Northcutt named officer of the month by national organization

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Rocky Northcutt has been selected as Officer of the Month for July 1999 by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The first time Northcutt ever testified in court was against a felon who shot him. In January 1998, while assisting fellow Trooper Kent Martin in a routine traffic stop near Ardmore, the officers became engaged in hand-to-hand combat with two suspected felons. While Martin struggled with one of the subjects, Northcutt returned gunfire on the second subject. Although he wounded the shooter, Northcutt was shot in the lower abdomen but could see Martin was still involved in a life-threatening struggle. Northcutt aimed and killed the first subject.

The surviving felon was tried and convicted of crimes committed in the incident and was sentenced to 140 years in prison. Both troopers returned to duty just months after the incident.

When asked why he continues a career in law enforcement, Northcutt replied, "Although the shootout nearly cost me my life, I still have an obligation and a responsibility to protect the citizens of this state and come to the aid of my fellow officers no matter what the price.

"I feel that a life lived without serving others is a wasted life. I thank the Lord that I am alive to raise my children, grow old with my wife, and finish the job I was called to do."

As early as his elementary school years, Northcutt dreamed of being a trooper. "He is a very unique individual," said First Lieutenant Pat Collins, Northcutt's commander. "He believes in law enforcement heart and soul. He is one of those exemplary people who would go to work for free if that was the only way he could be a trooper."

Northcutt has served eight years with the highway patrol and as a result of the 1998 incident, has received numerous awards including the Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oklahoma's Trooper of the Year.

"Trooper Northcutt lives his childhood dream," said Colonel Gary Adams, chief of the highway patrol. "From the time he was a small child he always wanted to be a trooper. Today he fulfills his dream to be the best in the community, church and at home."

The Washington, D.C.-based NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The organization was authorized by Congress to build the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial which was dedicated in 1991. The Officer of the Month program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.