APD detective recognized for dedication, work with domestic violence survivors
A detective with the Ardmore Police Department was recognized and presented with an award this week for his dedication to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Cpl. Landon Gary has been in law enforcement for six years and for the past three years he has worked closely with advocates at the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma to aid victims seeking help, while also investigating crimes involving domestic violence or sexual assault.
“He handles many, many of our cases and has guided us through some of the toughest cases that we’ve seen in this county,” said DeeDee Hunter, a victim advocate at the Family Shelter. “Anytime that we make a call he is there to answer that call and he treats the victims with dignity and kindness, and compassion and empathy.”
The Family Shelter has a nomination committee that considers individuals for awards that are handed out at the shelter’s annual Casino Night fundraiser, said Family Shelter Executive Director Kathy Manning. This year, it was a unanimous decision to present Cpl. Landon Gary with an award for his dedication.
Though the fundraiser was pushed to next year due to COVID-19, Gary was presented with the Community Service award during a small celebration on Monday, Oct. 12.
“Landon has gone above and beyond in all that he does. He is just a stellar guy,” Manning said. “Everything he does for survivors— he works tirelessly, so he’s pretty incredible. He’s definitely made an impact in the field.”
As a detective with APD, Gary is assigned any case that involves domestic abuse or sexual assault on an adult. Gary then works with the victim to investigate the case and will help get them in contact with an advocate at the Family Shelter.
Advocates then help victims get the resources they need such as counseling, shelter, a safety plan, or other crisis resources, and will accompany them to court trials and hearings. Manning said the initial contact Gary and other law enforcement officers have with victims is crucial.
“He sits down on their level and has a conversation about what is going on. Those initial contacts are so important with that client going further into the investigation,” Manning said. “When someone like Landon is speaking to a survivor, and the way that he speaks to them and empowers them is pretty incredible."
Hunter has worked closely with Gary for the past three years and said he is very proactive about bringing survivors to them for help, and making them feel like their voice has been heard.
“We’ve had multiple convictions that he has put together the investigations on, and gone through the judicial system and gotten convictions where they have gone to prison,” Hunter said. “That is such a win for the victims, where it turns them into more empowered survivors.”
Gary said working these types of cases can be tough at times, but never as tough as what the victims had to go through themselves. “The victimless crimes are always easy to work, but these are survivors,” Gary said. “These are people who’ve been through some of the worst things that anybody could go through.”
Being able to get someone prosecuted for these types of crimes is always a win, Gary said. The good that comes out of his work is what makes him so passionate and dedicated.
“A lot of times they don’t necessarily have a voice and whenever I’m able to get involved and investigate it to the point that maybe they get justice, I can be a voice for them in times where maybe they weren’t able to,” Gary said.
Gary said he is honored to be recognized for his work and urges anyone who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault to reach out to either the Ardmore Police Department or the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma.
“I’m very, very thankful that they thought of me during this. It’s not something that we go looking for, but it’s always nice,” Gary said. “I’m just very thankful and very humble that they decided to choose me this year.”
If you or someone you know experiences domestic violence, The Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma offers services, including free counseling and crisis services. The 24 hour Crisis Hotline number is (580) 226-6424. The Ardmore Police Department can be reached at (580) 223-1212.