Early officer Andre Smoot (front row, left), Police Chief David Mercer and Solaris plant manager Daryl Lanaville stand with other Solaris employees behind steel targets the employees made for the Early Police Department.EARLY — Daryl Lanaville, plant manager for Solaris in Early, said the plant makes sand silo systems for the oilfield industry — not steel targets for a police gun range.
    But Solaris employees were able to build the targets for the Early Police Department to show their appreciation for the actions of Early officer Michelle Sheedy, who stopped a thief on Solaris property.
    “Seeing as how we’re steel fabricators, we thought we could figure out how to do it,” Lanaville said outside the plant’s gates Monday, where Lanaville and other employees displayed the steel targets. Police Chief David Mercer and officer Andre Smoot stood with Solaris employees. Sheedy wasn’t able to be present, Mercer said.
    Last spring, Sheedy was off-duty and working security for Solaris on a Sunday afternoon when she encountered a man who was trying to make off with a portable plasma cutting machine worth $4,000 or $5,000, Lanaville said.
    Sheedy arrested the man.
    “We had a situation here where one of the officers basically captured, red-handed, a bad guy,” Lanaville said. “He somehow crawled over the fence, got in the shops and was about to haul off (the) plasma cutting machine. We’re not really sure how he figured he was going to get it over this gate or this fence.
    “He was coming around the back of our main offices. She basically looked in her rear view mirror and saw the bad guy walking behind the car, and she was right there waiting for him. We wanted to find a way to express to the whole department our gratitude for doing his for us.”
    “This is great,” Mercer said, noting the department is planning to set up a gun range. The steel targets will be an invaluable resource, Mercer said.