News Release

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Trooper Shaun Little
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 9, Pikeville
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Four Civilian Employees Of Pikeville State Police Post Receive Awards

Date of News Release: 10/12/2007

An image of (Left to right)  Christy Runyon, Mary Lafferty Misty Shepherd and Melinda Thompson, telecommunicators  and Driver Testing Administrative at Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville, received Police Communications Support Awards in Lexington on Oct. 11, click here to enlarge(FRANKFORT, KY) - Four civilian employees assigned to Kentucky State Police Post 9 in Pikeville and Drivers Testing received awards during a ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington on Oct. 11.

Mary Lafferty, Drivers Testing Branch received the Driver Testing Administrative Support Award and Telecommunicators Christy Runyon, Misty Shepherd and Melinda Thompson received Police Communications Support Awards from B/G Norman Arflack, secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and KSP Commissioner Jack Adams.

"As veteran KSP telecommunicators, these three individuals have experienced the everyday stress that is part of a job that often deals with emergency response to potential life-threatening situations. However, nothing could have prepared them for the events they faced in rapid succession in December of last year," said Commissioner Adams.

On December 19, 2006, all three were on duty when Trooper Jonathan Leonard was killed in a motor vehicle crash in Pike County. They then began a difficult task that none of them had ever faced: contacting all Post 9 personnel to advise them of Trooper Leonard's death.

Throughout the incident, they continued their job performance by processing 324 phone calls in the first two hours of the incident before they were relieved.

Six days later, on Dec. 25, they were faced with the death of another Post 9 trooper, Det. Joey Howard, who suffered a heart attack. Once again, they had to notify all Post 9 personnel of the tragic news. During the first two hours of this incident, they processed 139 calls before they were relieved.

The very next day, December 26, they were advised that a Post 9 trooper had been struck by a passenger car in Floyd County while taking photos of an accident scene. The emotional trauma continued as these same three dispatchers again notified Post 9 personnel about the injured trooper while processing 243 calls in the first two hours of the incident.

"In less than eight days, these three extraordinary dispatchers dealt with the deaths of two troopers and an injury to one," says Capt. Leslie Gannon, commander of Post 9. "They performed their duties with the highest regard for their fellow troopers and their families as well as their profession and the agency. At no time did they fall short of their duties or give up. They experienced first-hand the emotional stress of losing not only co-workers, but close friends and family members. Their honor, commitment and even courage during these difficult and trying times have distinguished them among their peers and in their field. They not only did their duties during this time, but they did them very well."

Runyon is a resident of Pikeville and a native of Varney. She is a 1995 graduate of Pike Central High School. She is the daughter of Avory and Gayle Runyon of Varney, Ky.

Shepherd is a native and resident of Hueysville. She is a 1995 graduate of Allen Central High School in Floyd County. She is the daughter of Earl and Retha Shepherd of Hueysville, Ky.

Thompson is a resident of Prestonsburg. She is a 1998 graduate of Johnson Central High School. She is the daughter of Escom and Marcia Thompson of Lowmansville, Ky.

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