Department of Public Safety honors employees

Communications Officer Lori Hedges Department of Public Safety Communications Officer Lori Hedges is credited for assisting troopers in three separate life-threatening situations, and DPS Electronics Technician Roger Logan will be recognized for his dedication to duty and service of radio equipment. Both will receive a new annual award.

Hedges was a communications officer for close to three years at the time of the first incident. She responded to the call of Trooper Kerry Massie who was shot at close range by the driver of a suspicious vehicle.

"Massie stopped the driver of a weaving vehicle who could have been under the influence of alcohol," said Trooper Pete Norwood, public information officer. "Although he cautiously approached the vehicle - shining his flashlight on the driver and motioning for him to open his window - the driver quickly pulled a gun on Massie and fired shots."

The bullet hit Massie's left wrist and then the breast plate of his bulletproof vest. Massie retreated to his patrol car taking cover behind the door to return fire as the driver continued shooting. The driver then jumped in his vehicle and sped away with Massie in pursuit.

Massie's frantic call to headquarters alerted Hedges to the life-threatening situation.

"I'm about 200 yards away from him, watching him," said Massie. "He hit me at point blank; hit my vest. I'm all right but I definitely need somebody out here."

Hedges issued a "rush traffic" transmission to alert all troopers of the severity of the situation. The term is used by communications officers to immediately cease all radio transmissions, or traffic, to broadcast pertinent information.

Hedges dispatched area troopers to the vicinity as she quickly reported Massie's location and condition. "Start two miles east of 115 {on} US 62. We've had a trooper hit. Shots have been fired," said Hedges.

Moments later, a patrol car responding to Hedges' call to assist Massie was involved in a traffic collision.

"Lori had two potentially dangerous incidents happening at one time which she handled skillfully and professionally," said Norwood.

The trooper involved in the collision was not injured, and when assistance arrived on the scene with Massie, they discovered the shooter had turned the gun on himself and ended his life.

Hedges' second incident happened just seven days later on January 6, 2000, as Second Lieutenant Tom Downs was struck by a fleeing vehicle that led a pursuit.

"Lieutenant Downs had just put out stop sticks on the road to puncture the tires of the fleeing vehicle which struck him at a high-rate of speed and threw him into the air," said Norwood.

Hedges, just coming on duty, mobilized backup assistance and emergency medical help to rush to the aid of Downs whose injuries were critical.

In November of the same year, a trooper located two murder suspects and Hedges coordinated the multi-agency pursuit and subsequent manhunt that led to the arrest of the subjects.

"It was Lori's professionalism and calm demeanor under extreme circumstances that earned her this honor as first recipient ," said Captain Keith Leimbach, DPS communications. "Her ability to think and act logically under pressure is paramount to a trooper's safety. Without clear and decisive direction during such events, the outcome can prove disastrous."

Troopers rely on communications officers for personal safety just as they count on electronic service technicians who maintain and repair equipment to ensure radio contact.

Logan has been employed with DPS for over four years. He was selected through a vote of his coworkers to receive the award.

"Roger's work is exemplified through his tenacity and dedication in installing and repairing radio equipment throughout the state of Oklahoma," said Dennis Mitchell, director of communications and electronic services. "Last year he replaced two main communications consoles at both Ardmore and Enid headquarters and was deployed to several of 64 radio sites across the state for maintenance."

Mitchell said Logan was chosen as the award's first recipient because he has had a great impact on the highway patrol's communications system.

"Through his knowledge of electronics and determination to provide professional service, Logan's work ethic is impeccable and crucial in providing public safety," said Mitchell.

A luncheon will be held at Cole's Restaurant, 1415 NE 63rd Street, Oklahoma City. Media are invited to attend the 12:15 p.m. program for pictures and interviews of the recipients.