FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – More than 40 police officers and civilians were recognized at the Fort Wayne Police Department’s annual awards ceremony.
The awards, handed out in front of dozens of friends and family of Fort Wayne law enforcement, was held at the Public Safety Academy.
Among those recognized at the awards ceremony was Detective Lorrie Bandor. Bandor was given a letter of commendation for the five years she spent working on a cyber stalking case that, according to the Fort Wayne Police Department, netted the Hoosier State’s first ever cyber stalking trial and conviction.
Michael McClellan, who stalked Dawn Hillyer beginning in 2007, hacked her computer, robo-dialed her and sent thousands of explicit and threatening messages to her and her family, is now serving a 10 year prison sentence for the cyber stalking crimes.
Hillyer was also in attendance Tuesday night to show her support and admiration for a woman with whom she is now friends. Bandor and Hillyer refer to one another as the other’s rock. They both say that when it seemed that the McClellan case had no feasible resolution, they could lean on each other for encouragement and a revitalized determination.
“I feel bad because I don’t feel like [Hillyer] is getting the recognition. There’s absolutely no way possible that I would be here today. You hate to say she made a good victim, but she did everything that we would ask a victim to do. She was persistent. She was very tenacious,” says Bandor.
“Lorrie has put her heart into this case. We’ve worked together for the last five years, and everything that she’s done for me in taking the time—when they wanted her to drop the case and she didn't, and she was persistent and kind of put up with me when I was freaking out for five years. I'm just so appreciative for everything she's done,” says Hillyer.
Bandor says no protocols or case precedence were available to use in the pursuit of charges and an eventual conviction in this cyber stalking case. Bandor says she and Hillyer needed to research internet encryption and how to trace IP addresses in order for the chance at a case. Now, Bandor says the protocols are in place. Hillyer calls that a win for future victims of a crime that nearly caused Hillyer to commit suicide.
“It’s all about finding that one person who will listen to you, who will stand up. You need that advocate. I think after this case and the publicity of it, things are changing and it won’t be as hard as it was for me. It should not take anywhere close to five years.”
“[Hillyer] and I have talked about this case since then and the best thing that has happened is that now there are resources in place. There are protocols in place that, for any other victim out there, should be a more efficient and much faster process for getting somebody to court,” says Bandor.
Before leaving the Public Safety Academy for dinner, Hillyer joked that Bandor knows every intimate detail of her life. Now, as friends, Hillyer says she has a lot to learn about Bandor.
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