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SBPD Salute

January 4th, 2008 by Teri Lanning

An “awards corner for exemplary service” on the behalf of the South Bend Police Department and the City of South Bend.

The stories vary. The incidents are diverse. From daily business to deadly encounters, South Bend Police Department officers and civilians answer their call to serve and protect the citizens and neighborhoods of South Bend. Unsung heroes under the radar—more often than not—public safety professionals are sworn to fulfill their duties without expectations. No “hearts and flowers,” and many times a thankless job— most say that at the end of the day, their pride in “doing the right thing” is enough.

Nonetheless, this feature is an opportunity to share the inspiring stories of those who dedicate themselves to going “above and beyond the call of duty” in many ways…from small acts of kindness to saving lives. It’s also a way to say thanks…Pass it on. Want to share an upbeat story of how our police department people helped you? Please email Public Information Officer Teri Lanning at tlanning@southbendin.gov with your story idea!

We will present this as a monthly feature as awards are noted and commended.


SBPD “Midnights” officers praised for supporting crime victims at restaurant

“You are the police; you do make a difference, and you do a wonderful job for our community. Thanks from myself, and my staff—we do appreciate each and every one of you!” Applebee’s Manager Betsy Carmean, Elkhart

Applebee’s Manager Betsy Carmean surrounded by Third Detail officers on a recent evening

Heartfelt emotions and strong words filled her recent compliments regarding Third Detail South Bend Police Department officers, following an armed robbery towards the end of restaurant hours at Applebee’s, 3703 Portage, on October 20, 2007.

Applebee’s Manager Betsy Carmean and her restaurant staff take pride in providing good food and service. But what Betsy was served up as a crime victim was not for the weak of stomach. In her own words, she wrote to the department, as well as to the South Bend Tribune:

“I was the manager that got robbed at the Applebee’s this past weekend. I want everyone to know if it was not for the training I have had with Applebee’s and for the class I am taking right now at the South Bend Police Department (Citizen’s Police Academy; Lt. Dick Powers and Cpl. Aaron Cassel)—I may have lost it.

I was taught to stay calm. If you work with money you should always keep in the back of your mind that you could get robbed. IF you ever get robbed PLEASE just do what they say. Try to remember what they were wearing, how tall they are, and what direction they leave. None of my employees or guests knew we were getting robbed while we were open because I tried to stay calm. I was very, very scared and things did run through my head like fainting, but no matter what ran through my head it would have left my employees alone with the robbers. Just do what they ask and most of the time they will leave quickly. I was a victim this weekend but I would rather be a victim than a dead woman right now.

I want to thank the GREAT South Bend Police Department for getting there so quickly. You guys are the best…and then to all the guys that come in to eat, that have called and taken the time to give a hug and show their support: Sgt. Cori Bair; Ptl. Jeremy Gadsby; Cpl. Andy Nowak; Cpl. Frank Beigelbeck; Cpl. Chris Houser; Cpl. Sheldon Scott; Cpl. John Cox and all the others. Thank you to the SBPD for taking the time to have the free class for the community. It has turned out to be the best class I have ever taken.

As far as the robbers go, I pray for you to get caught so you don’t do this to anyone else. What big men you are to hold a gun to a person and take what they work hard for. Try getting a job and work like everyone else does…I am sure your mothers would be very ashamed of you both because no mother wants their child to be a menace to the community, and take from others.”

Betsy recalled what happened that night in the police report, when two male black suspects came into the restaurant at about 9:25 p.m. and ordered food from their waitress. About an hour later the men paid for their meals and continued sitting at their table. Then Betsy was called over to the table by one of the men. She was asked to lean in so he could speak to her, and was told the other man had a gun—as he put it into her side. She had to stay calm as he requested they walk to the back room for cash. While she was doing as instructed, the suspect pointed the gun at her and told her to hurry, and then he exited the store with the money and the other suspect.

Betsy and other witnesses to the robbery were able to relay a good suspect and vehicle description. The case is still under investigation, and Captain Phil Trent noted that the “brazen” behavior of the robbers may link them to several other commercial robberies…including two restaurants (Applebee’s and Long John Silvers on Ireland Road) where the suspects have enjoyed a meal before committing their crime.

Betsy said it has been difficult for her to return to work, but the Midnights officers have continued to frequent the restaurant, checking on them so that it makes her and her staff feel safer. She remembered deceased officer, Cpl. Scott Severns, as one of the first SBPD officers she befriended while working at the restaurant.

“Since I have been at the Portage Road Applebee’s and used to know Scott, it has been my focus to help out with the police department since his death. He was the first one in to eat, and I miss that. And Nick (Pollizotto) also used to come in, but was shot and killed in the line of duty, April 2007. The others on the night shift that come in, asked if we could dedicate the table where Scott used to sit. So we did, and we have several photos and plaques, a Memorial Wall at the entry door for our Fallen Heroes…and a weeping birch outside in memory of the guys,” smiled Betsy.

Victims of crime…those officers murdered, and herself held at gunpoint and being robbed…leaves a bitter taste in her mouth. Yet the people at Applebee’s want to continue to serve and support the SBPD and the community, just as the officers have served and protected them.

  
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