The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:00 am

Tinsley officers receive awards

Named Top Cops by police organization

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Officers who worked to crack the long-unsolved murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley have been honored by a national police organization.

The National Association of Police Organizations each year honors Top Cops – “officers in federal, state, county, tribal and local agencies from across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty.”

Members of the Fort Wayne Police Department, Allen County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police and FBI were honored in a ceremony Sunday in Washington, D.C.

Detectives Brian Martin and Cary Young of Fort Wayne police; Cpl. Sean Kelly, Detective Darren Compton and Officer Timothy Loe of the sheriff's department; Capt. Kevin Smith and Detective Clint Hetrick of the state police; and Special Agent Jeffrey Robertson and Supervisory Special Agent Kerri Reifel were recognized at the ceremony.

The group received honorable mention for its work “in identifying and arresting John D. Miller for murdering April,” FBI spokeswoman Chris Bavender said in an email.

“The Top Cops awards provide an opportunity for all of us to recognize the brave men and women in America's law enforcement community who selflessly put their lives on the line day in and day out,” NAPO President Michael McHale said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers care deeply about the citizens and communities they serve, and this honor is one way of letting them know their contributions are not taken for granted.”

April was killed in 1988 after she was taken from her neighborhood on Fort Wayne's south side. The case went unsolved until July, when Miller was arrested at his Grabill home after DNA and a genealogy database were used to link him to the crime.

Miller, 59, pleaded guilty to murder and child molesting and was sentenced in December to 80 years in prison. He is being held in the New Castle Correctional facility, a medium-security prison that houses more than 3,000 inmates.

Officers in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York and Texas were named Top Cops this year by the police organization, according to its website.

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