ENID, Okla. — Retired Enid Police Department Officer Justin Lamle was honored Thursday for his more than 25 years of serve to the department.

Chief Brian O'Rourke presented Lamle with a certificate of merit for his service, and Lamle also was given a plaque from Fraternal Order of Police acknowledging his years of service.

"Justin served 25 years and 50 days. He had a great career" O'Rourke said. "He's continued on with another law enforcement agency, which speaks volumes about his character for community service."

Lamle, now a deputy with Garfield County Sheriff's Office, thanked the dozens in attendance for coming and their words of congratulations.

"There's plenty of memories — that's for sure," he said. "I just can't say enough about it."

Lamle joined the department April 27, 1990, at the age of 24. He began as a patrolman with the department and two years later transferred into the Traffic Division. In 1995, he returned to the Patrol Division as a field training officer, responsible for training new officers.

"In 1997, I went to K-9 and spent 15 years there," Lamle said with grin. 

During his time as a K-9 officer, Lamle had two partners: Vader and Thor. Both German shepherds, Lamle said serving in the department's K-9 Unit had few dull moments.

"You're on all the really hot calls," he said. "There's always weapons calls, burglaries in progress, fights. It's the exciting calls."

He said one of the most memorable calls he had as an officer was in 2002 when he was in the K-9 Unit. It was a manhunt that turned into an all-night stand off. It began when a suspect fired at officers and hid behind a business on West Garriott.

"He's shot at us that night before and ran off into the trees," he said. "He was hiding in the trees and we stayed out all night waiting on him. We had a helicopter come in from Oklahoma City and they flew over and didn't find him."

Lamle said officers waited for daybreak and then entered the woods.

"Everyone fanned out, and we sent the dog in," Lamle said.

Vader quickly found the suspect, as 20 or so other officers converged on the scene.

"I just remember that because I was trying to get the dog off and everyone was grabbing whatever they could," Lamle said.

In December 2012, Lamle returned to the Patrol Division and served the last six months of his career at EPD as a field training officer.

He said he misses the people he worked with for 25 years the most.

"I'll just miss everybody that works here," he said. "Everyone from patrol to the girls who work in records, and dispatchers and the administration.

"You couldn't ask for a better place to work as far as retirement and benefits, good insurance. You get to do a lot. There's so many options to do different things here."

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. He can be reached at crains@enidnews.com.

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