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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014
Answering the call

Answering the call: After 16 years, Cape Girardeau County sheriff still loves job (12/06/10)
A career in law enforcement was always on John Jordan's mind, especially after attending college in Mississippi, where he worked in public safety, mostly fighting fires. With experience at the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department, a spot on the area's Major Case Squad and years of undercover work investigating drug-related crimes, Jordan said, he had a good resume to run for sheriff of Cape Girardeau County in 1994. ...
Answering the call: Cape Girardeau battalion chief prefers to be busy (11/08/10)
Anyone who works with Brad Dillow, a battalion chief with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, knows the man thrives on staying busy and on new experiences. Dillow, a native of Anna, Ill., has served with the Cape Girardeau department for 15 years but is also a full-time firefighter with the Jackson department. ...
Answering the call: Guard experience aids Red Cross director of emergency services (10/25/10)
After 23 years serving in the Missouri National Guard, Jamie Koehler of Cape Girardeau sought out a career that would allow her to work with and train volunteers and also use her experience as a soldier. That was four years ago. Now, as regional emergency services director for the American Red Cross in Cape Girardeau, she has trained hundreds of volunteers and spent thousands of hours helping area communities prepare for disasters. ...
Answering the call: East County captain: Not enough fire safety taught (10/18/10)
As captain of public education for the East County Fire Protection District, Debbie Maupin says she's always learning. And she'd like the families in the district to always be learning about fire prevention as well. Maupin joined the volunteer East County crew in 2003, a few years after undergoing a life-changing surgery. Today, at 48, she has big goals for the department, including reaching out to more area businesses in order to spread the word about fire safety...
Answering the call: Jackson fire captain speaking to hundreds of students this month (10/11/10)
Steve Baugh of Jackson has lost count of how many calls he's been on in during his 27-year career as a firefighter. For more than half of his life, Baugh, 52, has been a member of the Jackson Fire Department. He began as a volunteer firefighter in 1983 and made the job his career in 1990. ...
Answering the call: Cape fire marshal was at first leery of job, now enjoys it (10/04/10)
As October's Fire Prevention Week kicks off, Brian Shaffer, battalion chief and fire marshal with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, has a full schedule. He'll be visiting nearly ever school in the area to help teach fire prevention tips and perform fire drills. ...
Answering the Call: Patrol sergeant started out as parole officer (09/27/10)
A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Blane Adams began his career working as probation and parole officer for the state. His interest in law enforcement was piqued there, and 23 years ago he joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a trooper. Helping the public, Adams said, was his goal. Now, as a sergeant, he supervises four troopers and two corporals...
John Sachen has spent 30 years providing training for firefighters (09/20/10)
In the 1940s, as a middle school student in Clayton, Mo., John Sachen was assigned an art project in which he had to draw a mechanical object. He chose a firetruck and ever since has been fascinated with the fire service and the physics associated with fighting a fire. ...
Answering the call: Scott City sergeant enjoying patrol work on the evening shift (09/13/10)
In 2005, Jordan Bain of Scott City was looking for something more than a nine-to-five job. Bain says he was looking for something that would challenge him and not consist of the same duties each day. So in the fall, Bain started classes at Southeast Missouri State University and graduated from the police academy in spring 2006. Almost four years after joining his hometown police force, Bain, now 28, is a sergeant and supervises a number of officers who work the evening shift...
Answering the Call: Every day brings something new, Cape County deputy says (09/07/10)
Although television dramas about police work are what drew 30-year-old Heather Vangennip to the profession, in real life the job of an officer isn't so predictable. Every day on the job as a deputy for the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department is a learning experience, according to Vangennip. ...
Ken Gullett helps keep Southeast Missouri State University students, campus safe (08/30/10)
Portageville, Mo., native Ken Gullett has spent hundreds of hours inside and outside the classrooms at Southeast Missouri State University. Most of those hours have been in a police uniform, serving and protecting the campus community. Gullett, now a sergeant with the Southeast Department of Public Safety, is a 1991 graduate of the SEMO Regional Police Academy and began as a police officer in 1992. ...
Gordonville fire chief says rural department 'a whole new ballgame' (08/23/10)
For 27-year-old Randy Morris Jr., joining the Gordonville Fire Department in 2007 was "a whole new ballgame" and took a lot of adjustments and learning. Morris has worked for the Cape Girardeau Fire Department since 2004, where there was an abundance of fire hydrants and a much higher call volume than the rural Gordonville department...
CERT training coordinator Jim Watkins helps others prepare for a disaster (08/16/10)
In 1992, less than a decade after Los Angeles introduced its Community Emergency Response Team to the nation -- and the concept of communities being prepared to help during a disaster -- Cape Girardeau began its own CERT Alliance and Citizen Corps. ...
For Jackson officer, family comes before career (08/09/10)
In his 10th year with the Jackson Police Department, Sgt. Jim Barker, a native of Marble Hill, Mo., said his greatest accomplishments are not even career related. Barker said being a husband and a father of 12 is what he's most proud of. His career as a police officer dates to 1974, when he joined the U.S. ...
Retired state trooper honored for undercover work that saved dogs (08/02/10)
After graduating from the Missouri State Highway Patrol academy in 1979, Terry Mills of Cape Girardeau suited up in the same uniform his father did many years before. Mills' first assignments led him to Lake of the Ozarks, but only a year later he joined the highway patrol's narcotics unit and stayed until 2001. ...
Answering the Call: Perry County sheriff is drawn to life as an officer (07/26/10)
Seventeen years into his career as Perry County sheriff, Gary Schaaf still has aspirations to improve the department that patrols more than 450 square miles. In recent years, deputies in Perry County have worked to reduce the number of burglaries and Schaaf, 53, says he hopes a reduction in crime can continue. ...
Police officer Ike Hammonds happy serving his hometown (07/19/10)
Growing up in Cape Girardeau, Ike Hammonds was certain he wanted to serve his community and police the streets of his hometown. Yet, he spent 14 years as a firefighter with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department. In the late 1980s, as a reserve police officer, he finally took the opportunity to see if that was a career he wanted to pursue. ...
Cape Girardeau man goes from IT to EMT (07/12/10)
When Tim Bleichroth of Cape Girardeau decided to make a career change nearly three years ago, he left a job in the information technology sector he had held for more than 15 years. Bleichroth left his job as an IT manager to be an emergency medical technician with Cape County Private Ambulance Service simply because it's something he always aspired to accomplish. ...
Answering the call: On the path from classroom to courtroom (07/06/10)
For 21-year-old Areda Johnson, a Southeast Missouri State University student, the challenges leading up to becoming a lawyer is part of the fun. On Friday, Johnson completed a six-week internship with the Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney's office -- an experience she said has made her almost positive she wants to be a prosecutor. ...
Cheryl Stoffregen answers many calls at 911 communications center (06/28/10)
After 15 years on the job as a telecommunicator, 51-year-old Cheryl Stoffregen, who works in 911 Communications for Cape Girardeau, can't stand to hear a phone ring more than once. Her job forces her to be a multitasker, Stoffregen said, and each call, whether an emergency or not, requires quick thinking. The Cape Girardeau 911 communications center receives up to 1,900 emergency calls per month...
Officer enjoys the chance to connect with the people on a small-town police force (06/21/10)
Small-town living is perfect for Dustin Jarrell, a 27-year-old Dexter, Mo., native just a few years into his career as a police officer. Although Jarrell began his career as an officer in Cape Girardeau, and then spent a short time in Scott City, his two years in Chaffee, Mo., have been rewarding. ...
Jackson fire chief wanted a job where he could make a difference (06/14/10)
Raised in Cape Girardeau County, Jason Mouser traded in a suit for turnout gear in 1997 when he became a part-time firefighter at the Jackson Fire Department. Two years later, Mouser made the decision to join the department full time and make it his career. ...
Answering the call: Investigator got early start in crime-fighting career (06/07/10)
BENTON, Mo. -- As a young man of 21, Scott City native Branden Caid started his career in law enforcement as a jailer and dispatcher with the Scott County Sheriff's Office. He switched gears about a year later and joined the Mississippi County department as a road deputy. Before returning to Scott County, Caid worked as a public housing officer with the Charleston Department of Public Safety. It was a phone call from Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter, who served as sergeant in Charleston, Mo., while Caid was employed as a public housing officer, that gave Caid the opportunity to become an investigator and join a team that had just reopened a murder investigation.
Answering the Call: Bollinger County sheriff likes interaction job brings (06/01/10)
MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Bollinger County Sheriff Leo McElrath, 61, is a year and a half into his first term in the office. While he enjoyed his 27 years with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, McElrath, who also served four years in the U.S. Army, likes being a sheriff because he can better interact with the people of Bollinger County. As long he has his health, McElrath said, he'll do whatever he can to make Bollinger County a safe place...
Firefighter Kelly Mitchell says her job is not just for men (05/24/10)
St. Louis native Kelly Mitchell, who moved to Jackson when she was 9, first tried to get on the Cape Girardeau Fire Department when she was 20 years old. It seemed like a career she could be challenged by, Mitchell says, but the physical endurance test to join the crew was very demanding. ...
Answering the Call: Fruitland fire chief has been taking the heat since 1978 (05/17/10)
More than 30 years ago, Advance, Mo., native Dean Riley moved to Fruitland to make his trip to work at Procter & Gamble a shorter commute. In 1978, less than five years after moving into a new community, Riley found his calling and joined the Fruitland Fire Protection District as a firefighter. ...
Chris Mouser turns military experience into hometown career (05/10/10)
At age 18, Jackson native Chris Mouser was unsure about his career. Spending three years, from 1988 to 1991,in the U.S. Army as a military policeman helped him decide. He wanted to make a career out of protecting the community he grew up in. Mouser joined the Jackson Police Department in 1992, only to be promoted two years later to sergeant. ...
Kennett, Mo., native retires after 33 years on the force (05/03/10)
Editor's note: This is the first 'Answering the call' article to appear in the Southeast Missourian. It will appear each Monday, helping to establish a relationship between the community and the people who keep its residents safe. 'Answering the call" will feature police officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel. ...