The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Det. Russell Terry of the Missouri City (Texas) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for October 2009.
Since joining the Missouri City Police Department in 2002, Det. Russell Terry has distinguished himself not only as an outstanding detective, but as someone dedicated to his fellow officers and his community. "He excelled as an officer, consistently displaying bravery, intellect, knowledge of the best practices in law enforcement, and above all, consistently displaying a passion for excellence and service to our communities," says Edward G. Williams, Ph.D., Director of Human Resources with the Missouri City Police Department.
In 2008, Det. Terry solved several high-profile cases, including a Homicide/Aggravated Robbery and an Aggravated Bank Robbery. Soon after the Homicide/Aggravated Robbery had occurred, Terry was dispatched to the scene and immediately took charge. Working with his department's Criminal Investigations Division, he began analyzing surveillance footage and working with the Crime Scene Unit to gather evidence from the scene. The following day, Terry released a portion of the surveillance footage to the news media and immediately began receiving Crime Stopper tips.
Within 48 hours of the incident, the suspect had been identified and DNA linked the suspect to the scene. After being arrested, the suspect confessed to the crime after only 30 minutes of the interview with Terry. In addition, with the assistance of an informant, Terry was able to locate the weapon used in the homicide, an assault rifle, in a lake not far from the crime scene.
In February 2008, Terry was the on-call detective when he was dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery. After reviewing the facts with the primary officer, he interviewed the two female bank tellers who were not able to assist with identifying the suspect. With the help of the Crime Scene Unit, Terry obtained a photograph of a piece of recovered evidence. He soon brought the photograph to a local store, where the Loss Prevention Officer was able to locate a similar item. Reviewing surveillance footage, they discovered a male individual, accompanied by a female, who purchased the item, in addition to several other items related to the bank robbery, all with a debit card.
Armed with the male individual's name, Terry cross-referenced him through the police station's dispatch, which showed he resided in Missouri City. Terry contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and assisted them in contacting the individual. Upon visiting the individual's residence, Terry was informed by the man's parents that he was not there, but that he did have a girlfriend who was a bank teller at the same bank that had been robbed. After locating the male and female individuals later in the evening, both were brought in for an interview and both confessed to the robbery.
With the assistance of the Criminal Investigative Division, Det. Terry was able to solve the Aggravated Bank Robbery case and recover a large portion of the money that had been stolen - all in a matter of 12 hours. The bank was so impressed and thankful for the investigative skills of the Missouri City Police Department that it presented the Criminal Investigative team with a sizable donation.
Det. Terry's commitment to the community is exemplary as well. Three Navy and Marine Corps medals while serving his country with the United States Navy from 1995-2000, and five years of mentoring for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program are only some of his commendable experiences. In June 2006, he organized a fundraiser for a fellow officer whose son was born with numerous birth defects. To offset the cost of medical bills, Terry was able to raise nearly $13,000. The officer's son is now three years old and doing well.
Sgt. Dwayne Williams of the Missouri City Police Department writes, "Detective Terry is of the utmost in character, honesty, and trustworthiness. He is asked consistently to represent the city in most endeavors, which exhibits the confidence the executive staff have in him." Det. Terry is a member of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, and in January of 2007, he was elected as the first African-American president of the Missouri City Police Officers Association.
Located in the nation's capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Det. Terry, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2009, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington DC in May 2010 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund's 2011 calendar.