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Heroes of Public Safety

Heroes of Public Safety - Honoring those that gave their lives serving others.
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Scholarship Recipients

The Jason M. Baker Foundation, Inc. was established in 2002 by Jason’s family in memory of Jason’s dedication to service, community and country. Jason Baker Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit Organization that provides scholarship assistance to students pursuing a career in public safety.

Here are our recipients.


Candace Smallwood

Candace Smallwood in red and black dress in front of shop window

Candace Smallwood just finished her sophomore year with a major of public safety management and minor in policy studies. This summer she is working in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs front office as a student services assistant. This fall, she is headed to Washington DC as an intern through the Washington Leadership Program. She doesn’t have an internship secured yet as she is still in the application process, but she intends to apply for the US Marshals, FEMA, ATF, and more. She is hoping to complete an internship with a federal law enforcement agency or emergency management organization. She loves O’Neill, has had the best professors and gained invaluable experience at IUPUI. In her free time she volunteered with TSA’s K9s at the Indianapolis airport. That was a fun experience that taught her the importance of daily training for k9s and a glimpse into how TSA operates at the airports.

Olivia Hale

Olivia Hale

Olivia Hale is in her final semester at IUPUI in Public Safety Management. In addition, Olivia of beginning the accelerated master's program in Criminal Justice and Public Safety Management at the O'Neill School with a minor in Religious Studies. After completing her degree, she plans to enter into the career path of federal law enforcement, specifically in counterterrorism or a special investigations unit. Olivia chose IUPUI and O'Neill School because of the diversity the campus has to offer. In the future, Olivia plans to work in a larger city where she can be exposed to many different individuals, and she knows that IUPUI and O'Neill School will provide her with the absolute best instructors and academic experiences. Olivia is currently a cadet in the Indiana University Police Department Program.


Chase Simpson

Chase Simpson in uniform

Chase Simpson graduated with his bachelor's degree in Public Safety Management in fall 2021. Chase comes from a diverse family with firefighters and police officers. He has felt a calling since high school when he began getting involved in police community relations. Chase was a part of the Lawrence Police Explorer Post and oversaw the fundraising for the post. He is currently a police officer with the IU Police Department at the IUPUI division.


Reece Thompson

Reece Thompson in deputy uniform in front of grayish background

Reece Thompson has spent his last 4 years at the O’Neill School working toward his bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Management with a minor in Civic Leadership. Reece chose O’Neill School of Public and Environment Affairs because it offered the degree and programs he needed to fulfill his short and long-term goals. Reece chose to study Public Safety Management with a minor in Civic Leadership because of the unique combination of degrees that highlights his work inside and outside of IUPUI. He feels this degree makes him capable of pursing a leadership position in law enforcement. His long-term goal is to become a future leader in law enforcement.

Reece started 2022 freshly graduated from IUPUI with his bachelors degree in Public Safety Management. He also started as a Merit Deputy at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. He recently completed his field training. Outside of work he is seeking to continue his education at IUPUI for a masters degree in Public Safety Management. He was also honored with the William M. Plater Medallion by IUPUI, an award for outstanding civic engagement. He strongly thinks the Jason Baker Public Safety Scholarship has allowed him to achieve his goals as well as make an impact in his community.


Shelby Cleek

Shelby Cleek smiling with graduation cap and IU shirt

Shelby Cleek graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in May 2022 with a degree in Informatics and two minors in Psychology and Human-centered computing. She retains her passion for law enforcement as she continues to work towards becoming a federal law enforcement agent in the computer forensics realm. She is now gathering real world experience to help her build herself to accomplish her dreams of federal law enforcement. She is doing this by building her real-world experience through working for a technology consulting firm in downtown Chicago. She is ever thankful for Jason Baker and his sacrifice that ultimately helped her earn her college degree.

Alexander Clausius

Alexander Clausius in graduation cap and gown in front of blue background

Alexander Clausius graduated this year from the O’Neill School at IUPUI with a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) in Public Management. Throughout his graduate education, he has been employed as a full-time officer with the Indiana University Police Department (IUPD). He has been doing very well and is excited to begin his adventure post-college to discover new hobbies and adventures.

Ingrid Ortega

In May of 2021, Ingrid graduated with her BA in Public Safety Management with minors in Forensic Science and Psychology from the O’Neill School IUPUI. During her time at IUPUI, she was heavily involved in different organizations on campus, but most specifically in Housing and Residence Life. Sophomore year of college Ingrid was accepted into the cadet program with the Indiana University Police Department. She was a cadet for both her junior and senior year of college before she attended the Indiana University Police Academy in 2021.

This year Ingrid will be receiving a graduate certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. She plans on taking a short break before she applies for a masters degree. She recently got hired at the Westfield Police Department this past March. It has been amazing so far and she’s learned a lot already. She should be out of training in July. She’s very excited!

Ingrid Ortega with Westfield police chief being sworn in at Westfield police office
Ingrid Ortega and a fellow officer in uniform having donuts with two kids at a donut shop


Darian Lewellen

Darian graduated in 2019 with a degree in Criminal Justice. He became an IUPUI Cadet and attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Bloomington.

Darian is a second generation police officer. Darian gained some security experience having worked for Excise and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian enjoys fishing, hunting and weightlifting.

Jacob Lusby

Jacob Lusby

Jacob is a 2016 graduate of South Dearborn High School. He received an AS in Criminal Justice through Ivy Tech Community College then transferred to Indiana University East to complete his bachelor’s degree.

In August 2019, Jacob was hired by Aurora Police Department as an officer. Both Jacob’s father and grandfather were law enforcement officers, making him a third generation officer. Jacob was fortunate enough to be hired by the same department his grandfather served as Chief of Police over 35 years ago. His younger brother, Bret, is a deputy for the Dearborn County Sheriff Office.

Jacob is looking forward to a long, rewarding career in law enforcement.

Owen Richardson

Owen Richardson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety Management in 2018. Owen immediately attended grad school and received his graduate certificate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management in May 2019. In 2020, Owen received his Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety. In starting his law enforcement career, Owen first served with the Roachdale Police Department. As of July 2022, Owen is a police officer with the Bainbridge Police Department.


Wendy Barron

Wendy is re-charging this summer after a full schedule last school year. She has 7 classes remaining before graduation. Wendy is motivated by the faith that the Jason Baker Scholarship has instilled in her.

Wendy is looking forward to the final year challenge and is ready for the next step. (updated 8/17).


Sarah Al-Abdulmunem

Sarah graduated from the School of Knowledge in May of 2013. She is currently attending Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Sarah will be applying for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety (MSCJPS) graduate program in the Fall of 2015. She aspires to become a sworn police officer, and plans to enroll in the Cadet Officer Program offered by the Indiana University Police Department.

Alyssa Devine

Alyssa graduated from Evansville High School and is pursuing adegree inCriminal Justice at IndianaUniversity-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). She is scheduled to graduate in May of 2016. Starting in the Fall of 2015, Alyssa will intern with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office/Domestic Violence Division as well as work as a Research Assistant with the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) to develop descriptive reports on Marion County mental health courts. This summer, she will study national security abroad in London before beginning her senior year at IUPUI. She plans to attend Law School after graduation and later join the FBI.

Zachary McClure

Zachary McClure and his wife smiling with blue sky, clouds, and mountains in the background

Zachary graduated from Shelbyville High School and has graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in May of 2016.

Currently, he is working as an instructional assistant at Clay Center Elementary school in the Carmel Clay Schools District. In his role, he works with students with cognitive and behavioral needs. In addition, he started a table tennis club at school which has been a lot of fun! It has been very inspiring to watch the kids grow personally and academically. In his personal life, he and his wife, April, became licensed foster parents in 2021. Since then, they have had 1 placement and a few respites which are just overnight or over the weekend care to help other foster families. He is very grateful for the memories and opportunities he has had over the years!


Lauren Kenney

Lauren graduated from Chesterton High School in 2012. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Management from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Lauren will be applying for the accelerated master’s program in Criminal Justice and Public Safety in the Spring of 2015. She plans on pursuing a career in emergency management, preferably at the city or county level, or even for a college campus. Lauren interned in the Emergency Operations Center at the Indiana State Fair during the Summer of 2014.


Kyle O’Riley

Kyle is a 2013 graduate of Ben Davis High School and attended Vincennes University majoring in Fire Science.

He has been at Amazon for 6 years and is currently working as a lead Maintenance Technician there. He just hit his one year mark on being in Brownsburg, IN.


Brandon Feathers

Brandon Feathers in U.S. Army uniform in front of U.S. flag background

Brandon has been actively interviewing for his first law enforcement position. He’s completed the 5 steps for Las Vegas PD. They said it would be 3-4 months before he hears if he’s hired. He really wants this one. If you have any contacts there, any support is appreciated. He’s also interviewed with Sacramento PD. He completed 3 steps and hadn’t heard back.

In the meantime, he and his fiancé officially moved to Lake Tahoe, California. They wanted to get married this year, but not knowing when he’ll be in the Academy, the wedding date is still undetermined.

He completed his 4 years in the Army where he was stationed in Jordan with missions in Syria. Now he’s in the Army Reserve in California.


Nicholas Bell

Nicholas graduated from paramedics school in October of 2014. He is currently a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.


Lori Hernandez-Diaz

Lori graduated fromLafayette High School in 2010 and is studying Forensics.


Joshua Joseph Jester

Joshua graduated from Greenfield Central High School in May of 2009 and attended Vincennes University where he graduated Cum Laude in May of 2011. He was hired by the Mishawaka Fire Department on June 5th, 2012 where he currently serves as a firefighter/EMT-B.

He currently serves full time as a Captain with the Mishawaka Fire Department. He also serves as a department AEMT, IT Specialist, Recruit Academy lead instructor, and as a member of the Honor Guard. Outside of MFD he is also the Fire Science Program Director for Southwestern Michigan College both for on campus and their online program.

His wife Lauren runs their family business and together they raise their 4 children, Jase (8), and 4 year old triplets Josiah, Jaylon, and Josie. He is extremely blessed with the life that he has and he is thankful for the help the Baker Family provided in helping him chase his dreams.

Josh Jester and his children in front of a Mishawaka Fire Department fire engine with another fire engine in the background


Jacob Walker

Jacob graduated from Lawrence North High School in 2008. He attended Ball State University where he pursued a major in Criminal Justice.


Jeremy Michael Devitt

Jeremy graduated from Wayne Township High School in 2007. He enrolled in Ivy Tech’s Fire Science program where he graduated in August of 2009. He completed the program with honors, making the Dean’s each year. He continued his education by enrolling in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) program at IUPUI until accepting a position as a firefighter with The City of Westfield Fire Department in May of 2011. Jeremy continues to serve with the City of Westfield while working to earn his bachelor’s degree in the SPEA program.


Heather Neel

Heather graduated from Beech Grove High School in June of 2006. Described as “…extremely dedicated and hard working … and a role model for the community,” Heather has demonstrated her dedication to her community in many ways. She has been a member of the Beech Grove Police Explorers, volunteered at local fire departments, hospitals, and clinics. Her extracurricular and leadership activities at school have included cheerleading, sports, police and E.M.T. explorers, C.N.A., super senior, junior class officer, and student counsel.

Heather is pursuing studies in Law Enforcement and Homeland Security at Vincennes University.


Robert Lagines

Robert graduated from Lawrence North High School in May of 2005. One of his instructors describes Robert as the epitome of “…what a community would expect from one of its firefighters — strength, determination, and commitment.” Robert began to serve his community in middle school and continued throughout high school working with a daycare community center and a homeless shelter. He is active with his church community and intramural sports.

Robert earned his degree in Fire Science and Safety Technology from Vincennes University and is currently serving as a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.


Marie Graham


Matthew Harris

Matthew graduated from Noblesville High School in May of 2003. In high school, he was a lieutenant in the Noblesville Police Explorer program and involved in the DARE Mentoring program. He was also member of the football, wrestling and track teams.

Matt is working in law enforcement in Texas.