At this week's Gillette City Council Meeting, one of the many acts of valor by officers of the Gillette Police Department over the years was recognized. Corporal Tracy Overton was presented the Medal of Valor Award for his actions on June 1st, 2012.
Overton who has served for over two decades in local law enforcement and has been a Gillette Police Officer for 20 years, placed himself between an armed suicidal subject (who had made threats to shoot others) and a juvenile male. That effort to extricate the fourteen year old from the area to safety was given a standing ovation by a full city coucil chambers Tuesday night. Below are the details presented by Gillette Police Chief Jim Hloucal:
On June 1st, 2012 at midnight, a man called 911 and stated he intended to commit suicide. The man threatened that he would use the handgun he was armed with to shoot any police officers if they attempted to intervene.
After dispatch was able to identify the man and his probable location, officers responded to the area and Cpl. Tracy Overton responded to supervise and coordinate the law enforcement response. Cpl. Overton coordinated the establishment of a perimeter and assigned responsibilities to the officers on scene.
The man’s mother was contacted in an effort to verify his exact location. While this was occurring the man stated that he did not want his mother to come to the residence and that if she did he would escalate the situation, indicating that he would shoot her or the officers.
The mother ignored instructions not to go to the residence. She also drove through roadblocks and ignored officer’s commands to stop at a safe distance from the residence. Cpl. Overton recognized the risk the woman’s presence would likely escalate the situation and was able to coordinate officers to remove the woman. The woman, who had exited her vehicle, was safely escorted from the area to a safe location.
As this was occurring it was discovered that the woman brought her 14 year old son to the residence and that he was still located in the woman’s truck directly in front of the residence. Cpl. Overton again recognized the danger to the innocent juvenile who had been unnecessarily placed in harm’s way.
Cpl. Overton quickly arranged for cover and approached the truck to extricate the juvenile from the situation. As he approached the vehicle Cpl. Overton saw the man on the porch of the residence with a firearm in his hand. Cpl. Overton assessed the situation immediately, placed himself in the driver’s seat between the armed man and the juvenile, and drove the vehicle away to safety. While doing this the juvenile was described as being “rigid with fear”.
The incident was successfully resolved a short time later when dispatch negotiated the man’s surrender.
This was a highly dynamic, evolving, volatile and dangerous situation. The totality of the circumstances in this situation warrants the awarding of the Medal of Valor to Cpl. Tracy Overton for placing himself in imminent danger to ensure no harm came to an innocent bystander.