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August 12, 2020

7/1/2020 1:09:00 PM
Police officer honored for 20-year service
Mayor Mike Ochs gives the Key to the City to Officer Fleetwood.
+ click to enlarge
Mayor Mike Ochs gives the Key to the City to Officer Fleetwood.
Officer Todd Fleetwood, surrounded by fellow North Vernon police officers, holds a shadowbox gifted by the police department.—Staff Photos by Kylan Higgs
+ click to enlarge
Officer Todd Fleetwood, surrounded by fellow North Vernon police officers, holds a shadowbox gifted by the police department.—Staff Photos by Kylan Higgs
Kylan Higgs

Community members, officials, family, friends and fellow officers filled Elsner Hall at the Education and Training Center located on 1200 W O&M Ave in North Vernon Friday evening on June 19 to honor Officer Todd Fleetwood's retirement after 20 years of service. His wife, Tracy, and his parents, Darrell and Sharon, were also in attendance at the event.

After receiving the Key to the City from Mayor Mike Ochs and a plaque from Chief James Webster, Officer Fleetwood stood before the crowd of wellwishers and delivered a seven-page speech he had prepared. Fighting back tears, Fleetwood gave heartfelt thanks to all his fellow police officers, offering advice to the younger officers as they move forward with their careers and retailing events of the past 20 years that made his time on the force worthwhile. One such example was that of a woman who approached him outside of a restaurant to thank and hug him after his influence and advice helped get her children back in her custody and her life back on track.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back," said Jolly and Karen Poe, friends of Fleetwood who drove all the way from Evansville to attend his retirement party.

"Fleetwood goes about things differently than anyone else with the same results," said one of his fellow police officers. Everyone, including the honoree himself, laughed at his infamous and seemingly unconventional methods. "With all due respect, sir'" being his favorite phrase before telling anyone, including his superiors, something they may very well not want to hear, but, in Fleetwood's mind, needs to be said nonetheless.

Both Mayor Ochs and Chief Webster recounted their own stories involving Officer Fleetwood and a PowerPoint with photos of the police veteran were projected on a screen. At the end of the slideshow, a recording of Fleetwood's last 10-42 was played. A 10-42 is a police code that signals an officer's ending tour of duty. Fleetwood's voice could be heard thanking his brothers and sisters in law enforcement for their support over the years. Fellow NVPD were heard responding and offering their own sentimentalities, which was truly moving to listeners.

The evening ended with the cutting and serving of two personalized cakes, one with "Congratulations" written in frosting and the other with a photo of a boot and "We are giving you the boot" written in frosting. The boot photo has an interesting story behind it: Fleetwood was in the habit of "borrowing" the PD receptionists' cell phones and leaving random pictures of himself making funny faces or, in this case, a photo of his boot.

Officer Todd Fleetwood is definitely one-of-a-kind and his support and sacrifice throughout his 20-year service will always be remembered.

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