Lt. Bruce Barnes Receives 2018 ‘Stake in the Ground’ Award


Stake in the Ground

The Noblesville Common Council recognized Lt. Bruce Barnes of the Noblesville Police Department as the 2018 Stake in the Ground honoree at their meeting Tuesday night. In addition to his daily job responsibilities, Barnes addressed the media during and throughout the investigation of the Noblesville West Middle School shooting in May 2018.

“Bruce was the public face speaking on this incident,” said Police Chief Kevin Jowitt. “Bruce did an extraordinary job doing what he did, particularly because he had a son at the school and didn’t know his status until the later in the day. Bruce went far beyond what anyone could expect in that situation. He does a fantastic job and we are lucky to have him.”

Councilor Mark Boice said Barnes does an exceptional job of portraying Noblesville well on a national level through many trying situations.

“During the May 25 school incident, Mayor John Distlear, Chief Jowitt and State Police Superintendent trusted Bruce and he provided the national media very precise information without compromising the integrity of the case,” he said. “In every situation that he has provided information to the public and media, he has done so in a manner that portrays Noblesville as professional and in the best way possible.”

Barnes currently serves as the department’s public information officer, but he has served the police department in a variety of capacities including shift supervisor, shift commander, SWAT team commander and honor guard commander.

“Bruce has been responsible for all of our recruiting and selection for more than 10 years. He started our crime watch program and he created and still runs the citizens academy,” Jowitt said.

Barnes began working for Noblesville in November 1993.

“I am very honored and humbled,” Barnes said. “It is hard to accept this award without saying that so many people did their job that day. Chief Jowitt and Major Scott Kirby set the standard and it blossomed from there. We don’t rise to the occasion, we are prepared. That’s why it was a success.”

Barnes said his goal that day was to send a message of confidence.

“I wanted Noblesville residents and parents to know we’re here. Your kids may not be with you, but trust they are in good hands – our hands or Noblesville Schools. We wanted parents to have confidence in us,” he said.

The “Stake in the Ground” Award is designed to recognize city employees – typically at the director level – who go way above and beyond their jobs by “putting their stake in the ground” to not only to be a good employee, but to be an exceptional employee. Each councilor makes a nomination and then all members vote on the award. Barnes is the second non-director to win the award.