This is the first time a Monett officer has received such an award.
LETSAC gives four Officer of the Year awards based on police department size. Officers are selected on the total number and types of traffic enforcement action, participation in special activities such as DWI checkpoints, arrests that originate from traffic enforcement and presentation of traffic safety programs to the public.
"Traffic enforcement is a priority for all officers," said Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder. "They work hard to prevent personal injuries and property damage from traffic accidents and to reduce the overall crime rate.
"Massengill has worked every DWI checkpoint and special enforcement campaign," Schweder continued. "He wrote over 600 summons and warnings in 2010. He leads the department in DWI arrests, all other arrests and reports written."
In the past five years, Schweder reported the crime index for Monett has dropped by 33 percent. Injury and property damage collision have decreased in the last five years. The number of vehicle collisions in 2010, 157, reflected a 15 percent reduction over 2009. There have been no fatal traffic collisions in the city since 2008.
"I'm not doing anything anybody else can't do. I just do it," Massengill said. "I love my job."
From a young age, Massengill wanted to be a policeman. He joined the U.S. Marines directly out of high school and served in the military police at his first duty station in Pearl Harbor. He left the Marines after six years and ended up driving a truck for 17 years.
After trying without success to join the Highway Patrol, Massengill received direction from Anita Franson at the Missouri Career Center that led him into the police academy at Missouri Southern State University. Massengill worked for the Aurora Police Department for three years before coming to Monett.
His wife, Sheila, works as a 911 dispatcher for Monett on the same shift. They have lived in Verona for the past 17 years.
Massengill believes that aggressive traffic enforcement helps reduce crime in general.
"That's a proven fact," he said. "You get these guys out driving around, you interrupt their routine and they have a change of plans."
Massengill said he uses no specific strategy in going about his job, other than looking for violations and calling people on it.
"Any time you have someone say 'thank you' after you give them a ticket, you know you're doing a good job," Massengill said. "I've been cussed at by people wondering why I'm picking on them when I'm not."
Massengill likes working in small towns and has no aspirations to work in a bigger department.
"In a small town, you get to know people, who belongs where and when," Massengill said. "It's a lot calmer atmosphere than in a big city. I'll be here for a while."
Massengill also particularly likes working the night shift from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two years ago Massengill and fellow Monett officer Jerry Harrison went to the LETSAC conference. He admits wondering how the officers honored at the time were selected. Massengill was surprised when he learned Schweder had nominated him and he had won.
"I've come to the realization that if you do your job, it will come," Massengill said. "This is a very high honor for a little farm boy. Everybody in the department is happy for me. You can't find a better bunch to work with. I believe there are going to be more honored in the department in coming years."