They are the “good guys” – those men and women who work to keep us, our families and our communities’ safe, often putting their lives on the line in the process. It can be a thankless job but today, we get to thank one of them.
“Officer John G. Gurnsey is one of the good guys.”
We received this nomination from Josh Thompson who has known Officer John Gurnsey for 7+ years. I think Josh tells the story best in his nomination:
Officer Gurnsey has dedicated his life to law enforcement for over 25 years to the city of Indianapolis. In that time, Officer Gurnsey has worked for the Sheriff’s Department and with IMPD protecting our city through street patrols, serving as a Community liaison for Neighborhood Watch Associations, and in the courts. Officer Gurnsey has risked his life numerous times going to some of the worst and crime-ridden neighborhoods to exact drug busts, domestic violence calls, and prevent gang-related crimes in the city of Indianapolis. It takes great courage and dedication to strap on a bullet-proof vest everyday knowing that at any moment, on any call, he could face great danger; all to protect the citizens of Indianapolis. It isn’t uncommon to find Officer Gurnsey patrolling our streets and the Monon Trail talking with neighbors, bikers, and children; handing out stickers to children and unselfishly answering questions of citizens and providing tips for keeping their homes and neighborhoods safe.
In short, amidst the recent police stories that highlight corruption, indifference, and apathy among police officers, Officer Gurnsey is one of the good guys. This man has never pawned off his responsibility to his job, his neighborhood, or his city. He rarely, if ever, receives a thank you. Officer Gurnsey sees people as people – people who may be having a bad day, people who make a huge mistake and just need the proper intervention to get them back on the path of goodness.
I can recall a story he once told me of a young boy he found drinking in a city park. This young man had run away from home after a dispute with his grandmother and had been reported missing. Upon finding the young man, Officer Gurnsey obtained all of his information and contacted the man’s grandmother. Officer Gurnsey waited until back-up and the family arrived but spent that time truly connecting with the young man. What he found out was that the young man had a mental illness and was upset about having to take his medication. Officer Gurnsey talked to the young man about how everyone makes mistakes, that what may seem like controlling guardians were really people who love him and only want to see him succeed. As Officer Gurnsey put it, “Young man, bad things happen to good people. As hard as we may try, no one is a perfectly wrapped package. We all need someone to help us be who and what we want to be.” I don’t know of many officers who would take the time to relate with a person in trouble rather than just treat them like a criminal.
Because of this experience, Officer Gurnsey realized that many people he encounters may suffer from a mental illness and he sought to further his knowledge of mental illness by becoming a CIT officer (Crisis Intervention Trainer) and signed up for continuing education courses through National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) without prompting from his superiors—all so he could do his job that much better.
Recently, Officer Gurnsey had a no good, very bad day. His credit and debit card information was stolen and used in North Carolina. It took nearly a week to get the situation squared away. This man works tirelessly for the department while putting himself through school at IUPUI’s Master’s Program for criminal justice. He wants to be a teacher once he retires–again, dedicating his time and energy to his community.
Josh suggested to us that Officer Gurnsey could use a foot massage – hopefully giving him just a little bit of relief from being on his feet all day. So we took that advice and sent him a gift card for Foot Finesse. Officer Gurnsey is grateful for the gift and looks forward to using it soon.
If you know of a person – civil servant or otherwise – who could use a little surprise gift, nominate them for a sussy from the Sussy Project today!