The Tuscaloosa Exchange Club on Thursday honored five law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Ken Swindle, who served as the Tuscaloosa Police Department’s chief from 1991 until 2008, said that each year he enjoys recognizing officers who are doing exceptional work in the community because the recognition lets them know that they are loved and appreciated.
“There are bad police officers, but 99% of them are great police officers … And we want all of the good police officers to know that we back them and support them,” said Swindle, who hosted the Thursday banquet at Indian Hills County Club where the officers were honored.
Officers from the Tuscaloosa, Northport and University of Alabama police departments, were recognized and presented with the Officer of the Year award, as well as a Tuscaloosa County sheriff’s deputy and an Alabama state trooper. Each recipient was selected by their respective departments for their hard work and service.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said it’s important to honor law enforcement officers since they risk their lives every day to serve and protect the community.
“These are individuals who engage with courageous and heroic acts every day. And I think communities like Tuscaloosa need to be able to not only honor and highlight those stories, but to be able to support them as well,” Marshall said.
Recipients of the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award included:
• Agent Timothy K, Kabiru of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, who has served as a West Alabama Narcotics investigator for almost two years and has already established himself as a leader.
In addition to his assignment in the West Alabama Narcotics division, Kabiru is also on the bike patrol, serves on the honor guard and is an Absconder Recovery Unit investigator. In the past year, Kabiru has served 211 suspects with 296 charges. He served 38 search warrants for illegal narcotics and recovered over 40 firearms.
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Most recently, Kabiru served a murder warrant on a suspected drunken driver who is accused of striking and killing a pedestrian at Fourth and 23rd streets in Tuscaloosa.
“Agent Kabiru’s commitment to the community, the department and his fellow officers is a shining example for others to follow,” Tuscaloosa Chief of Police Brent Blankley said.
• Deputy Zane Cardwell of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office began his career on Nov. 6, 2017. He has since been assigned to the patrol division and also serves as a paramedic. Cardwell is credited with saving the life of a female passenger who became entrapped after a two-vehicle accident. The accident involved a head-on collision, which claimed the life of both drivers.
Cardwell used extrication tools to remove the driver’s side door of the vehicle, which allowed him to gain access to the female passenger and provide medical attention. Once paramedic help arrived, Cardwell rode in the ambulance and assisted paramedics in keeping the woman stabilized while in route to DCH Regional Medical Center. Without Cardwell’s quick thinking the passenger may not have survived, said Sheriff Ron Abernathy.
“Deputy Cardwell is always willing to assist this office and his community. He is a team player, proactive, dependable and trustworthy,” Abernathy said.
• Officer William Carpenter joined the Northport Police Department in 2018. He is assigned to the patrol division and serves as a member of the tactical unit and the department’s honor guard. On April 10, 2021, Carpenter assisted after a vehicle crash and devised a plan to safely remove an entrapped child. Once the child was removed, he noticed the child did not have a pulse. Carpenter then performed CPR on the child until he became exhausted and was relieved by another officer. The child began breathing again shortly after.
Carpenter was also instrumental during the June 2021 flooding at Willowbrook trailer park. He and other officers braved the chest-high rising water to save trapped residents. Carpenter carried residents to safety until he was ordered to stop because his safety and well-being were at stake.
“NPD is proud to acknowledge him as Officer of the Year,” said Northport Police Chief Gerald Burton.
• Agent Chase Stanton of the University of Alabama Police Department is now assigned to the West Alabama Task Force and serves as a task force officer for the Drug Enforcement Agency. In this assignment, Stanton is required to work cases at both the federal and state level. Throughout the past year, Stanton has maintained one of the highest caseloads and has investigated numerous cases that have been prosecuted at the federal level.
In 2021, Stanton was responsible for taking over $45,000.00 worth of illegal drugs off the street. Stanton has also worked investigations on two of Tuscaloosa’s largest drug traffickers. Both suspects were prosecuted at the federal level.
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“Agent Stanton is relied upon as a leader in the unit. Agents often rely on his expertise to improve their cases,” said UA Police Chief John Hooks.
• Trooper Paul Thompson has been employed with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for almost three years. In 2021, Thompson investigated 105 accidents, initiated 987 enforcement actions and assisted 23 motorists. Of those enforcement actions, 14 were DUI arrests and he completed one pre-employment background investigation.
In addition to his duties as an Alabama state trooper, Thompson is a drug recognition expert. He teaches classes on standardized field sobriety testing and recently became a drug recognition expert instructor. Thompson investigated four traffic homicide investigations and assisted on three other homicide investigations.
“He is respected by his peers, helps them in any way he can and is an excellent role model for his co-workers,” said Sgt. Shone Minor, ALEA post commander
Reach Jasmine Hollie at JHollie@gannett.com.