Reservist named officer of the year

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Chief cites Kleeman's professionalism, role in preventing murder

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

CANNELTON - Cannelton police officer and reserve-force commander John Kleeman was named the city's 2009 police officer of the year during a board of public works and safety meeting Feb. 8.

"He donated countless hours to our department over the last year," Dickenson told the board. "He attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Instructor Development School, conducted numerous training sessions for our employees and he's responsible for our department's reserve force. His 15-plus years of experience as a police officer are an asset to our new officers who need field training."

Kleeman is available at any time, day or night at a minute's notice, the chief continued, "and that kind of dedication is hard to come by."

Dickenson reminded the board that Kleeman earned a meritorious-service award last year by the Tell City Board of Public Works and Safety "for his role in helping to prevent a premeditated homicide from occurring."

As The News reported in November, Kleeman and three Tell City officers were recognized for their investigation into a case against Nicholas Brown, who was arrested the night of July 6, 2007, and charged with plotting the death of his ex-wife's husband.

Kleeman, who works as a paramedic and was on duty with Perry County EMS that night, saw Brown sitting in a parked vehicle at Perry County Memorial Hospital. As Kleeman drove past the man's car, he saw Brown hold up his hands in an attempt to shield his face from view. Kleeman saw that the man was wearing blue surgical gloves and telephoned a Tell City officer and asked him to investigate. Questioning revealed Brown was waiting for his ex-wife's husband to pass by and he intended to kill him.

Dickenson said "Kleeman's professionalism, character and integrity make him a great role model for our officers and our citizens."

"The department has put together a plaque for John," Mayor Smokey Graves said, "and it is with great humility that I ... present this to you," he told Kleeman. He also presented a pin Kleeman can wear on his uniform and said, "I certainly want to thank you at the highest level for your work and look forward to working with you this year."