2014 Indiana NENA Award Recipients

Pictured from left to right

  • Bartholomew Co. Director, Ed Reuter
  • Dispatcher, Heather Lock
  • Dispatcher, Kelly Landers
  • LaGrange Co. Chief Deputy, Jeff Campos

Teamwork Award-Co Winners

On February 2, 2014, Michael Elliot, an escaped prisoner, who was convicted of a quadruple homicide in Michigan, forced his way into a vehicle with a knife and kidnapped a woman, then fleeing into Indiana. At approximately 11:35 p.m., the LaGrange County Dispatch Communications Center received a call from the woman stating she was being held hostage and they were at a gas station just off of the Toll Road. Dispatcher Heather Lock, who remained calm, instructed her to tell her captor that she needed to use the restroom and then to lock the door and not come out. The victim was also instructed to look for the address as she entered the gas station and she was able to provide the dispatchers this key information, which later was crucial in leading to his arrest. Dispatcher Landers worked with other jurisdictions and provided them additional details as they became available. Landers and Lock continued to search the internet in an effort to gain additional information for the first responders. There were times the victim wanted to leave the restroom because she thought the captor would be coming for her. She was instructed to stay locked in the restroom and stay on the phone Dispatcher Kelly Landers worked intensely to find where she was calling from and was finally able to determine her location and contacted the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department to respond and was able to keep them updated on the status of the situation until police officers arrived. Both dispatchers remained calm and were able to keep the victim calm as well.

It is without a doubt the instructions given to the victim likely saved her life and played a substantial role in the capture of the suspect in less than 24 hours.