Source: Sherman Publications

Police pride: Brandon deputies honored with 16 awards

by Susan Bromley

May 08, 2013

Brandon Twp.- Deputies here are being recognized with 16 awards for their exceptional work, particularly in two extraordinary cases in the township.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office recently released a list of 2013 OCSO Awards recipients, and officers from the Brandon substation were well-represented.

“We have 11-and-a-half deputies (one deputy is shared with Independence Township) in this station and we received 16 commendations from the sheriff,” said Sgt. Pete Burkett. “I am very proud to be commander of such dedicated and professional police officers and the citizens of Brandon should be, too.”

Burkett, along with former detective and now Sgt. Dale Brown, and deputies Ken Alderman, David Rheaume, James Saunders, and Arnie Terrell all received citations for bravery for their work in apprehending James Walter Graves, 58.

According to police reports, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded at 10:47 a.m. Aug. 1 to the area of Inner Drive and Flint Boulevard for a report of a man with a gun. Dispatch advised a male subject, identified as Graves, was dressed in camouflage and was walking down the street carrying a shotgun. Gunshots had been heard and the subject was last seen on Patterson at Inner Drive.

Before deputies’ arrival, Graves allegedly pointed his shotgun at one woman, assaulted another by punching her, and damaged a vehicle by repeatedly striking it with his hands and feet. He was threatening to kill sheriff’s deputies and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Ten OCSO patrol units responded to the incident, deploying what Burkett called “an active shooter detail,” a procedure every officer in the department has been trained for as a result of Columbine, the high school shooting tragedy that occurred April 20, 1999 in which two students shot to death a teacher and 12 of their fellow classmates.

“We’re not waiting for SWAT, this guy was actively shooting up and down the street,” said Burkett at the time. “We did a fighting diamond formation and went through the neighborhood. We got him before he went in his house which was great, because we found multiple firearms in the home. He was ready to go to battle.”

Graves is currently awaiting trial on numerous charges, including one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a 4-year felony; one count of felonious assault, a 5-year felony; one count of malicious destruction of property, $1,000-$20,000, a 5-year felony; one count of simple assault, a 93-day misdemeanor; and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison and one charge of delivery/manufacture of more than 20 marijuana plants.

Burkett, Alderman, Rheaume and deputies Charles Liggett and Eric Overall received commendation citations and Brown and Terrell received professional excellence citations for their work in investigating the murder of a 4-month-old Brandon Township baby and in helping to secure the conviction of Donald Kyle Raleigh, found guilty of the felony murder of the child last week (see story, page 8).

“The whole crew that worked on this case came together smoothly and had a confession (from Raleigh) within four hours of being called to the home,” said Burkett. “After a weeklong trial, the jury deliberated less than an hour before coming back with a guilty verdict. When Dale (Brown) and the prosecutor walked in to the jury room after the guilty verdict was read, the jury gave them a standing ovation.”

Other awards granted to Brandon OCSO personnel included an equivalency bar for Brown (who was given the state’s Domestic Violence Hero Award for his efforts in fighting abuse), a meritorious service citation for Deputy Adam Kammer, and professional excellence citation for Deputy Nick Pung (now detective of the Brandon substation).