Officer Ronald Stoddard of the Atlanta Police Department’s Zone 2 in Buckhead arrived late Thursday to the Buckhead Business Association’s signature luncheon, but it was for good reason.
He was called to assist with a situation regarding Ulyesse Cleckley, a burglary suspect who, chased by police, locked himself in a room at the TownePlace Suites hotel on Sidney Marcus Boulevard. Stoddard got to the event at 103 West midway through it, after the association presented its public safety awards to he and two others, Deputy Evan Shaw of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Lt. Bret Bieri of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
“I was right on my way and Phoenix, our helicopter, was above me, so I called in and aided with the situation,” Stoddard said, adding the incident was “taken care of” with no serious injuries.
The officer was honored for arresting three suspects who allegedly stole a woman’s purse and iPhone at gunpoint at an apartment on Wimbledon Road in Buckhead Oct. 3.
“He got the [iPhone owner’s] user ID and password for iCloud.com,” to “ping” the phone to determine its location, Mark Shaver, the association’s vice president of public safety, said while presenting the award.
Following the “pings,” Stoddard also got a description of the suspects’ vehicle, a gray Jeep Cherokee, and tracked the phone from Interstate 75 to North Avenue in Midtown, then to Peachtree Street downtown, where he spotted the vehicle, Shaver said. Stoddard noticed its left tail light was out, so he pulled the car over and eventually arrested the suspects, who had a gray handgun in the Jeep. They have been charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime and are awaiting trial, Shaver said.
“It’s an honor, very humbling. I’m very appreciative,” Stoddard said of the honor.
Shaw, a nine-year veteran with the sheriff’s office, was honored for helping with a serious auto accident March 19 in south Fulton County involving a tractor-trailer.
“The work these folks do is not 9 to 5. Even when they’re not working, they’re working,” Shaver said in presenting the award. “Deputy Shaw was heading home from a training exercise and off duty, though still in uniform and in his patrol car. He was driving on Camp Creek Parkway when he came upon an accident that had just happened.
“He gave eight play-by-play details on a multivehicle crash with three people trapped in vehicles and [three] ejected from vehicles. He also directed traffic on Camp Creek Parkway all by himself. Two hours later, he was still directing traffic. His supervisors and trainers said he was a hero that day. He saved lives.”
Shaw said only one of the accident victims died.
“It’s very nice to be recognized,” he said. “I didn’t expect it, but it’s very nice.”
Bieri was honored for longtime service to the fire department, where he leads Fire Station 21 in Buckhead. The Wisconsin native comes from a family of firefighters, Shaver said.
“I’m [happy] he has been recognized because he’s been so well respected at Fire Station 21,” he said.
Shaver said the association enjoys recognizing the unsung heroes in public safety.
“It’s something I feel strongly about it because these folks do it every day they work,” he said. “Sometimes their days are pretty mundane. They may be sitting around the fire station or writing a few traffic tickets, but at those times, when we need their services, there is no one else who can do what they do. They do it instinctively, automatically and unselfishly. If we in the BBA can take three to four times a year to honor them and recognize them, it’s the least we can do.”