Baylor DPS Officer Presented Award Of Valor

May 25, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor Department of Public Safety officer Kevin Helpert was presented the Award of Valor during the annual McLennan County Law Enforcement Officers of the Year banquet held May 24 at Fort Fisher's Knox Hall. The banquet was hosted by the Waco Westside Rotary Club.

Helpert, a five-year veteran of Baylor DPS and Baylor's Officer of the Year in 2000, was honored for his significant efforts in apprehending an armed robbery suspect on Sept. 5.

After a report that a man had robbed a restaurant near campus, Helpert pursued the suspect on foot across I-35, not knowing at the time that the man had a gun. With the officer chasing him, the suspect ran into a fence, dropped his gun and began to climb over the fence. Helpert followed but landed awkwardly, seriously injuring his knee. Despite the pain from a severely torn ACL, Helpert continued to follow the suspect and kept him in sight until fellow officers were able to arrest the man on the roof of a local school.

Baylor DPS Chief Jim Doak had known about the award for about 10 days, but the department managed to keep it a secret from Helpert.

"Until the award was announced, Kevin had no idea this was happening," Doak said. "We were all pretty overwhelmed by the fact that an officer from the Baylor police department was being recognized on this scale. It was a special night for Kevin and a night of pride for all of us at Baylor DPS."

Although he spent eight months rehabilitating his knee, Helpert still maintained a vital presence at the department, filing and keeping up with paperwork. However, it was his dedicated service on a special task force that focused more attention on the officer, who helped solve the theft of thousands of dollars of personal property from the McLane Student Life Center -- the single largest theft and recovery operation ever at Baylor.

"Those are things Kevin did while he was injured when he could've just stayed at home," Doak said. "I think that played a part in this [award] because the Rotary Club recognized that he really went above and beyond."

Helpert, who is the son of Bernice Helpert, an administrative associate to the associate deans in the College of Arts and Sciences, was presented with an etched glass award from the Rotary Club and a certificate for a Glock handgun. Baylor DPS received a plaque that will be displayed in the department's lobby.

In addition to Helpert's Award of Valor, the Westside Rotary Club presented the Award of Distinguished Service, Award of Exceptional Service, Award of Honor, People's Choice Award, and the Memorial Award, which was given to the family of the late DPS Trooper Richard Cottle of Waco.

The keynote speaker at the event was the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Bruce D. Glasscock, who has served as Plano's police chief since 1990.

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