State police officer gains promotion

During his 27-year career with the Indiana State Police, Roger Drew has built up a distinguished résumé.

After serving as a road trooper from 1989 to 2006, he was promoted to detective. Then last year, he became an investigative squad leader and supervised a squad of detectives.

He also has been a field training officer, a radar and defensive tactics instructor, a crash investigator and a member of the tactical intervention platoon.

In 1995, he was awarded the Gold Star — the state police’s highest honor — for his actions in saving the lives of two people who were trapped in a vehicle that crashed and caught fire on Interstate 65 in Jackson County.

More than a month ago, Drew was promoted from master trooper to first sergeant to serve as the investigative commander for the Versailles District, which covers 10 counties, including Jackson, in southeastern Indiana. He now is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the case management system and supervises the investigative division.

“I’m just looking forward now to being in this position and being at the forefront to where local agencies reach out,” Drew said.

“We use the team concept. I’m a big believer in everybody working together,” he said. “My years on the road and being a detective, I’ve made a lot of contacts through local law enforcement. I’ve had a working relationship with them. Now, they can put a face with a name, and they know that.”

Drew also has working relationships with prosecutors, judges and other officials in the district that will help him in his new job.

“I’m big on community and being out in the public side where I can get around to local law enforcement and the prosecutors and reach out to them and be there when they need something,” he said.

Drew said the previous district investigative commander took a job as a crime scene investigator, so that position opened up earlier this year.

The Indiana State Police has a promotion system for its employees, and it involves a test and an interview process. It’s then up to a board and the superintendent to make the final hiring decision.

Drew is a Dearborn County native who graduated midterm in 1985 from South Dearborn High School. Growing up, he knew he wanted to pursue military service because several family members had served the country. He also had an interest in law enforcement, but he couldn’t join the state police until he was 21. So he served four years on active duty with the Marine Corps and four years in the Reserve.

“I wanted to go into the military and further my education and opportunities for when I got out to come on the Indiana State Police,” he said.

When he finished active duty in 1989, Drew applied for the state police. He graduated from the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy in Plainfield in November of that year. He and his wife, Angie, then moved to Jackson County.

Drew began as a road trooper for the Seymour District and later was a senior trooper (10 years) and master trooper (15 years) before being promoted to detective in 2006. That district covered Jackson, Jennings and Bartholomew counties. During that time, he worked a variety of cases, including homicides, police-action shootings, sex crimes and property crimes.

“I’ve investigated or been involved in being the lead or assisting on just about everything,” he said.

Drew also responded to wrecks, with the most memorable being an incident on I-65 near the Jonesville exit in 1995. He initially was pulling over a car for speeding in the northbound lane, but then he saw the wreck on the southbound side of the highway.

Drew rushed over and learned there were two people trapped in a van. One person got out, and shortly after he helped the second person out, the van exploded.

“What we do on a daily basis, wearing this badge, we’re constantly out there putting ourselves in harm’s way,” he said.

Drew said he got so caught up in the moment that he didn’t think about the video camera in his police car recording the incident until someone pointed it out to him to check it.

The video wound up being seen around the country, and Drew was interviewed by television network news programs. He also earned several local, state and national awards, including being only the 10th Gold Star recipient since the state police started the program in 1933.

“It was just overwhelming. 1995 was like a whirlwind for me as far as doing investigations and the awards,” Drew said. “The personal accolades are nice, but my satisfaction would be my victims over the years, solving crime, working with all of the local and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.”

When the Seymour Post closed in the winter of 2010 and merged with Versailles, Drew was transferred to the there and continued as a detective.

“I’ve always loved that avenue,” he said. “Being a detective, you are the mouthpiece of the victim, and you speak for the victims. I wanted to be firsthand to where I could be their mouthpiece and make (suspects) accountable for these crimes and hold them accountable.”

Before his most recent promotion, Drew supervised five detectives in his role as an investigative squad leader.

He soon will celebrate his 27th year with the state police and said he doesn’t see himself stepping away any time soon.

“I’ve got a lot of time left in me. Staying 27 years, it has flown by,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the community the most. Me and my wife have lived here in Jackson County since I came on in 1989. This is our home. And the people that I’ve met over the years, you’re out there making a difference in the community.”

Drew file

Name: Roger Drew

Age: 48

Hometown: Manchester

Residence: Jackson County

Education: South Dearborn High School (1985); U.S. Marine Corps (1985-1989); Indiana State Police Recruit Academy (1989)

Occupation: Recently promoted to first sergeant to serve as the district investigative commander for the Versailles District of the Indiana State Police

Family: Wife, Angie; two children; four grandchildren

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.