NEW: FREEMAN POLICE ASKS FOR HELP FROM THE PUBLIC
JEREMY WALTNER – EDITOR & PUBLISHER
The Freeman Police Department is asking the public to be diligent about noticing suspicious vehicles out of safety for others in light of a number of concerning incidents.
Last Thursday night, Oct. 20, during the home football playoff game in Freeman, a teenager out for a run in town noticed a black pickup truck following her. Worried, the runner called her mother who in turn contacted Freeman Police Officer Jay Slevin, who was on duty at the time.
Nothing came of it, but Slevin was able to locate a vehicle similar to the description and take down its license plate number “just in case somebody reports something similar and that same plate number shows up,” he said. “Then we’ll have something.”
The Oct. 20 incident came five weeks after another local teenager, Freeman High School senior Kate Miller, reported a scare in Parker while she was filling her car with gas. In that case, four men in an SUV pulled up next to her waiting for her to exit her vehicle before driving away.
And there have been a number of reports nationally about kidnappings, including a 34-year-old marathon runner in Tennessee who was abducted and killed last month during her early-morning jog.
“The only thing we can do (as law enforcement) is dig into whatever details we get,” Slevin said. “We appreciate the calls.”
Slevin said the public can be helpful by being observant and in contact with police.
“In a situation like these, the public has a bigger impact on preventing and stopping this than what we can do,” he said. “It’s just my set of eyes and (police chief Scott Brewer’s) set of eyes, but then we’ve got 1,000 sets of eyes all over town.
“Public awareness will make a big difference,” he continued. “It really takes our whole community working together to prevent this from happening.”
Slevin says cell phone photos and video can go a long way.
“Everybody’s got a smartphone in their pocket,” he said. “A picture of a license plate could make all the difference in the world. It at least gives us a chance to try and get there in time to put a stop to it.”
And he says general safety practices should be implemented.
“If you normally go for a jog at night by yourself, maybe consider bringing somebody with you,” Slevin said. “Two people is safer than you by yourself.”
He said if somebody finds themselves in an emergency or urgent situation, they should call 911.
Otherwise, to report suspicious behavior, call the Freeman Police Department at 605-925-7025. If nobody is in the office and out on patrol, the call will route to the police cell phone carried by whoever is on duty at the time.