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October 2002

Officer Mario Gehret

Missouri City (TX) Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Police Officer Mario Gehret as its Officer of the Month for October 2002. Officer Gehret has served with the Missouri City (TX) Police Department for nine years and is currently assigned to the Patrol Division.

A residential suburb outside Houston, Missouri City, with a population of more than 54,000, has its fair share of crime and so all 56 members of the Missouri City Police Department understand that no call is ever routine. On September 10, 2001 officers responded to a robbery in which the victim had been assaulted. The suspects had left the scene, however their descriptions were soon given to all patrols. Later that shift, Officer Gehret noticed a suspicious vehicle. He knew about the robbery earlier that day and after communicating with the officers assigned to the original case, was sure he had the three suspects at hand. Officer Gehret's quick thinking ultimately led to the arrest of the three suspects. A search of the vehicle uncovered a 380 caliber handgun and controlled substances, as well as items belonging to the robbery victim, and other stolen merchandise.

One issue of tremendous concern to Officer Gehret is the safety of our highways. He realized early in his career the devastation drunk drivers cause. On his own initiative he developed a comprehensive training program to educate law enforcement officers on the precise steps necessary to successfully and safely resolve DWI situations. This manual, which is now used by many other area agencies, supplements the time Officer Gehret spends in classrooms training fellow officers. Again, on his own time, he created a web site based on this program so that these proven techniques can be utilized nation-wide.

On the night of April 27, 2002, Officer Gehret proved that he truly "practices what he teaches". He stopped a vehicle after he observed the driver making an illegal turn. Since the smell of alcohol was overwhelming, Officer Gehret requested that the driver exit the vehicle and asked his permission to perform a search. Gehret felt what he knew to be a handgun inside the front pocket of the driver's overalls and immediately locked his hand on the weapon as he radioed for backup. The suspect ignored the officer's instructions not to move and to keep his hands on the vehicle away from the gun. The suspect struggled with Officer Gehret trying to distract him so that he could gain the advantage. Even after the officer had gotten the driver to the ground, the struggle continued until the suspect was able to gain access to the weapon. Fearing for his live, Officer Gehret discharged his weapon wounding the driver.

Using Officer Gehret's on-board camera, Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney's office investigated the incident. The report concluded that the officer handled the incident with tremendous self-restraint ands superb professional conduct. After reviewing the tape it was confirmed that Officer Gehret had made every reasonable effort to gain the suspect's cooperation before drawing and firing his weapon. In what was a textbook case of a DWI stop gone wrong, Officer Gehret handled the situation as he had taught so many to do; successfully and safely.

Mario Gehret has received his Advanced Police Officer Certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Houston. He is an active member of the Texas Police Association.