Nevada Police Officer Travis Cole was honored with a departmental commendation, presented at the Monday, Oct. 1 city council meeting.
According to the text of the commendation, "On Aug. 18, Nevada Police Officers Sgt. John Millard, Police Officer Travis Cole and Police Officer Josh Westerhold were dispatched to the scene of an individual who was possibly threatening suicide and had illegally entered his girlfriend's house. The caller was unsure, but advised the suspect may be armed."
When the officers arrived, they saw the suspect try to flee the apartment, but his efforts failed and he barricaded himself in the one-story apartment. The commendation said the officers quickly closed off the area to protect the neighbors and to prevent the suspect from escaping.
The police supervisor on the scene requested additional help and off-duty police officers Lukas Gibson and Brian Hansen responded in moments. A trained Missouri State Highway Patrol negotiator was also called to the scene but was unable to make voice contact with the barricaded man. After several hours with no communication, the police began closing the perimeter.
After securing the apartment the police organized a team, including Officer Cole, to enter the apartment, but did not find the suspect in a room-to-room search.
It was evident the intruder was either hiding in the attic or in a 2-foot high crawl space below the apartment.
The officers located a trapdoor in the bathroom to the crawlspace and opened it; and when the intruder did not respond to calls from the officers made through the opening, it became obvious that the crawlspace would have to be thoroughly searched before allowing the resident to return to her home.
"Without hesitation, Police Officer Cole removed his gun belt and slid down the tight trap door with only his pistol and a flashlight. Police Officer Cole called out with voice commands and began searching he crawl space on his belly. After checking various sections, Officer Cole located the subject hiding behind debris in an attempt to prevent detection. Police Office Cole quickly and firmly gained control of the situation by using police tactics and voice commands. Police Officers Gibson and Hansen jumped down into the crawl space to offer a protective cover watch to help Police Officer Cole in securing an arrest.
"After several tense moments the barricaded subject decided to surrender to the police who quickly secured the individual in handcuffs. The subject was assisted in crawling over the dirt floor to the trap door where he was lifted out unharmed and transported to jail. A loaded 9 mm pistol was recovered in the crawlspace a few feet from where the subject was hiding."
"The officer's heroic and selfless acts of entering a potentially dangerous situation inside an apartment crawl space is a testament to his commitment to public safety and finest ideals of service to the community.
"I have determined that the professional and heroic actions of Police Officer Travis Cole in this case have significantly raised the bar for Law Enforcement and are commendable. His actions bring credit to himself and to the highest traditions of the Nevada Police Department.
"Therefore, as a result of his outstanding performance, it is my privilege to award Police Officer Travis Cole with The Nevada Police Department Distinguished Service Citation for Valor, on the first day October, 2012," Police Chief Graham Burnley said in the commendation.