. He is a seven-year member of the Sniper Team, and holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice as well as the advanced law enforcement certificate. Capt. Roper and Sgt. Howard are assigned to the West District.

***Detective Jeff Hawkins was promoted to sergeant effective on Jan. 1. “Detective Sgt. Hawkins Hawkins is a 26 year veteran officer who is very deserving of this promotion,” said Chief Adams. Detective Hawkins, 46, joined the GPD in June 1983 and has served in Patrol, Detectives, Juvenile Investigations/ Missing Persons, and in the Office of Professional Standards prior to his current assignment to the East District. (Please see GPD Tidbits, page 7)

The Blue Light Bulletin

GPD Tidbits,

Sgt. Bess

***Sgt. Tracy Bess and Sgt. Rodney Aldridge have been selected as the new Police Training Officer sergeants. New PTOs are Chris Baxter, Casson Reynolds, Scott McClure, Marty Oates and Bryce Carr.

***Officer Adam Wilson has been Sgt. Aldridge selected for a SWAT entry position and Officer Brooks Luckadoo has been selected for a SWAT sniper position. ***Sgt. Mark Lanier retired Jan. 1 with 29 years of service at the GPD. He began work as a Police Cadet on the Baker Team in 1981 Sgt. Lanier and worked there while he attended recruit training in 1982. Mark has served as a patrolman, patrol sergeant, a temporary traffic sergeant, in Crime Prevention, and was assigned to Training/Range Master upon his retirement. ***Det. Tony Wilson retired in January after 30 years with GPD. Tony served in Patrol, Vice & Narcotics, and was Det. Wilson a SWAT Team member, Field Training Officer

Spring/Summer 2010

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continued from page 6 and Breathalyzer Operator. His most recent assignment was as a white collar crimes investigator in the Detectives Bureau. He served as a police instructor, a sworn U.S. Marshal, and a member of the Arson Task Force and the Electronic Crimes Task Force.

District; Pat Daley to the P.A.R.C. Unit; Amy Hawkins to Crime Prevention; Anthony Borja to I.D.; Randy Gantt, Clay Anthony and Craig Singer to the Street Crimes Unit. ***Newly hired police officers: Jonathan Scher (11/2), Clint Bridges (11/23), Warren Roberts (11/23), Brittany Shetley (12/7), Joshua Biddix (1/11), Jonathan Manus (1/25), Joseph Costner (2/1), Robin Lockwood-Cassel (2/1), Brandon McConnell (2/1), Jason Sarratt (2/1), Brandon Hovis (2/9). Other new employees: Crystal Ray, PIRT (4/26), Howard Franklin, part-time range attendant (11/23), and Jonathan Schrock, chaplain (2/1).

***Patrol Officer Bobby Duncan has retired after 22 years with the GPD including service in Patrol, Teleservices, D.A.R.E. (Drug Ofc. Duncan Abuse Resistance Education), the Community Policing Unit, the Tactical Team and Detectives. Officer Duncan also has served as a shift sniper and is the longest serving member of the GPD Dive ***Chaplain Kimberly Morton has Team. He is a Master Diver and a new job starting June 1 as the holds the North Carolina Justice development director for a Academy’s Public Safety Diver ministry in the Durham area. Certificate, which involved completing 500 program 2010 In-Service hours. Officer Duncan’s Training Topics retirement plans include raising cattle on a 20-acre • Legal Updates farm in Missouri. • Juvenile Minority Sensitivity Training: Race Matters ***Transfers: Capt. Robert • Career Survival Helton to the Criminal • Civil Liabilities Investigations Division; Sgt. • Mental Illness: Suicide by Cop Vic Yager to Vice and • Bloodborne Pathogens Narcotics; Sgt. Gary Johnson • Hazardous Materials to the Central District’s “C” • Pursuit Driving rotation; Sgt. Tracy Bess to • Subject Control Techniques: Central District’s “A” Ground Defense Options rotation; Sgt. Rodney • Physical Awareness Aldridge to East District’s • Property and Evidence Procedures “D” rotation; Nancy • Firearms: Pistol Transition Capistran to the Central

2010 Torch Run Gastonia Police and other law enforcement officers in Gaston County ran 14 miles along Franklin Boulevard on May 20th as part of the NC Law Enforcement Torch Run. This year marked the 24th year of the event which has raised millions for Special Olympics North Carolina. More information can be found online at Anyone interested in purchasing a Torch Run T-shirt or hat may call the GPD Front Desk at (704) 866-6702. (Photo by Det. Anthony Borja)

Gastonia Police Department Office of Public Information P.O. Box 1748 Gastonia, NC 28053


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