Two Jasper State Troopers Honored At Awards Ceremony

Sergeant Robert Gardner  Photo: Indiana State Police

Sergeant Robert Gardner
Photo: Indiana State Police

From Indiana State Police

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis: Two Troopers from the Jasper District were honored this afternoon at an awards ceremony at the Indiana Government Center.

Sergeant Robert Gardner and Trooper Jarrod Lents were presented awards for their service to the State of Indiana.

Sergeant Gardner was presented with a Commendation Award. On November 2, 2009, a 15 year-old female was reported missing to the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department by her mother and step-father. While taking the initial report, the responding deputy discovered the girl’s body in the backyard of the family’s home. Jasper District detectives were called to the scene to investigate. Sergeant Gardner immediately took a leadership role in this investigation and within two days, the investigation culminated in the arrest of the step-father.

Prior to the trial, Sergeant Gardner spent countless hours assisting the Spencer County Prosecutor with the preparation of this case.

In May of 2012, the trial in this matter began. Defense experts were flown in from as far away as California. Everything from Sergeant Gardner’s initial involvement to the final confession and arrest was scrutinized and examined to the minutest detail. Sergeant Gardner personally spent over four days testifying during this trial. Once the case finally went to deliberation, it took the jury less than three hours to convict the defendant on all criminal counts.

Trooper Jarrod Lents  Photo: Indiana State Police

Trooper Jarrod Lents
Photo: Indiana State Police

Meanwhile, Trooper Lents was awarded the Purple Heart and a Combat Action Award. On June 17, 2013, Trooper Lents, a nine year veteran of the Indiana State Police, responded to a report of a disturbance at the Black Oak Armament gun shop in Montgomery, Indiana. The Daviess County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center was listening to a 911 call from the gun shop owner who was arguing and struggling with an individual who was in his store. During this initial confrontation, the suspect fired a round from his handgun but thankfully no one was struck.

At this time, Trooper Lents arrived and parked behind the suspect’s vehicle as he was attempting to leave the business. Trooper Lents exited his commission and approached the suspect’s driver’s door when the suspect pointed a 9mm handgun at him. Trooper Lents was able to knock the handgun away and proceeded to find a position of cover while exchanging gunfire with the suspect. Trooper Lents knew that he had been hit at least two times during the initial contact with the suspect and believed his wounds were possibly fatal in nature. Trooper Lents continued to exchange rounds with the suspect until the suspect received a round to the head which ended the confrontation.

Trooper Lents was struck at least five times during the exchange of gunfire with the suspect but it was determined that his injuries were not life threatening due to wearing his ballistic vest. The investigation later indicated that the suspect was attempting to rob the gun shop and had been prescribed medication two weeks prior that had drastically changed his demeanor.

The actions and dedication to duty of both Sergeant Gardner and Trooper Lents are in keeping with the finest traditions of law enforcement and reflect great credit upon themselves and the Indiana State Police Department.

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