Indiana State University Newsroom

Medal of Valor among awards presented by University Police

April 29, 2015

A 15-year veteran of the Indiana State University Police Department has received the department's Medal of Valor for her role in peacefully ending a standoff with an armed man.

Police rushed to University Apartments on Nov. 29 in response to a call about a distraught man who was threatening suicide. Sgt. Brenda Edington began negotiating with the man, who was intoxicated and had locked himself inside his room and University Police called in the Terre Haute Police Department's Emergency Response Team.

"After they arrived and took up their positions, it is normal procedure to yield to their process," said Joe Newport, University Police chief. "In this case, though, they realized they had no one that could have handled the dialogue with this guy as well as Brenda Edington. We watched her develop a solid rapport and trust with a very confused man. After three intense hours that included several moments where the man threatened to exit the room with a gun, he came out and peacefully surrendered."

Recognizing what he called "her exemplary display of patience and skill," Newport presented Edington with the medal Tuesday during the department's eighth biennial Recognition and Commendation Dinner. Tonia Tucker, the department's communications coordinator, and officers Josh Clifford and Jeff Bucklin received Honorable Service Awards for their roles in the incident.

Officer David Barber received the Exceptional Service Award for his efforts in investigating the Sept. 17 posting of a school shooting threat on the anonymous social media site Yik Yak, which led to the arrest of a student. Lt. David Smith and Cpls. Craig Wright, Tamara Watts and Andrew Piske received Police Star Awards for their roles in the case.

Seventeen department members received Police Star Awards for their efforts that led to an arrest within 24 hours of the shooting and wounding of one student by another at Lincoln Quad last fall.Newport said the Sept. 27 incident was just one example of officers voluntarily coming to campus on their days off, arriving early to work or staying late whenever there is a violent crime or the threat of violent behavior.

"There's a lot of pride in what we do," Newport said. "If we are unable to prevent wrongdoing then we have to make sure we do all we can to capture whoever is responsible when something happens that threatens campus."

Those recognized in connection with the shooting investigation were Officers Barber, Andrew Piske, Jeff Bucklin, Austin Wolfe, Craig Wright, Chris Heleine, Jeff Stinson, Josh Clifford, and Mike Colson; Sgts. Edington, Jacque Smith, and Wendell McCullough; Cpl. Tamara Watts; Dispatchers Tonia Tucker, Gloria Ighile and Sara Loudermilk and retired Officer Dave Glick.

Receiving Police Star Awards for their roles in other incidents were Capt. Ian Loomis; Lt. David Smith; Sgt. Brent Denny; Cpls. Tamara Watts and Dan Parmer; Officers Andrew Piske, Mike Eldred, Jeff Stinson, Jordan Gentry, Chris McKillop, and Chris Heleine; Communications Officers Danielle Hoeppner, David Neal, and Andre Gonthier.

Newport presented Chief of Police Awards to administrative assistant Tammy Hurst, whom he said may have had the toughest job in the department in the transition from former Chief Bill Mercier; Sgt. Smith for her willingness to take on extra assignments during the past 20 years, such as Special Olympics, charitable events, the Sexual Assault Response Team and domestic violence issues; Cpl. Watts for her role as accreditation manager that has led to preliminary accreditation of the department; and First Financial Bank for its long-running sponsorship of the department's awards program.

Jeremiah Turner, a development officer with the ISU Foundation, and Hulman Center staff member Michael Seeling received Civilian Awards for keeping a watchful eye on a suspicious man attending a Sycamore basketball game who later acknowledged he was there to harm a child. Turner and Seeling watched the man enter different restrooms and created diversions to keep any children out of danger until police arrived.

Contact: Joe Newport, chief, University Police Department, Indiana State University, 812-237-4018 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or