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Officer Who Fired Fatal Shot Honored as Officer of the Year

May 01, 2002
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Officer Who Fired Fatal Shot Honored as Officer of the Year

Associated Press

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - The family of a man killed in a standoff with police last year is upset that the Waukesha Police Department named the woman who fired the fatal shot as its officer of the year.

Officer Shelly Bandow received the award Wednesday from the Waukesha Noon Optimist Club after being nominated by a majority of department supervisors.

Bandow, an eight-year veteran, was chosen for several reasons, including her "courage and professionalism" during the investigation and inquest that followed the June 12 shooting of Timothy Whettam, Police Chief Leslie Sharrock said.

"I'm sensitive to the concerns people might have about this choice," Sharrock said. "But it no less speaks to the ability of the officers who had to deal with the situation."

The award opened old wounds, said Whettam's father, John Whettam. He said the family was not impressed with Bandow's behavior during the inquest.

"It seemed like she was smiling and smirking on the stand," he said.

Whettam's family has said he was distraught over the threat of prison because of recent drunken-driving arrests. Armed with a handgun, Whettam, 36, fired shots inside and outside his mother's duplex before a three-hour standoff began.

During the standoff, dozens of shots were fired by both police and Whettam. An autopsy later revealed he had a 0.20 blood-alcohol level and cocaine in his system when he died.

Sharrock said the whole incident was unfortunate and no officer would want to go through such a tragic event.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer ruled after the inquest that police acted appropriately and lawfully.

The club also honored Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy David Wellman for his using a defibrillator to shock a 49-year-old town of Waukesha man who had a heart attack.

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