The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Sgt. Stephanie Jackson of the Tulsa (Okla.) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for December 2007.
Nothing in policing is routine, as Sgt. Stephanie Jackson learned when she responded to back up a call of a woman wielding a knife on January 28, 2006. The suspect was attempting to enter occupied apartments at a residential complex, a call to which one police officer had already responded.
Arriving at the apartment complex, Sgt. Jackson made repeated attempts to reach the first responding officer. Not knowing where either he or the suspect was situated, Jackson entered the building. Locating the suspect, Jackson saw that the woman had several knives and was threatening some of the residents. As she approached, the suspect lunged at Jackson, who drew her service weapon and began giving verbal commands.
Concerned about the civilians on the scene, Jackson began backing away from the suspect, drawing her away from the residents and toward herself. Jackson was soon backed into a corner with the suspect still advancing toward her. As a last resort, Jackson fired her service weapon, hitting the suspect and stopping the threat to herself and the innocent people at the apartment complex.
As heroic as her actions were that January 2006 morning, command officials at the Tulsa Police Department point out that Sgt. Jackson has been an exemplary officer in many other ways as well. Her dedication and diligence as the department's public education officer are of critical importance to the Police Department and Tulsa's citizens, particularly its students.
Jackson's is not a regular shift, with predicable hours, but rather a 24/7 commitment to the people of Tulsa. In 2007, she supervised and attended more than 700 community events, ranging from neighborhood meetings, to benefit basketball games and participation in the State Fair. She has made more than 31 appearances in schools throughout the Tulsa Public School system, addressing more than 12,000 students. Through her work with the Student Crime Stoppers program, several arrests have been made resulting from criminal activity within the school district. More than 40,000 citizens attended just one of the community events she organized this past year.
According to Capt. Travis Yates, Sgt. Jackson fulfills an important mission, one that had not been done before her tenure. She is committed to bringing awareness to her community about crime prevention strategies and self-protection. Tools, which include the department's Website and its new Podcast system, are critical in this endeavor.
"While community policing is not new to the department, Sgt. Jackson has taken it to another level. Whether it is placing child seats in cars or telling the public how to prevent crimes, Sgt. Jackson is the model that every officer should reach for," writes Capt. Yates. "Her career has not been about one particular incident but about a commitment to providing the public with safety, customer service, and prevention strategies to make their lives better."
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 established the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 1991 and is now working to build the first-ever National Law Enforcement Museum.
The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program, which began in 1996, recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty. Sgt. Stephanie Jackson, along with all of the 2007 Officers of the Month, will be recognized during a special ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2008 during National Police Week.
The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program is sponsored by a generous contribution from THE FORCE.