The MASTERS Public Service Award was presented to Lieutenant James E. McNiell of Troop E by Jack Pahlmann, president of MASTERS. He was one of 13 officers honored by the Patrol during the Saturday evening event.
In making the presentation, Pahlmann praised McNiell saying he has unselfishly devoted his time and energy to his community and state as an officer of the law and as a private citizen. His honesty and professionalism sets him apart from his peers, Pahlmann said.
Professionally, McNiell is a 29-year veteran with the Patrol currently assigned to Troop E. The lieutenant handles the daily operations of the Troop E Service Center, is an assistant drug testing officer, handles troop reconstructions and coordinates Troop E's chaplaincy program.
Describing McNiell as tenacious in his investigations, Pahlmann said McNiell used the media, reward flyers, and good investigative skills to solve a leaving the scene of a fatality accident. His investigation began in December 2003, and the case was closed November 2006.
Since 1993, McNiell has coordinated a contingent of officers each year at the Annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, which brings in 40,000 spectators and participants over a four-day period.
As part of his duties, McNiell is responsible for the organization and implementation of the annual Torch Run in Southeast Missouri involving multiple agencies. He has been known to assist volunteers selling Torch Run T-shirts while off duty as well.
An active member of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Sikeston, he has served as a deacon for the past 14 years and serves the church on numerous committees. He has been a member of the Gideon's Organization since 1997.
Because of his friendly demeanor and attitude, many have turned to him in their time of need, Pahlmann said, who added McNiell is always willing to talk to young people and has established a reputation of being a person groups can call upon when they need a speaker for a special occasion.
"It is the feeling of the board of The MASTERS that Lt. McNiell embodies what this Public Service Award represents. His actions - both in his professional and personal life - are a credit to himself and to the Missouri State Highway Patrol," Pahlmann concluded.
Col. James F. Keathley presented a 2006 Lifesaving Citation to Troop E's Sergeant Cody H. Fulkerson.
On Aug. 5, 2006, Fulkerson was on routine patrol on Interstate 55 near the 115 mile-marker when he observed a vehicle lose control due to a blown left rear tire. The vehicle ran off the roadway and overturned several times.
As Fulkerson approached the wreckage from the driver's side, he observed the vehicle had come to rest on its roof with the occupants trapped inside. The driver was hanging upside down with the seat belt around her neck.
Obviously in danger of being strangled by her seat belt, Fulkerson broke through the rear driver's side window but was unable to reach the driver due to the amount of damage to the vehicle. He then ran to his patrol car and retrieved a blanket, which he placed around the driver to protect her when he broke the driver's side window. Using his pocketknife, he cut the safety belt and lowered the driver to safety.
Fulkerson's quick response and resourcefulness saved the woman's life and his actions are a credit to himself and to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Keathley said.