Clark deputy killed Sunday once celebrated for community work with ‘patrolling’ kids

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Yates once told the Springfield News-Sun that “a good police officer could make a difference.”

Yates was talking with a reporter for a story about two boys who were “practicing” to become police officers by doing patrols at the Ridgewood Court Townhomes apartment complex.

» FROM 2019: Deputy Matthew Yates featured in 2019 News-Sun story about two boys

Storm Pelfrey, 11, and Eddie Strayer, 9, made their own uniforms and used walkie-talkies to make traffic stops and write citations for traffic violations.

Yates heard about the boys’ activities and visited them. Then he almost received a ticket himself.

That was an example of the community work done by Yates, who was shot and killed on Sunday while responding to a report of a person shot inside a mobile home in Harmony Twp.

Also in 2019, the Miami Valley Islamic Association named Yates one of its Officers of the Year during its annual awards ceremony. That work was highlighted by the story of his interaction with Pelfrey and Strayer

“Maybe one day he will be their captain,” said Amber Strayer, Eddie’s mother.

Yates agreed.

“If that’s what they wanna do, it’s a good career,” Yates said. “A good police officer could make a difference.”

Here’s that story, which published in September 2019.

Two Springfield boys, who have been practicing to become police officers, were surprised by a Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy recently.

Storm Pelfrey, 11, and Eddie Strayer, 9, have been “patrolling” the Ridgewood Court Townhomes apartment complex in Springfield for a little over a month.

While on patrol the two boys wear their customized police gear that includes hats, badges, walkie-talkies, handcuffs and citation notepads.

The boys consider themselves the “protectors of the court,” according to Eddie’s mother, Amber Strayer.

Deputy Matthew Yates was at a family member’s birthday party when he was told by a cousin, who lives in the complex, about the young patrols. Yates then decided to stop by to check it out for himself.

When he drove into the complex, the boys ran out of the apartment — they almost gave him a citation for driving into the complex the wrong-way — but the boys let him go because he was a “fellow officer,” Strayer said.

The boys radio to each other while doing traffic stops and are well aware of driving laws, Yates said.

Strayer said they mainly focus on making sure drivers do not speed or drive the wrong-way in the complex. If drivers do, the boys will write citations for $2.

Some drivers have even paid the citation, Strayer said.

Yates was surprised the boys knew the process and laws so well.

“They know about protecting the community,” Yates said. “Keeping them safe.”

Yates showed the boys the inside of the cruiser and turned the lights and sirens on.

The surprise visit was not planned and “made their day,” Strayer said of the deputy’s visit on Aug. 25. It was the day of Storm’s birthday party and made the visit extra special.

The boys have always wanted to become police officers, Strayer said.

“Maybe one day he will be their captain,” Strayer said.

Yates, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for 13 years, agrees with Strayer.

“If that’s what they wanna do, it’s a good career,” Yates said. “A good police officer could make a difference.”

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