Monday, March 8, 2010

KCPD officer earns big military honor

Though he hasn't told many people, one of our officers was recently named the U.S. Air Force's national Airman of the Year by the Reserve Officers Association. Below is the story of Officer Jacob Barlow, who works the overnight shift at Central Patrol Division (He's pictured above with his award, and the photo is courtesy of the Reserve Officers Assocation):

Officer Jacob Barlow almost missed his big moment.

On Feb. 9, he was to be named Reserve Airman of the Year at the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) annual conference in Washington, D.C. But the event happened to take place in the middle of what ROA Spokesman David Small called “the big snowpocalypse,” when 3 feet of snow fell. After three delayed flights, Officer Barlow ended up arriving a few minutes late to his big night and barely made it for his award presentation. He wasn’t upset, though.

“I was ecstatic about it,” said Officer Barlow, who works Watch I at Central Patrol Division. In the United States Air Force Reserves, he’s also known as Senior Airman Barlow.

Officer Barlow’s honor is a big one. He’s now one of only four reservists in the nation who can wear the Air Force Recognition Ribbon. The other three are at least three ranks higher than him. He was nominated for the award by his command and was up against all other U.S. individual reservists assigned to active-duty programs.

When he received notification of the award in November, he initially thought it was for making it past the lowest level of the contest.

“Then my wife looked at it and said, ‘It says something about D.C. This is it! You won the national award!’”

Senior Airman/Officer Barlow is an intelligence analyst assigned to USSTRATCOM’s Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike. He enlisted in the Air Force in 2002, and his first assignment after graduating with honors from basic and intelligence training was in the intelligence section of the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Force Base in Italy. He was then reassigned to support F-16s in the 555th Fighter Squadron and was named 2004 Operations Group Airman of the Year. The next year, he served as an intelligence analyst at the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection cell. After a stop at the 479th Expeditionary Wing in Al Udeid, Qatar, Barlow returned to the States.

He left active military duty in January 2007 to join the Kansas City Police Department, where his father, Dale Barlow, is a retired major. Officer Barlow said it had been his plan all along to spend four years in the military, then join KCPD. But he remained as an Air Force reservist and was deployed to Iraq from March to October 2009. Officer Barlow learned that he had been selected as Airman of the Year right after he got home last fall.

Officer Barlow is back on duty with KCPD but heads to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska every few months to put in his Reserve time. He said he didn’t tell many of his fellow police officers that he’s the best Air Force reservist in the country, despite military bigwigs at the award ceremony urging him to brag about the prestigious recognition.

At only 27 years old, he’s also earned the Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal and Air & Space Campaign Medal. He’s studying for a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement intelligence from American Military University.

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