Chief honors two IPD officers who nabbed murder suspect

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 15, 2004

They have the respect of their superior, the gratitude of their city and a new certificate to prove it.

Ironton police officers Mitchell J. Crum and James N. "Jimmy" Akers, who arrested the suspect in a Lexington, Ky., murder last month, have received official commendation from police Chief Bill Garland and a letter of thanks from Mayor John Elam.

Crum and Akers arrested Jason A. Russell, who was wanted for the murder of retired Catholic priest Joseph J. Pilger, during a traffic stop in the vicinity of Fifth and Walnut streets.

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"This guy was charged with murder, and our guys caught him without incident," Garland said. "They were outstanding and when they do something well, to me, they deserve the recognition."

In accepting the commendation, Akers and Crum pointed out that three other officers also deserved credit for the arrest: Capt. Jerry Leach, Capt. Dan Johnson and Sgt. Anthony Forest assisted in Russell's apprehension. Garland said those three officers were given letters of appreciation for their effort as well.

Russell was the subject of a regional manhunt in early December after Pilger's body was found at his Lexington home. He had been badly beaten. Leach said local authorities were made aware earlier that week that Russell could be in the area and had been actively looking for him.