Ithaca, N.Y. — Ithaca police Inv. Donald Barker was honored by the Kiwanis Club of Ithaca on Monday for approximately three decades of police work that included homicide investigations and major drug cases.
“(Barker) is a book of knowledge and the ‘go to’ guy for our officers on the street, because Don knows people and seems to never forget a face,” Chief John Barber said at the ceremony.
“When Don retires, he leaves a huge void within our agency.”
Also honored at Kendal of Ithaca on Monday was Ithaca police Officer Derek Barr, who is also retiring. (Check back for another story on Barr later.)
Here were just some of the major cases in which Barker was involved, including state and federal wire taps, according to Chief Barber:
— June 2000 | “Operation Hot Shot” led to the arrest of drug kingpin Wayne “HotShot” Douglas. Seizure of multiple vehicles, cocaine, cash and weapons.
— July 2002 | Arrest of Kenneth Benton during a traffic stop resulting in recovering of 164G of cocaine and 66G of marijuana.
— Summer 2004 | “Operation Dre” led to the arrest of Andre Haynes and others. Investigation involved NYSP, DEA, Cortland Sheriff, TCSD.
— October 2007 | Arrest of David Harrington who was charged in connection with three bank robberies that occurred in Watkins Glen, Corning and Ithaca.
— December 2010 | Played role in investigation that led to the arrest of Jerry Myrick. Myrick was wanted in connection to a prison escape in Alabama, and a large amount of marijuana and handguns were recovered.
— October 2012 | Involved in the arrest of Matthew Whitney, who was accused of placing a box outside of the Commons branch of Bank of America labeled “Bomb.”
— January 2013 | Arrest of Tyrell McCargo in connection to the shooting of a man in the Collegetown area.
— March 2014 | Breon Brooks arrested after connecting burglaries in Ithaca, Cayuga Heights and elsewhere in Tompkins County.
Inv. Barker connected similar footprints and surveillance footage to Brooks, then got a GPS search warrant for Brooks’ vehicle. Brooks reportedly committed another burglary during this surveillance, and a search warrant led to the recovery of stolen property and a stolen (and loaded) handgun.
Barber, Sheriff Ken Lansing and Deputy Pete Chief Tyler were among those who spoke in support of Barker’s work and investigations.
In a short speech, Barker spoke about the importance of treating people with respect — and how that has resulted in long-term dividends for his ability to police.
To this day, Barker said, some of the suspects he first worked with still come forward to him with information because of how he treated them as a younger officer.
Barker also thanked his fellow officers for their help throughout the years.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great people,” Barker said in a short speech.
“I always thought whatever I would take in I would try to give back out.”