Patrolman Gary "Kevin" Helms | Scholarships, Awards & Contests

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2002 NRA Officer Of The Year Award Winner

Patrolman Gary "Kevin" Helms, Shelby County Tennessee Sheriffs Office

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Patrolman Gary "Kevin" Helms of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office in Arlington, Tennessee, has been selected the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2002.

Patrolman Helms, a 6-year veteran of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, has played many roles within the department. Patrolman Helms has worked in the civil, community police, street crimes, and fugitive units, and his current assignment, uniform patrol. Some of Patrolman Helms' achievements include over 300 arrests and 2,000 radio calls. His diligent work has resulted in the seizure of over 28 lbs. of marijuana, 29 ounces of crack and powder cocaine, 13 vehicles, 50 weapons confiscated, and over $25,000 in cash.

The recommendation to honor Patrolman Helms cites his actions on January 6, 2002. While en route to a vandalism call, Patrolman Helms noticed a vehicle causing a hazard. He stopped to check on the vehicle and asked the driver if he needed assistance.

The driver produced a handgun and shot Patrolman Helms in the chest. The bullet was stopped by his body armor and left only a superficial wound.

Using his police training and competitive shooting experience, Patrolman Helms managed to elude the suspect and take cover by his vehicle. Patrolman Helms then returned fire, striking the suspect several times. The suspect again shot at Patrolman Helms, striking the police radio clipped to his uniform. The blockage of the bullet by the radio most likely saved his life. At this point, Patrolman Helms was able to radio for assistance.

Among his other activities, Patrolman Helms has also attended gang identification school and street survival school. He was accepted to the Sheriff's Office Pistol Team in September 2000, and since then has won numerous shooting awards and trophies.

In August 2002, Patrolman Helms received two purple star merit awards and a medal of valor. He was also presented with a survivor club award from the Dupont Company, and has been added to the Second Chance Body Armor's Survivor Saves Club. Officer Helms is the 857th officer to escape death or serious injury due to wearing Second Chance Body Armor.

Kevin's dedication to his job and his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty prove that he is a valuable asset to both the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Shelby County.

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