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Thomas honored by KSP for life-saving efforts

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Becky Barnes,
Editor
bbarnes@cynthianademocrat.com

Cynthiana Police Ptl. Jeff Thomas was recently on the receiving end of a citation. However, his was an honor for his life-saving efforts to bring a woman who had jumped into the river to safety and not for any violations.
He has been a Cynthiana Police officer for nearly nine years, earning numerous awards for his service.
Last week, Ptl. Jeff Thomas received the Kentucky State Police’s highest honor given to a civilian, or non-KSP officer, “who performed an extraordinary act of service or heroism in direct support of an officer of [the KSP] engaged in official performance of duty.”
According to the program  for the KSP annual awards banquet, which was held Friday, July 21, at the Lexington Convention Center, the two KSP troopers who were also honored with the KSP Lifesaving Medal were Tpr. Troy Brooks and Tpr. Joseph Filiatreau.
On June 17, 2016, Thomas was on duty and at CPD headquarters on East Pleasant Street. It was late morning, and his radio soon became active with the dispatcher’s voice.
A woman had jumped from the West Pleasant Street bridge into the Licking River.
Thomas and Ptl. Shannon Clem made their way to the river and arrived while the two troopers were also arriving.
Thomas, Brooks and Filiatreau got to the river’s edge after jumping a fence at the Rev. Ross Park. They took off their equipment and uniform shirts and jumped in after the woman.
“Filiatreau got to her first,” Thomas said, noting that the woman, later identified as Tina Maybrier, was floating face down in the water.
The river was about six feet deep where she jumped in. However, where she was pulled in was about chest-deep, Thomas said.
Filiatreau relayed the woman to Thomas and then on to Brooks and to the waiting Cynthiana firefighters and EMS responders on the riverbank.
Thomas, who grew up in Cynthiana and is familiar with the river where it flows along the edge of the city, said he was fairly confident in his swimming abilities. He knew where the river bottom was flat and where it was shallow.
“This would have had a different outcome if the river was rolling,” Thomas said, noting that the victim would likely have not surfaced after jumping and the rescuers’ lives would have been at a much greater risk.
“I was more concerned about stepping on a needle or broken glass than anything,” Thomas said.
Cynthiana Police Chief Ray Johnson and Assistant Chief William Denton accepted the honor on Thomas’ behalf. Thomas was unable to attend the banquet due to a prior commitment.
“This was a real honor,” Johnson said of Thomas’ award. “It just goes to show that he went above and beyond what was expected of him.”
Johnson said there were 80 people recognized during the banquet, 77 of whom were state troopers or commercial vehicle enforcement officers.
Johnson said city officials are extremely proud of Thomas and the honor the award brings to the city.
“Since I’ve been here, I can’t remember anyone ever being recognized for something like this,” Johnson said, noting that CPD officers are annually honored for DUI arrests and seat belt safety through KSP. Thomas has previously been honored for the number of DUI arrests he made in a single year.
“He did what he had to do,” Johnson commended. “In this line of work you have to be able to think on your feet, and that’s exactly what he did.”