Burke Honored By American Legion

Auglaize County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Burke was awarded the Police Officer of the Year from the American Legion Post 323 on Tuesday. Pictured from left are Burke’s parents, Dan and Lori, Burke himself and American Legion Public Relations Chairman John McJunkin.
Managing Editor

With a small collection of awards because of his exceptional service within the last year, Auglaize County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Burke added another award on Tuesday.

The son of Dan and Lori Burke and a St. Marys native received the American Legion Post 323’s  Law Officer of the Year.

“It means everything,” Burke said. “Just knowing all of the past recipients of this award and being a part of this means a great deal to me.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the American Legion is handing out its annual fire, police and educator of the year awards in different locations at different times in order to practice social distancing and limit the spread of the virus Thus, Tuesday’s recognition was held at the sheriff’s office.

“As I read a little bit about the letters and everything you received, you are definitely a fine officer,” said American Legion Public Relations Chairman John McJunkin said to Burke. “We have a board at the post and your name will be on there so you are going to be a life member in a way.”

In February, Burke received two Life Saving Awards as well as being named the Deputy of the Year in the department and two Certificate of Appreciation awards, which is given to any employee who is deserving of recognition that does not fall within other award guidelines.

The first life-saving award he earned was when he found an unresponsive elderly man at his home after being sent to the home for a welfare check. Burke said when he saw the man lying in his kitchen, he forced entry into the home and began CPR. He was assisted by Deputy Garrett Barhorst.

The second life-saving award was another unresponsive male who was found in a shower after overdosing on suspected drugs. 

The first Accommodation Award Burke received stemmed from a call Burke was dispatched to a report of suspicious activity. 

Upon arrival, Burke noticed a suspicious vehicle, found several outbuildings and an unoccupied residence had been broken into. 

Burke detained two men, who were eventually taken into custody after Burke got a confession out of them that they broke into the unoccupied residence and planned to steal items using a U-Haul truck. 

Both were arrested and taken to the Auglaize County jail on charges of breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies, and attempted theft, first-degree misdemeanors.

Burke was also dispatched to a hostage situation where he and Deputy Jacob Foxhoven responded and through their investigation, a hostage situation was not actually the case. Burke said there were some mental health issues with the caller and was eventually worked out.

Sheriff Al Solomon added that instead of running into the residence, both Burke and Foxhoven assessed the situation and worked out the issues. 

“You never know what you are going to get into, you never know what the next call is going to be so you always have to be prepared,” Burke added. 

Burke has been a member of the sheriff’s office for eight years. Before joining, Burke was a member of the Explorer program when he was 15 years old before going to the police academy and being hired in 2012. 

He is also a member of the Special Response Team and the Hostage Negotiation Team.