Riverton Police Department chief Eric Hurtado conducted two award presentations during this week’s Riverton City Council meeting, recognizing a citizen and two dispatchers for actions they’ve taken to support the community.
Hurtado presented the Citizen Appreciation Award to Donald Scott, who helped the RPD apprehend two people suspected of committing fraud and theft across multiple states.
“The two suspects had been on the run, and with Mr. Scott’s help, (they) were arrested for several felony warrants,” Hurtado said. “The quick arrests would not have been possible if not for the determination and cooperation from Mr. Scott.”
The incident occurred in June, when Scott was looking to buy a used e-bike online, Hurtado said.
“There was a local posting on Facebook for two such bikes,” Hurtado said. “(Scott) thought that the asking price for these bikes was extremely low but went ahead and met with the sellers of these bikes.”
Scott inspected the bikes during the meeting, taking note of their VIN numbers “as well as the sellers’ vehicles,” Hurtado said, and the sellers “became nervous and left behind the e-bikes before driving away.”
Scott took pictures of their vehicles as they left the scene, then called the police, who determined that the e-bikes “were indeed stolen,” Hurtado said.
But Scott “didn’t stop there,” Hurtado continued – instead, he “drove around Riverton until he was able to spot the suspect’s vehicle … at a (local) hotel.”
Scott notified the RPD about the location of the sellers, and a team of officers arrived and identified the suspects, who Hurtado said “were responsible for ongoing fraud (and) theft across multiple states.”
“Various agencies ranging jurisdictions in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and others have been searching for these two suspects, who have eluded police,” Hurtado said. “These two suspects had wreaked havoc across multiple states, stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, and (they) were successfully taken into custody due to the quick, commendable action of Mr. Donald Scott.”
After Hurtado presented the award, Mayor Tim Hancock expressed appreciation for Scott and others like him, who are “willing to put their necks out there and keep an eye on things and try to take care of the community.”
“There’s a lot of citizen involvement in our community that really helps law enforcement,” Hancock said. “What makes the biggest difference … is community involvement and community assistance.”
Hurtado presented the Meritorious Service Award to dispatchers Valerie Hinkle and Meagan Ayars, who were on duty the night a “small child” was brought to the city’s 911 center as the result of a law enforcement call.
“They had limited resources available to care for the victim at the late hour that the child was brought in,” Hurtado said. “They demonstrated the highest level of compassion by using supplies from their homes to feed the victim. They also used their ingenuity to craft a warm place for the victim to sleep while under their care in our 911 center until a team from the Department of Family Services was able to arrive.
“Thanks to the kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness of dispatchers Hinkle and Harris, they minimized a child’s stressful situation that night.”
Hancock noted that, while caring for the child for several hours, the dispatchers continued to “simultaneously” answer phone calls from citizens, communicate with officers, work their computers, and monitor local surveillance cameras.
“They’ve got so many things going through their heads at one time,” he said. “To add a small child to the mix is very commendable. … The fact that you were willing to do that, (I) definitely appreciate you, and it’s well deserved. So thank you for your service every day for Riverton.”