Indiana State Trooper Tyson Waldron has been with the state police for nearly eight years, currently working the night shift in Allen County.
Waldron is also a U.S. Army veteran with two combat tours – one in Afghanistan in 2004 and the other in Iraq in 2008 – under his belt.
Waldron, 36, assigned to the Fort Wayne post in 2016, was named the 2019 Indiana State Police Trooper of the Year. He will receive his award in October at the Indiana State Police headquarters in Indianapolis.
When asked if there was one patrol he remembers out of hundreds, it's one a few years ago on U.S. 31 near Peru that produced a murder weapon.
He stopped four guys speeding from Indianapolis toward South Bend. As he walked back to his patrol car to call for police dog backup, the car took off. It wasn't long before the men were apprehended and one of them let it slip that they'd ditched a gun out the window as they took off.
The state police began a search, and the gun was found the following day in a ditch off the highway, close to where the chase had begun.
“They ended up solving three homicides in South Bend” with that gun, Waldron said. “To this day, I have no idea where he (one of the occupants) had that gun or at any point, did he think about shooting me. I still have no idea.”
According to a release from the Indiana State Police, Waldron had 1,515 traffic contacts last year, 31 of them for drunken-driving arrests, leading the district in those arrests. He made 220 criminal arrests – 44 for felony crimes including drugs and guns charges and previous OWIs, and 124 K-9 usage reports. Since 2016, Waldron has been a certified drug recognition expert and has a canine partner, Zeus.
Working with Zeus, he seized cocaine, methamphetamine, crack, ecstasy and heroin, six firearms and more than $32,000 in cash.
But those goals were achieved even as he missed more than 38 days on active military orders and 20 days off with the birth of his son. Waldron is married to Emily Waldron, a trauma nurse, and is the father of a 3-year-old and 9-month-old.
The military has been a huge part of Waldron's life. A 2002 Ayersville High School graduate in Defiance, Ohio, he was barely into his first semester at Owens Community College studying criminal justice when he was deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserves.
He came back to Defiance and joined the Indiana National Guard. He also went back to school but was called back for deployment to Iraq, where he remembers riding in convoys in up-armored vehicles and getting hit a couple of times with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
For his service in Iraq, he received a Combat Infantry Badge. Waldron has graduated from numerous military schools including Army Airborne, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Sniper, Primary Leadership Development Course and Mountain Warfare, among others.
After Iraq, Waldron was a recruiter in Muncie for the National Guard, then transferred on federal orders to Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh to train personnel deploying overseas.
He knew he wanted to be in law enforcement, and in 2012, he applied to the state police and was hired.
He will have a bachelor's degree at the end of two years now that he's been selected to attend the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Between working and raising his growing family, Waldron keeps up a rigorous physical fitness routine and likes working out at the Jorgensen YMCA in southwest Fort Wayne.
Waldron was called a natural leader who exemplified “genuine courtesy, hard work and unquestionable integrity,” the release said.
His goal is to be a district squad leader at the Fort Wayne Post, which he is “preparing himself for when that opportunity arises,” the release said.