Chief thanks Jones, Halstead for assistance

Level Plains Police Chief Keith Gray, left, recognizes Level Plains City citizens James C. Jones, center, and Todd Halstead for their assistance during an Aug. 13 incident that led to a drug-related arrest. Behind Gray is Level Plains Police Sgt. Marcus Alexander. Seated are Level Plains City Council members Leeanne Mohler and James Bullinger.

Two citizens who came to the assistance of the Level Plains Police Chief as he struggled with a “combative and belligerent” suspect were honored at the Level Plains City Council meeting Aug. 18.

James C. Jones and Todd Halstead were awarded Certificates of Appreciation by Level Plains Police Chief Keith Gray.

Gray also recognized Daleville Police Investigators Thomas Mason and Noah Suiter for their assistance in connection with the Aug. 13 incident that resulted in a drug related arrest.

Gray told the council that the incident occurred while he was en route to assist Level Plains Police Sgt. Marcus Alexander with a funeral escort.

Gray said that as he drove past the car wash on Joe Bruer Road he noticed “a suspicious vehicle parked on the west end of the car wash.”

Gray said as he approached the vehicle, the driver saw him and began moving quickly inside the vehicle as if to hide something.

Gray said that he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and called for backup. “There is typically only one Level Plains officer on duty but thank God this was not the case on this day,” he said.

Gray said he was able to handcuff the suspect, however, the suspect resisted arrest when the chief attempted to place him inside of the police vehicle. “At that moment, I was alone and struggling with a combative individual,” he said.

Gray said that Jones and Halstead were at the nearby Inland Station, saw what was happening and immediately came to his assistance.

“Little did I know that the Dale County-Ozark E911 Dispatcher broadcasted an alert that could be heard by multiple law enforcement agencies simultaneously,” the chief said, adding that Jones physically assisted him in the attempt to subdue the suspect and place him inside the police vehicle.

“Shortly thereafter, (Level Plains Police Sgt.) Alexander and Daleville Police Investigators Mason and Suiter arrived to assist with the still combative suspect,” Gray said, adding that Halstead and Jones remained on the scene providing assistance.

Gray said that in addition to the Daleville DPS officers, officers from the Dale County Sheriff’s Department, the Enterprise Police Department and Newton Police Departments responded to the alert.

Gray also recognized Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson and Daleville Police Chief Alan Medley, both present at the council meeting, for their ongoing support.

“As the result of this combative suspect that resisted arrest, Alexander was assaulted by being kicked in the face by the suspect,” Gray said, adding that the suspect also kicked out the windows of the chief’s police car. “The damages are about $3,000 and we are pursing restitution as well as possible felony charges.

“In this day and age, there is a lot of controversy between police and citizens and I’d like to say we have some great citizens here in Level Plains,” Gray told those attending the council meeting. “They didn’t have to do what they did. They saw me and they sprung into action selflessly.

“We’re in law enforcement and we do what we have to do and they were right there with us,” Gray said about Jones and Halstead. “I’m proud that they were so the situation didn’t have to be worse than it was.”

The next meeting of the Level Plains City Council is at the Community Building Sept. 1. The council will meet at noon to canvas the votes cast in the Aug. 25 municipal election. The voting meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Community Building. Both meetings are open to the public.

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