New officer an Army vet, world-class hunter

Photos courtesy Joe Chambers
Members of the Patriot Outdoors Hunting team — it featured Jasper’s Joe Chambers on the far right — that finished runner-up in last month’s World Turkey Hunting Championship take the stage with their trophies at Cygne, Kansas. The other team members were Kyle Moore, left, vice president of the Patriot Outdoors Hunting chapter in Defiance, Ohio, and active-duty Air Force member Jeremy Behnefeldt, the Ohio chapter’s president. Patriot Outdoors Hunting is a nonprofit organization helping veterans experience the therapy of the outdoors through hunting, fishing, camping and hiking adventures.

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

JASPER — The man in line to become the Jasper Police Department’s newest officer is a military veteran with a bona fide cop pedigree who, by the way, has recent proof he is a world-class turkey hunter.

Assistant Chief Aaron Persohn confirms the City of Jasper’s police department has extended a conditional offer of employment to 30-year-old Joe Chambers. He’ll be sworn in Wednesday.

Chambers is the son of Rick and Karen Chambers of Jasper. His father was on the Jasper force for 28 years before becoming the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office’s investigator a couple of years ago. His siblings include younger brother Kaleb Chambers, who previously joined the Jasper Police Department as an officer two years ago.

Right now, Joe is working for Dave Ruhe’s Tree Pros Inc. Previously, he served almost eight years in the U.S. Army as an active duty military policeman and investigator with stops in Texas, South Korea and Kentucky.

Last month, Joe participated in the World Turkey Hunting Championship hosted by Wicked Outfitters in La Cygne, Kansas, 50 miles south of Kansas City. He was the ringer on a Patriot Outdoors Hunting team that posted a runner-up finish.

Patriot Outdoors Hunting is actually a nonprofit organization helping veterans experience the therapy of the outdoors through hunting, fishing, camping and hiking adventures. The branch in Defiance, Ohio, was started by active-duty Air Force member Jeremy Behnefeldt, its president, and civilian Kyle Moore, its vice president.

“One of the guys I served with in the military knew them (Behnefeldt and Moore) and they were looking for a veteran who was an experienced turkey hunter,” Joe said. “They got ahold of me.”

Championship participants did not expect the Ohio veteran’s group to make too much of a splash because it had just formed last year. No one knew Joe had been drug around the country throughout his youth hunting with his father.

“He learned everything he knows from me,” Rick says.

Joe Chambers, who will be sworn in as a Jasper Police Department officer Wednesday, displays the second of three turkeys his Patriot Outdoors Hunting team harvested last month to become runner-up in the World Turkey Hunting Championship in Kansas. Patriot Outdoors Hunting is a nonprofit organization helping veterans experience the therapy of the outdoors through hunting, fishing, camping and hiking adventures.

Competitors at this year’s championship included professional and amateur hunters from across the world as well as music, film, television and sports celebrities. Dinners during the championship were at Wicked Outfitters’ lodge and country music stars provided evening entertainment.

“It was pretty surreal — all the big-name people there,” Joe says.

For placing second in the championship that featured 50 three-member teams, Joe and his teammates received $10,000 and more than $4,000 in hunting gear. That helped take the sting out of the $5,000 entry fee to acquire an automatic spot.

In two and a half days of hunting, Joe’s squad bagged three turkeys. The winners harvested four. It all had to be on video.

“We should’ve had four,” Joe says. “I called in a bird for the last guy to kill at 30 yards. He shot him. The turkey fell down but got up and took off running. There were four grown-ass men (the team’s regulator who ensures rules are being followed helped) chasing him through the woods.

“He ran into a brush pile. I ended up seeing him about 5 feet in front of me. I tried to jump on him and he took off running. We looked for two and a half hours and never could find him. A $15,000 turkey just running out of our dreams. If we would have won, we would have got $25,000.

“That’s all right,” Joe says. “We got second (place) so, next year, we get to go back for free. We don’t have to pay any money.”

And he gets his dream job next week.

Joe married the former Lauren Littlejohn, from Texas, almost six years ago. He says that, when he is sworn in as a Jasper officer, it will likely come down to a face-off between Lauren and his dad as to who pins the badge on him.

His goal was always to one day become a Jasper Police Department officer. Once Lauren visited the area, it was decided it was time to come home.

“She really liked the area,” Joe says. “It’s just nice being in a small community where everybody knows everybody.”




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