Fort Sill soldier honored for help in arrest

Fort Sill soldier honored for help in arrest
(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -A Fort Sill soldier was honored for assisting police in an arrest in February.

A man, who was under the influence of drugs, got aggressive with police when they tried to arrest him at a gas station. That's when Sgt. Laurence McGowan decided to step in and help officers get the man under control.

Lawton Police Sgt. Greg Ells says he's only nominated a few people in his 17 years at the department, because they usually don't have citizens who want to get involved when they need help.

McGowan stopped at EZ-GO on his way home to get his wife a drink, and that's when he saw a police car and a man walking away from two officers toward his own car.

"There was an officer walking outside and he was following an individual, and the individual looked like he was trying to run from the police officer. So, I observed it, and I didn't think anything of it until they got to the vehicle, and once they got to the vehicle I noticed there was a little bit of tussle between the officer and the individual," McGowan said.

That's when he realized that he could help and approached the officer and offered a hand.

"So, I just stepped in and helped them the best I could. He got into the back of the vehicle where I was able to get into the back of the vehicle and make sure he wasn't going for any weapons or anything like that for obvious protective reasons over the officer and everyone in the area," McGowan said.

He said when more officers arrived, he stepped back and observed the situation and helped with crowd control, but it wasn't long until he realized they needed his help again.

"From there, they got him out of the vehicle and once they got him on the ground he still struggled. So, I asked if they needed my help and that's when I stepped in and I help them get the individual into custody," McGowan said.

McGowan said he'd jump to their aid again if he saw them in need of assistance. Officer Ellis says it was great to see someone wanting to help when they were needing it.

"With all the negativity against police, it was refreshing to see that a citizen did get involved. To know that you do have the support of somebody in your community, that thinks that they need to help a police officer in need. So, it was real refreshing," Ellis said.

"He'd do it for me. So, I mean, return the favor," McGowan said.

McGowan has family members who are police officers and he was a military police officer for seven years, so that helped him when he saw that they were in need.

"When I do get out of the military, I'm going to be a police officer. So, if an officer needed my help, I would help out and I wouldn't even have a second thought about it," McGowan said.

Ellis says McGowan also asked before he got involved. He said that's very important for anyone else who sees an incident like that happening. It allows the officers to decide if they need help, and makes it clear that there's not another person who is trying to attack them

While the police appreciate help, they say you should only get involved if you see that the officer needs assistance and the situation is getting out of control.

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