As one Boonville cop retires after over four decades of service, a rookie steps up to take his place.
Wendell Ingram, who has served the Boonville Police Department for 43 years and is turning 73 this June, was honored with a retirement banquet at Quail Crossing Golf Club last Wednesday, Feb. 27. Dozens of members of the Boonville community, from police, fire and citizens, came out to feast on Mission BBQ and pay their respects to officer Ingram and his years dedicated to keeping Boonville safe.
"We cannot be more proud and honored to have had him be our brother, mentor and friend," the BPD posted to their Facebook page last Wednesday. "Enjoy your retirement -- we have the watch from here."
Jeremy Rudolph, a man Ingram took in as his own son at a very young age,
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also supported the retiring officer at the banquet.
"It's amazing to see my idol do so much," Rudolph said, "and do something so big his whole life."
Ingram's replacement is quite similar to him: a young vet who doesn't fit into the mold of a quiet office life.
Meet Logan O'Bryan, a 26-year-old Army Vet, who was just officially hired on and sworn into the department last Monday, Feb. 25 at Boonville City Hall.
Born and raised in Folsomville, Ingram ensited in the Marine Corps at 19-years-old. O'Bryan enlisted in the Army in 2011 and served with the 101st Airborne Division until 2014.
After his service, Ingram tried working at Alcoa for a few years, while O'Bryan attempted to work with his own family business in Evansville. Both men were too restless, and sought out a more adventurous career, and one that would also make a positive impact on their community.
"I hated Alcoa," Ingram said. "I'm just more of an outside person."
"I don't want to just be in a factory with my sole purpose being to make money," O'Bryan said. "And I want to make a difference and a positive influence."
O'Bryan said he believes his time being deployed in Afghanistan has prepared him dutiful for his next role as a Boonville Police officer.
"It certainly gave me the proper mindset," he said. "I have integrity and I understand the importance of security."
In the military, O'Bryan's main job was to communicatie using radios, skills he was able to translate to his role as a dispatcher with the Warrick County Sheriff's department for six months.
O'Bryan said during his time as a dispatcher, he ended up meeting with Geoffrey North, assistant chief of the BPD, when he discovered there was going to be an opening, with Ingram's impending retirement.
"So I tested with them, did a written and physical exam, then did another interview with officers to talk about how I would handle different scenarios," O'Bryan said. "I then did an interview with the board of works, the mayor and chief Daryl Saltzman."
When he finally got the call offering him a position, O'Bryan couldn't believe it.
"It definitely didn't settle in right away."
O'Bryan said he has a great support system, with his girlfriend and soon to be fiancé, Sarah Bueno, being incredibly encouraging of his new career choice.
"She's almost more excited than I am," he said.
They also share her 5-year-old son, Liam Bueno, who was able to proudly pin a badge on his future-step-dad's chest during the swearing in ceremony last week.
For the next few months, O'Bryan will learn the ropes of the BPD through "working on the streets and ride-alongs," before he heads out to the Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in July.
"It probably will be around December until I am officially done," O'Bryan said. "But I can't wait to interact with the Boonville people and build up relationships."
The BPD is also thrilled to have O'Bryan join their ranks.
"We have high expectations of him," the BPD posted to their Facebook page last Monday. "And know he will be an asset to the BPD and the city of Boonville. Welcome to the family, Logan O'Bryan."
O'Bryan said he has gotten to spend a little bit of time with the man he is replacing, and feels honored to even have known him for a short while.
"I know I can never fill his boots," he said, "but I'll do the best I can."
But, Ingram said he is confident O'Bryan and the rest of the fresh officers in the BPD will serve the community well.
"We've got just a lot of outstanding young officers," Ingram said. "It's being left in good hands."