Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2008

Police risked their lives in fire rescue

TWO police officers have been praised after they risked their lives and rescued an unconscious man from a burning home.

Constables Colin Leslie and Alex Collins, both based at Culloden police station, were responding to a 999 call when they attended the flat in Ardersier at 6.20pm on Sunday.

There had been reports of a disturbance and when the pair arrived at the High Street property they were faced with flames coming from the door.

They were aware a man was inside the building but attempts to talk him out to safety failed.

A spokeswoman for Northern Constabulary said while the fire brigade were on route to the scene the officers felt any delay in rescuing the man could have resulted in death and further damage to adjoining properties.

Attempts to force the door were made, and with the help of a neighbour, the two officers managed to break the locks and get inside the burning building. They were accompanied by a third police officer, Sergeant Ramsay Aitken.

They used fire extinguishers from the police vehicle to try and fight the flames and a high powered torch enabled them to see through the smoke-filled building.

They eventually found the man, who by this time was unconscious.

He was pulled to safety by the officers and was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics outside before being taken to Raigmore Hospital.

It is understood a woman had also been in the house but escaped.

Constables Leslie and Collins were also treated by ambulance staff and had to go to hospital.

They were praised yesterday for their professional and selfless actions in fighting the fire and rescuing the man.

Chief Inspector Julian Innes said: “Their actions were both brave and commendable and a credit to Northern Constabulary.”

Fire crews from Inverness and Nairn later arrived on scene.

A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reel jets to tackle the fire, which caused damage to the hallway and other parts of the house.

Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008

Hero saves children from burning home

Described as a hero, Officer Jeremy Foote raced in a home with a room on fire Wednesday morning and helped bring two girls to safety, officials said.

Unattended candles sparked a blaze about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 2200 block of Southeast Carnation Road, which Foote noticed while on routine patrol, a police report states.

Foote “saw the fire and called it in and got some of the family members out of the house,” St. Lucie County Fire District spokeswoman Catherine Whitaker said.

“Foote was a hero because of his fast action,” Whitaker said. “He did a good deed.”

One bedroom of the single-story home appeared “fully engulfed,” and Foote went to the front door to see whether anyone was inside, a police report states.

That’s when Stanley Dossous, 24, ran out with a fire extinguisher. Dossous said his family remained inside, and Foote raced to the front door and came across 31-year-old Myrlende Guerrier, who said she and her two daughters, one 7 and the other 9, were inside.

The girls ran out of their bedroom and Foote escorted them outside before he and another officer tried to help Dossous contain the blaze.

The fire caused about $5,000 in damage to one room, Whitaker said.

Foote, 34, joined the police department in January 2007, said Officer Robert Vega, police spokesman.

An offer from the Fire District to the victims for Red Cross assistance was turned down, the police report states.

Monday, Apr. 7, 2008

Police honor the best among officers, staff

The Westminster Police Department recently announced the recipients of annual awards honoring its best officers and staff.

The recipients, who were honored at a recent awards ceremony, are:

• Police Officer of the Year for 2007: Cpl. Scott Peter, for his self-initiated activity and numerous drug arrests. He also earned the Academic Excellence Award for completing training with a 99.7 percent grade-point average.

• Civilian of the Year: Brenda Roper, communications and records supervisor, for her progressive management and ability to implement changes.

• Volunteer of the Year: Simona Mason, a volunteer in the SCORE (Stopping Crime on Residential Environments) youth program, and who assists the Community Education Officers.

• Community Service Award: Cpl. Jesse Clagett, who established relationships with the Main Street community to address and resolve quality-of-life issues.

• Firearms Award: Detective Rick Lambert, for his firearms qualifications score of 99.5 percent.

• Chief’s Award: Linda Knott, for her contributions to the United Way campaign and the Shop with a Cop program.

Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008

Cop honored for rescue of girl hostage

Police brass recently honored an Emergency Services detective who saved the life of a 3-year-old girl in Queens in February.

Detective Michael Cook talked to an emotionally disturbed man who held his daughter hostage for more than seven hours after barricading himself in his Queensbridge apartment.

Cook, a 12-year department veteran, gradually earned the trust of the father and secured the release of the child.

“NYPD Emergency Service officers respond to tens of thousands of cases involving emotionally disturbed individuals every year,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.

“The fact that the vast majority of them are resolved without injury to the distraught person is due to the exceptional police work exemplified by Detective Cook in this situation,” Kelly said.

“He and his colleagues are to be commended for a job well-done, which often goes unrecognized.”

The certificate presented to Detective Cook reads:

“On February 22, 2008, Detective Michael Cook, assigned to ESU No. 8, was part of a team that responded to a barricaded, emotionally disturbed male holding a three-year-old girl.

“For seven hours Detective Cook continued talking and eventually won the trust of the barricaded male. After talking with the E.D.P., and continuing to gain his trust, the E.D.P. finally surrendered. Detective Cook’s ‘never give up’ attitude was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Emergency Service Unit.”

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008

Deputies to be honored for work

A number of Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department deputies will be recognized in April for acts ranging from saving residents from a fire to solving ongoing cases to organizing charity events.

In all, 15 deputies – all of whom were awarded deputy of the month during 2007 – will be honored at the next Vanderburgh County Deputies’ Organization meeting.

The deputies of the month from 2007 who are being honored are as follows:

• January – Aaron Hunter, Rob Clark and Chad Howard – Evacuated two residents from a residential fire.

• February – Tom Wedding – Tracked, monitored and arrested numerous sex offenders while maintaining the sex offender registry/Web site.

• March – Toby Wolfe and Matt Weiss – Solved an auto theft case and later assisted an Evansville Police Officer arrest the suspect, who was fighting the police officer and trying to take his gun.

• April – Rob Clark – Pursued a suspect on foot and later recovered 1.25 pounds of cocaine from him.

• May – Nathan Sugarman and Jeff South – Evacuated residents from a residential fire.

• June – Joe Beckwith – Arrested a three-time burglary suspect and out-of-state parolee after identifying the suspect as he pumped gas at a filling station.

• July – Raymond Reason – Conducted a traffic stop that yielded 20 pounds of marijuana

• August – Mike Robinson – Climbed in an overturned glass-filled vehicle to assist the driver and passenger and prevent life threatening injuries at a traffic accident.

• September – Kelly Williams – Recognized for his off-duty work in organizing the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

• October – Stuart Mosby – Thoroughly investigated a stolen vehicle/hit and run/false informing case.

• November – Rob Lutz – Assisted during a residential blaze to prevent the spread of the fire and the complete destruction of the home.

• December – James Martin – Recognized for organizing the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office Shop With a Cop event.

An exact date for the April meeting has not yet been set.

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008

Officers take kids on shopping spree

At the front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Little Rock, the single mothers and their children lined up with their carts.

As part of the Shop With A Cop program, each family would be matched with a North Little Rock police officer for a morning of Christmas shopping. The police would pick up the tab — $ 150 for each child.

Officer Tommy Norman, the program’s organizer, offered a word of caution.

“If a police officer asks you to buy him doughnuts, don’t do it,” he said, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Over the next two hours, a dozen children filled their shopping carts with clothes and toys. Next weekend, 10 more children will get their turn.

Norman said he and his fellow officers had been looking forward to the trip.

“I woke up at 3 o’clock this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, I was so excited — and I’m not even shopping,” Norman said.

This is the second year for the program, which Norman started after reading about a similar initiative in Champaign, Ill. The families of single, working mothers are eligible. Some were nominated by friends or co-workers. Others went to the Police Department asking for help.

The money for the gifts was from private donations, including $ 1, 200 from a penny drive at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in North Little Rock. Members of the student government group showed up Sunday, helping load the families’ shopping carts and wrapping the gifts after they checked out.

Other money came from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock, Coulson Oil Co., the Argenta Men’s Club and the Arkansas National Guard recruiting office.

Eight police officers showed up in uniform but off-duty, volunteering their time.

“This is just a way for the North Little Rock Police Department to show the children of North Little Rock that we care about them and we’re their friends,” Norman said.

Davina Kelley, a 25-year-old market research company worker, was prepared. She had taken her two children, Aayana, 5, and Amare, 4, to the store a few days earlier and made a list of gifts, making sure the prices added up to $ 150.

But as Aayana and Amare wandered the aisles Sunday, Kelley quickly gave up on the list.

“They just basically went on what they wanted,” she said.

Amare loaded up on Spider-Man toys. For Aayana, it was Bratz. She also found a My Little Pony doll that talks and wiggles when its hoof is pressed.

“She’s going to carry that everywhere, I think,” Kelley said.

Juseria Lovelace, 10, picked out a digital music player, some clothes and Pete the Repeat Parrot, that repeats whatever he hears.

Friday, Dec. 14, 2007

Cops honoured for heroics

Const. Jessie Poonian put his life in peril by rescuing a 10-year-old girl sleeping on a couch in a burning home in the $20-million MacEwan neighbourhood fire in July.

The city cop then forced his way into 11 other houses to make sure there were no occupants in danger of succumbing to the blaze that levelled almost a city block.

Poonian, 25, and 14 other cops were recognized in a ceremony yesterday at Edmonton Police Service headquarters by Chief Mike Boyd and police commission chairman Brian Gibson.

“To this day, I still remember the face of that girl,” Poonian told reporters after receiving a plaque of recognition.

Within eight minutes after he rescued the girl, the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Poonian was patrolling the area of MacEwan Road and McAlllister Loop when he heard what sounded like an explosion.

He then noticed black smoke emerging from a large condominium complex that was under construction.

“If there was any other member (in the area) instead of me, I’m sure he would have done the same thing,” he said.

“When you see something is wrong, you just jump into that situation and go for it.”

Det. Scott McMorran, 45, also received a bravery award, his third commendation in his 26 years of service with the EPS.

McMorran rescued a 70-year-old male driver and a 69-year-old female passenger from a fiery crash on Stony Plain Road.

“I appreciate very much being recognized by my co-workers,” McMorran said.

Cops, who exhibited either bravery or exceptional investigation in the past two years – including those who worked on the Liana White murder case and those who cracked an international child porn ring – were honoured.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007

Hero cop tackles axe-wielding man

AN off-duty police officer tackled an axe-wielding man in Palmyra yesterday morning.

The officer, Travis Petersen, 29, who was visiting from Carnarvon, was waiting for his father in the car park of a Canning Highway medical practice about 11.20am when he spotted the man acting suspiciously.

Police said the man approached a 45-year-old man as he parked his car, threatened him with a long handled axe and demanded his vehicle.

Constable Petersen tackled the man, forced him to the ground and held him until members of the public could help.

The officer’s 65-year-old father, who was receiving medical attention in the clinic and recently had an operation, also helped and was scratched and bruised in the tussle.

The alleged offender was arrested by other officers and charged over an armed robbery at the Leopold Hotel an hour earlier in which staff at the drive-through bottle shop were threatened with a baseball bat.

Officers attending the scene praised the off-duty officer’s “selfless and brave efforts, together with his quick thinking”.

A 36-year-old Murdoch man was charged with armed robbery, assault with intent to rob, and common assault. He appeared in Fremantle Magistrates Court today and was detained in custody

Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2007

Canadian cop on vacation rescues Americans

Giovanni Di Legge, a 15-year veteran of the Canadian police force and currently working as a police officer in Montreal, was enjoying a good time with his family on the beaches of Maine when cries of distress pierced the air.

When he looked out to sea he saw Kristen McCarthy, a 31-year-old nursing student from Marlborough, Mass., and a 12 year old girl apparently caught in a powerful riptide.

“I had to help them out…”

De Legge realized the danger of the situation even before any of the lifeguards did and responded immediately. Swimming out he first grabbed the 12 year old girl and struggled back close enough to shore to hand her over to two lifeguards who by then had appeared.

Fighting back into the riptide he went back for Kirsten.

“I grabbed her under the arm and started swimming parallel to the beach at an angle. It was really hard.”

After her rescue McCarthy and her partner, Richard Philben, 50, contacted a newspaper to make known the heroic actions of the Canadian cop.

“I got pulled under, opened my eyes and it was so murky. It was surreal. I came up and saw a beautiful blue sky – but I knew If I got pulled down again, I was dead. I was exhausted at that point.

I don’t know if it was his cop training or not but John (Giovanni) realized the situation before anyone else. Even the lifeguards didn’t realize at that point. He’s a hero.”

They said they plan on recommending Di Legge to the governor of Maine for an award that would recognize his bravery.

Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Cop Turns Double-Hero After Elderly Couple Collapses

Annapolis’s annual 4th of July parade got off to a scary start Wednesday when an elderly couple collapsed with life-threatening health problems.

Fortunately, thanks to a nearby police officer, some good Samaritans, and some quick thinking, everything turned out well.

Homer and Lillian Hack were waiting for the parade to start, when the 78-year-old Mr. Hack began exhibiting symptoms of a stroke. Officer Pierre Pyle was alerted to the problem and radioed for an ambulance.

While they waited for the ambulance, Mrs. Hack also collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Pyle called for a second ambulance and began administering CPR with the help of a citizen from the crowd.

As luck would have it, there were firefighters, paramedics, and ambulances lined up for the parade a few blocks away. They arrived to help in just minutes.

The Hacks are in stable condition in the hospital. Officer Pyle even paid them a visit and they thanked him in person.

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007

Hero Officers Honored Nearly 6 Years Later

It took nearly six years, but three Division of Wildlife Resources officers who risked their own lives to save two others have been honored for their service.

Verl Hanchett, of Hyrum, Kevan Penrose of Smithfield, and Rick Schulze of Mantua, were honored last week for saving two men on Bear Lake in January 2002.

While checking the licenses of fishermen on Bear Lake, a small aluminum boat sank into frigid waters.

The officers then pulled the men out of the water, risking tipping over their own boat. The officers’ boat was overloaded the entire way back to shore.

Division of Wildlife Resource spokesman Mark Hadley says the men weren’t honored until this year because there was no award they could be given. This year, one was created for them.

Friday, Aug. 10, 2007

Trooper honored for rescues

A Massachusetts state trooper from Shutesbury is being heralded for quick thinking and heroic actions on the Connecticut River last summer.

Trooper Scott Sawicki was awarded the Massachusetts State Police Medal of Lifesaving last week in a ceremony at the State Police Headquarters in Framingham.

On July 4, 2006, Sawicki and other members of the state police underwater recovery team and state Environmental Police were assigned as safety divers along the Connecticut River, according to a press release issued by the state police.

During the grand finale of the holiday fireworks display, Sawicki and members of his team heard cries for help.

Sawicki saw a man in the water about 100 feet away. He got to the victim and helped him into the boat. That’s when the man said his wife was still in the water. Officers scanned the area and saw a second person in the water another 60 feet away. Sawicki reached her and pulled her from the water as well.

The two were uninjured and refused medical treatment at the scene, according to the release. Sawicki is an alumnus of Amherst Regional High School and earned a bachelor of science degree from Western New England College.

Monday, Jul. 2, 2007

Work with kids makes cop a hero

Paul Deppi started helping kids with an eye toward becoming a cop.

More than 15 years ago, when Deppi told Newtown Township police Chief Martin Duffy he wanted to become a police officer, he was advised to get involved with the community first.

In the 14 years since he declared his career choice, Deppi’s community has been some 350-plus kids in the Lower Bucks Lacrosse League. And the Newtown Township resident is a cop in his hometown, on the beat since 1998.

For his “extraordinary work and influence in the lives” of his players, Deppi, 35, was one of 13 hailed as “Real Heroes” by the Lower Bucks chapter of the American Red Cross at a breakfast last week.

Deppi, a coach and former president of the lacrosse league, said he took Duffy’s advice and combined it with something he knew — lacrosse. But, according to Deppi, the sport shouldn’t be at the top of the players’ list.

“I tell them there’s three things that come before lacrosse: family, faith and education,” Deppi said.

And it’s not just talk. Deppi tells his kids to pick attending family birthdays and funerals over practice or games if there’s a conflict. And Deppi, a Lutheran, encourages his players to attend CCD, Bible or Hebrew classes, depending upon their faith. He said he’s been to several of his players’ bar mitzvahs, including an Orthodox celebration that featured a lacrosse theme.

And if one of his kids is having trouble in school, the player might find himself doing homework during practice. Deppi said he’s even sat down on the tailgate of his pickup after practice to talk to the kids about school or family problems.

“It’s what my parents taught me: family, faith and school,” Deppi said. “I want my players to be good, gentlemen, scholar athletes. If they leave and never play lacrosse again, that’s fine. I just want them to be a better person [for having participated].”

He said when his parents learned he planned to coach, they advised him to take the best of the coaches he liked and avoid the worst of the coaches he didn’t like.

Deppi said all his players participate in games and he uses lacrosse to provide them with life lessons, about self respect, self discipline and self motivation.

His first contact with a majority of the kids is with lacrosse, he said. But it’s not always the case.

About six summers ago, Deppi said, he got involved in the case of a sixth-grader who’d sent a derogatory e-mail to a classmate. The boy had just moved into the area, didn’t have a father figure, had no friends and Deppi said he needed guidance more than punishment. The boy went before the local Youth Aid Panel and was given community service work. But Deppi also directed him to meet up with some of his other lacrosse players and make friends when school started. Deppi also helped the Youth Aid Panel buy the kid lacrosse equipment and sign up for the Lower Bucks league.

In a few months that kid will be headed to college, Deppi said.

He said he just loves working with kids, teaching a game he loves. On a permanent midnight cop shift, Deppi said sometimes he gets home from work in the morning and can’t wait to get on the cleats, grab a clipboard and coach.

Friday, May. 25, 2007

Police are everyday heroes

Heroism happens every day. We see examples of it on the news, from our soldiers overseas who commit acts of inspirational bravery. We owe them a debt of immeasurable gratitude.

But we also cannot forget that here at home thousands of brave men and women place themselves in harm’s way for the safety of our nation. This week especially, as we commemorate National Police Week, we pay tribute to the sacrifices that our domestic soldiers in federal, state and local law enforcement make to protect communities from crime and terrorism.

Officers on the front lines live by the credo “to protect and serve.” Unfortunately, this duty can involve a family making the ultimate sacrifice. Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty. Nearly one officer is lost every two days. Each had a personal story, a family in grief and a life deserving of honor.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation declaring that police officers “by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of the Republic,” and designated the week of May 15 as National Police Week. Since then, Police Week has been a time when thousands gather in communities to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers. Moreover, they are displays of solidarity among survivors.

This year, the names of 145 officers who gave their lives in service in 2006 will be inscribed at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, no Delawareans are on this list, but we have not always been so blessed. For families of law officers throughout the nation, the fear of a loved one not returning from a day’s work is part of everyday life.

This week we thank police officers, we remember those who paid the ultimate price while serving communities, and we give comfort to the loved ones they have left behind.

Wednesday, May. 16, 2007

Hero cop says he was “Johnny on the spot”

A Dunedin police officer who has been honoured for rescuing a ten-year-old boy from a burning motel unit says he is humbled by the recognition.

Inspector Alistair Dickie has been presented with the Sir Charles Upham Award and the Royal Humane Society’s Silver Medal by the Governor General.

He was off-duty and staying at a Christchurch camping ground when a neighbouring family’s unit caught fire. Mr Dickie says everyone except a ten-year-old boy managed to get out, so he stepped in.

“I was just Johnny on the spot really . . . and any citizen out there who was in that position would probably act the same way. In the police we are required to deal with emergencies so even off-duty; we have not got some off button when we finish work.”

Mr Dickie says luckily the boy was fine and regained consciousness not long after being carried from the flames.

Tuesday, May. 15, 2007

Police Week begins with outdoor prayer service

With help from Houston’s religious leaders, members of the Houston Police Department bowed their heads in prayer Monday at the start of National Police Week.

“This is a very heartfelt event and very encouraging to have the community of faith coming together with us,” said officer Barry Curtis. “I hope we can spread this unity across the city.”

Today is National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, and this week marks the 45th National Police Week since President John F. Kennedy signed the day of remembrance into law on Oct. 1, 1962.

The law designates the week containing May 15 as one meant to honor fallen police officers and their survivors.

Monday, Apr. 30, 2007

Cops rescue man from burning car

Three Chicago police officers rescued a man who was trapped in his car this morning shortly after it collided with a sport-utility vehicle and caught fire on Chicago’s West Side.

“In about two seconds, he would have gone up (in flames) with us if we didn’t get him out,” said one of the rescuers, Harrison District Sgt. Michael Spagnola. “I have soot marks on my shirt so this one’s going in the garbage.”

Spagnola was on patrol shortly before 1 a.m. when he was flagged down by the driver of the SUV at Chicago and Homan Avenues. The sergeant said he then saw flames erupt from under the hood of the car, and rushed over to try and get the man, who was unconscious, out through the driver’s side door.

But Spagnola was unable to open it becuase “it was creased and smashed in.”

Shortly thereafter, Harrison District Officers John Dulcason and Oscar Serrano arrived to assist Spagnola, and the three broke through the window of the front passenger’s side door to unlock it. By then, “flames were shooting out from the engine compartment through the dashboard from underneath the windshield,” the sergeant said.

The officers got a hold of the man’s waist and arms, and managed to wriggle him free from under the steering column, where he was pinned. Spagnola said the man regained consciousness once he was out of the car.

“I think the cold from the pavement woke him up. (Before that) he was limp as could be,” Spagnola said.

The man was taken via ambulance to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he was reported in critical condition this morning. He “was all banged up,” Spagnola said, adding the victim suffered cuts to his face and arms.

The three officers suffered minor cuts and smoke inhalation, and did not require hospitalization. The driver of the SUV was not hurt.

One or two citizens helped the officers break through glass. One of them even tried to douse the flames with a bucket of water, the sergeant said, but the flames proved too intense.

When asked if he feared for his life during the rescue effort, Spagnola said, “There’s always a little bit of fear, but you’re not thinking about it.”

Thursday, Mar. 29, 2007

Code-breaker hero cracks the top police job

THE policeman who masterminded the safe return of the wartime Enigma code-breaking machine after it was stolen from its home at Bletchley Park is to be the new Assistant Chief Constable of West Mercia.

Chief Superintendent Simon Chesterman, who also saw the attempted blackmailer jailed for the offences, is moving to his new post from the Thames Valley’s strategy team.

He joined Thames Valley Police in 1984 and started as a constable based in Oxford. He went on to specialise in CID matters and worked his way through the ranks, pioneering covert evidence-gathering techniques.

In 2001, he led an enquiry into the theft of a unique Enigma machine from Bletchley Park Museum and a subsequent blackmail investigation. The machine was successfully recovered and an arrest made. He received a Crown Court Judge’s Commendation.

More recently, he has worked as Area Commander for the Buckingham Basic Command Unit, covering some 550 square miles. The 42-year-old said: “I am delighted to be offered the post as Assistant Chief Constable with West Mercia Constabulary and look forward to serving the local communities of Herefordshire and Worcestershire using the experience I have gained with Thames Valley Police.”

His new role with West Mercia Constabulary will involve being responsible for major incident planning and response, serious and organised crime, diversity, roads policing, counter-terrorism and cross border working.

Paul Deneen, Chairman of West Mercia Police Authority said: “The Police Authority is delighted to appoint Simon Chesterman as our new ACC. His background and experience is an excellent fit with the values and visions of West Mercia Constabulary.

Friday, Mar. 23, 2007

Hero given award for rooftop rescue

A HEROIC policeman who caught a man falling from a rooftop and held him dangling from the edge for an hour has been commended for his actions.

Acting sergeant Tim Bott, 41, was called to a terrace house in South Road last June, after reports of a man cutting himself with a knife on a rooftop and threatening to jump off.

After being persuaded to drop the weapon the man fell, only being saved from crashing three storeys to the ground by Sgt Bott, who grabbed his leg.

Despite being in excruciating pain from pulled muscles and a back injury, the officer clung on for 60 minutes before the man was secured with rope and taken down by firefighters.

Kent’s Chief Constable Mike Fuller presented Sgt Bott with a certificate for his actions last Wednesday but it was not the first time the Newingreen resident had been rewarded for his bravery.

In 2000 he was presented with a medal after saving a woman from plummeting 80 feet from a rooftop in Folkestone.

He joked: “People think I just go patrolling roofs looking for people to rescue. One of my friends said he’s going to make me a cape.”

After the incident in Tower Hamlets Sgt Bott, who previously won an edition of TV quiz The Weakest Link, stayed in close contact with the man he rescued and says he is now progressing well.

He added: “It was very nice for my actions to be recognised but, to me, stopping someone from dying and helping them move on is the best part of it.”

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2007

Rail crash hero policeman speaks out

A CLITHEROE rail policeman has spoken of his role in helping the surbivors of the recent Cumbrian train crash.
And while Brookside Primary School pupil Chelsea Brand has hailed her dad, PC Steven Davies (28), a hero, the former Whalley resident maintains he was simply carrying out his job with British Transport Police.

When he reported for work at 7 p.m. on February 23rd, PC Davies had no idea that, within two hours, he would be en-route to a scene of utter devastation.

The former St Augustine’s High School pupil told how he was called to the scene to help evacuate passengers. “There was quite a lot of blood inside. Mobile phones were going off all over in passengers’ bags. To our left were the seats and to the right, the ceiling. We were walking where the windows had been. It was very claustrophobic. I remember thinking if the carriage we were in was at the bottom of the enbankment, there were another three carriages hanging over the top. ‘What’s to stop them coming down?’ It was a momentary thought. Getting people out was absolute priority.”

PC Davies remained at the site until 11-30 a.m. the following day; his last duties to guard the train and to keep people away from the scene who should not have been there. “It could have been much, much worse,” he added. “It was all down to the train’s design and the driver who deserves a lot of credit.”

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2007

Stabbed in head, he shoots, chases down the suspect until help arrives

Even after he was hacked in the head with a hunting knife, a Brooklyn cop still managed to chase his attacker across a subway platform – shooting him twice before collapsing nearby, police said yesterday.

NYPD Officer Angel Cruz fell to the ground within 3 feet of the wounded suspect and knelt over him until backup arrived late Tuesday and arrested the man, police said.

“When police found them, Cruz was on one knee,” a police source said. “He wanted to cuff the guy but he \[Cruz\] had lost so much blood it was all he could do to stay upright.”

Cruz, who joined the force about 15 months ago, was in critical but stable condition yesterday at Jamaica Hospital. Although the brutal blow cracked his skull, he was able to talk to his wife and 2-year-old son. He even joked a bit with visitors.

“The doctor says this is a lucky guy,” Mayor Bloomberg said after visiting Cruz. “Unlucky in that he gets stabbed. Lucky that he is going to make a full recovery.”

Hugo Hernandez – an illegal Guatemalan immigrant who sneaked back into the U.S. after being deported for attacking six cops in New Jersey – stabbed Cruz after the cop spotted him and his pal Andy Batista smoking in the subway station about 11 p.m., police said.

Cruz told them to put out the cigarettes and ordered them to come with him so he could issue them summonses, police said.

Batista, 21, complied, handing over identification and an Army knife. But Hernandez, 22, punched Cruz without warning on the Queens-bound platform of the J train, police said.

Hernandez then pulled out a 6-inch blade and slashed Cruz across the face, police said.

Blood flowing down his neck, Cruz fell backward against a pay phone as Hernandez allegedly came at him a second time with his knife raised.

Cruz fired three times but missed Hernandez, who lunged forward and jammed his hunting knife into the 30-year-old officer’s left temple with such force that it pierced his skull, police said.

“A witness sees the perp stab the knife in the cop’s head and pull it out,” a police source said.

Cruz somehow fired two more rounds and hit Hernandez twice in the left elbow as the suspect fled down the stairs to the Manhattan-bound platform, police said.

Cruz ran after him, following him down the stairs to the other platform. “Covered in blood, a hole in his head, about to faint, he doesn’t give up; he’s tough,” a fellow cop said.

Sgt. James McNamara heard the gunshots, yelled into the transit precinct offices inside the subway station and raced to help.

McNamara and Officers Robert Velez and Christopher Ballaera found Cruz kneeling near Hernandez and cuffed the suspect, police said.

Officers Anthony Cairone and Jumel Gungor carried Cruz out of the station, put him into a .patrol car and drove him to Jamaica Hospital.

When they arrived, Cairone threw Cruz over his shoulder and carried him inside.

Hernandez, who was in stable condition at Brookdale University Hospital, was charged with attempted murder of a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon. He also faces up to five years in prison for sneaking back into the U.S., authorities said.

Monday, Mar. 19, 2007

Cop recounts harrowing rescue

Confronted by rushing, icy, dark water and an injured, unconscious Ithaca man slipping downstream in Cascadilla Gorge, Ithaca Police Officer Kevin McKenna didn’t hesitate.

He plunged in — gun, bullet-proof vest and all — to pull Albert Tran Nguyen, 22, to safety early Saturday morning.

“I wasn’t thinking about anything else,” McKenna said. “I saw him go into the water and I had to take action.”
McKenna’s jump was just the start of a daring, joint-agency rescue that ended with Nguyen being lifted from the gorge and airlifted to the hospital.

At about 4 a.m., McKenna and Ithaca Police Officer Mike Nelson responded to a report of a person at the bottom of the Cascadilla Gorge between Oak Avenue and Cornell’s Ward Laboratory needing assistance, according to police reports.

The officers met the man who had called in the report, who then guided them along a foot trail above the gorge on the south side. The man had heard Nguyen calling for help, police said.

Though there was some ambient light, visibility was low, McKenna said.

“You needed a flashlight to see what you were doing,” he said. “It was pretty dark in there.”

Despite the darkness, the officers spotted Nguyen sitting on an ice shelf on the gorge’s north bank. There was blood running down the left side of his face, and he was yelling incoherently — not acknowledging the officers’ attempts to communicate with him.

While Nelson stayed with the man above the gorge, McKenna slid 50 feet down the bank to make contact with Nguyen.

“I basically sat down and slid, and hoped for the best. I dug my heels into the snow to slow my descent, but that was probably the most nerve-racking thing, that slide to the bottom.”

At the water’s edge, McKenna took in the situation. Nguyen’s temple and left cheekbone, which had a large welt, were bleeding, and blood was flowing from his left ear. Nguyen’s left foot was shoeless and seemed to be injured as well.

“Once I got down there, it was apparent he was in bad shape,” McKenna said. “I recognized he was in serious trouble.”

McKenna also recognized that several yards of turbulent, possibly freezing water separated him from Nguyen, and that the unstable ice shelf on his side of the stream wouldn’t hold his weight.

“It was running water, and it had a decent cover of ice over it, so it had to be freezing or below,” he said.

A fast scan with his flashlight revealed the stream to be, for all practical purposes, fathomless.

“I had no idea how deep the water was,” he said. “It was murky. When I think about it now, it could’ve been over my head for all I knew.”

Nguyen was moaning, so McKenna tried to calm him, telling him to sit still until the Ithaca Fire Department arrived.

When Nguyen began to lie down on the ice shelf, McKenna shouted for him to sit up, the reports said. Despite his encouragement, Nguyen dropped back onto the shelf, which caused it to fracture and drop part way into the water, “leaving (Nguyen’s) head less than an inch from the flowing water.”

Nguyen looked at McKenna and tried to sit up, but to no avail.

“He was lying on the ice shelf with his head close to the water,” McKenna said. “When he flopped back down, he rolled into water and went head first down the stream, completely submerged.”

McKenna jumped, landed in the waist-deep stream, struggled through the current, and grabbed Nguyen. He estimated he was wearing anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds of equipment and clothing, including a leather jacket.

“I picked his entire body up and carried him to solid ground,” he said. “The current was pulling him down.”

McKenna dragged Nguyen to the north bank, 15 feet downstream from where he had fallen in the water, and lifted him onto the ice shelf.

“It wasn’t easy to cross, and it was harder when you’re dragging someone,” he said. “But it was pure adrenaline at that point, and I didn’t even think about it.”

To hear him speak, McKenna’s memory of the events is like clockwork — literally. They arrived at the scene at about 3:55 a.m., he said, and Nguyen dropped into the water at about 4:01 a.m. The immediate crisis had transpired in five minutes.

For the next ten minutes, however, McKenna said he struggled to get on the ice shelf himself while holding Nguyen on the shelf and out of the water — a problem complicated by the fragile ice shelf itself, which kept breaking under his weight.

“Once I found a foothold, I was able to climb out of the water,” he said.

Nelson had slid down on the south side of the gorge when McKenna went into the water, but was unable to reach McKenna and Nguyen on the north side. While Ithaca firefighters rigged lines to climb down to the pair and extract Nguyen safely, McKenna waited with Nguyen.

From the top of the gorge on the north side, Cornell University Police Officer Beverly Hughes tossed down a chemical suit and McKenna covered Nguyen with it to keep him warm.

“I covered him up with it the best I could,” he said.

He monitored Nguyen’s vital signs during the wait, McKenna said. Though Nguyen was unresponsive to stimuli and his eyes were rolled back in his head, he was breathing slowly and had a strong pulse, he added.

“I was concerned about losing the victim,” McKenna said. “He wasn’t in good shape, and it looked like he was getting worse. There was an obvious level of urgency to get him out of there.”

Ithaca Firefighter Jim Crowley climbed down the north side of the gorge at about 4:25 a.m., according to the reports. He and McKenna moved Nguyen onto dry blankets, covered him with other blankets and stabilized his head. Another firefighter arrived and they began to prepare to lift Nguyen from the gorge.

“It wasn’t until Crowley came down that (Nguyen) began to come around,” McKenna said.

When firefighters asked him if he wanted help getting out of the gorge, McKenna said he refused.

“I decided to stay there and make sure (Nguyen) got out, and help in any way possible,” he said.

He also stayed to help Crowley on the narrow bank and ice shelf, which had become so unstable by this time that Crowley was standing in the water for the majority of the time, he said.

Ithaca firefighters, Ithaca police and Bangs ambulance personnel all took part in lifting Nguyen from the gorge safely at 5:18 a.m., fire officials said.

The patient safely away, McKenna walked 20 feet downstream, found an easy grade, and climbed out of the gorge on his own two numb feet. After receiving treatment from ambulance personnel, McKenna went home, changed and tried to thaw out.

“I couldn’t feel my feet,” he said. “It took a while to get warmed back up.”

Nguyen was airlifted to Arnot-Ogden Medical Center in serious condition, has since been treated and released.

“I’m glad he’s ok,” McKenna said. “It would’ve weighed heavily on me personally had I stayed at the top of the gorge and done nothing.”

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2007

Cop mounts bus rescue

A quick-thinking OPP constable helped dozens of passengers trapped in a burning bus reach safety yesterday after a massive chain-reaction crash during whiteout conditions on Hwy. 400.

Const. Dave Woodford was one of the first on the scene of the accident involving up to 75 vehicles near Bradford.Along with Jamie Kolarski of the York Regional Police, Woodford used his baton to force open a window and climb into the burning bus to help the 57 mostly Asian passengers escape.

The driver of the bus, which was heading to Casino Rama, was seriously injured.

The driver of a propane tanker was fighting for his life in critical condition last night in Sunnybrook hospital after his fully loaded rig slammed into the back of another truck around 2 p.m., tying up both sides of the highway.

It took almost three hours for emergency workers to remove the driver from his vehicle.

“It’s definitely life-threatening,” OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley said of his condition. “But he was conscious and talking to rescuers.”

The tanker driver was taken to South Lake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket before being moved to Sunnybrook.

About 40-45 people suffered minor injuries in the chain-reaction crash and were taken to South Lake by school bus. “Some vehicles were severely damaged,” Woolley said. “I’m surprised it wasn’t even worse.”

All northbound lanes of the 400 were closed last night, but one southbound lane did re-open around 6 p.m.

Drivers had been urged to stay off the roads north of the GTA yesterday due to high winds and blowing snow.

OPP Sgt. Jack Goobie said the severe winds made visibility extremely poor and caused major drifting in some areas, closing dozens of roads and stretches of highway.

Thursday, Mar. 8, 2007

Hero cops save woman

An OPP officer secured his partner with rope to prevent them from falling as they clung to a young woman in a dramatic rush-hour rescue on an overpass over Hwy. 401.

“This is not something we do every day,” said Sgt. Tom Kaudelka. “It was a very challenging rescue.”

Police shut the westbound lanes of Canada’s busiest highway around 5 p.m. Friday after the young woman, who appeared to be in her teens, was spotted on the support beams of a Keele St. overpass.

Kaudelka said his partner, whom he identified only by his last name, Connell, raced up the underside of the bridge and grabbed the distraught woman’s arm.

Using a rope, Kaudelka secured himself and Connell to the bridge to prevent the woman from falling as cars and trucks sped by underneath.

“She would have been hanging over the westbound lanes if she slipped,” he said yesterday. “It felt like it took a long time but the entire thing took less than 10 minutes.”

He said three other officers managed to stop traffic on the westbound lanes during the daring rescue.

With the woman secured, a transport truck was summoned under the bridge and she was lowered to the roof of the trailer, police said.

The woman was then taken to Humber Church Hospital.

“We still don’t know who the woman is or how old she is,” Kaudelka said. “We know very little about her.”

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007

Honors bestowed on those who make a difference

A number of Woodland police officers were awarded Thursday for their leadership, volunteerism and dedication to the WPD.

Most of the awards were given by Police Chief Carey Sullivan, while others were recognized by their peers.

Sullivan awarded Officer of the Year to Dallas Hyde for his varied involvement in the department – from being a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team and the Honor Guard to being a school resource officer.

Meanwhile, officers selected Crime Analyst Officer Liz Gunson for Employee of the year. She was recognized by her peers as a team player in her daily work with individual officers, the Gang Violence Suppression Unit team, the investigations division and administration in providing information and analysis of crimes and crime trends.

Gunson is credited with asking to have the Crime Analysis Unit office moved to a location that would be closer to the patrol officers’ work area to facilitate their access to CAU. She has developed flyers and binders for specific beats and subjects.

Hyde was hired by the WPD in August 2000 as a Police Officer Trainee while he was attending the Sacramento County Law enforcement Academy. Upon his graduation from the academy in January 2001, he was sworn in as a full-time patrol officer.

He worked as a patrol officer until June 2003 when he was selected to be a school resource officer for the department. He was an SRO until July 2006 when he was then selected to fill a detective vacancy in the investigations division. Hyde is also a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team and the Honor Guard.

Hyde is recognized for his involvement in the community with his support of the Woodland Soroptimist’s annual holiday bazaar, the PTA, Woodland High School cheerleader’s fundraisers and fundraising events at the Willow Springs Elementary School. He has participated in the Every 15 Minutes Program at our local high schools and the Woodland Police Department’s Shop-With-A-Cop program presented in conjunction with Wal-Mart and he is a Cal Ripken baseball coach.

Sullivan awarded police volunteer Gerald Dawson Volunteer of the Year for donating 313 hours in the traffic division since March 2006. Dawson retired from Spreckle’s Sugar Company in 2001 after working there for 42 years.

“Every Tuesday and Wednesday he has patrolled the city streets and neighborhoods looking for Abandoned Vehicles and also report on hazardous code enforcement issues as well,” Sullivan said.

The GVSU and Crime Investigation Unit were both awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation. Both units were recognized for their performance that is above and beyond their normal duties and is accomplished by functioning as a team.

The GVSU was recognized for their handling of a series of thefts in Yolo County that exceeded $50,000, Sullivan said.

The CIU is comprised of three Community Service Officers: Dale Phillips, Kelly York and Norma Rodriguez. Supervisors praise CIU members for their quick and eager response, even when called during off-duty hours; the skill they demonstrate in performing their duties; and the way they integrate their activities with others involved in the investigation.

Sullivan recognized four employees for their leadership skills – Ricky Wright, Omar Flores, Ted Ruiz and Derrek Kaff.

Wright joined the WPD in 1999 after serving in the US Marine Corps. Wright serves the department in many different ways as a sniper on SWAT, representing the department as a member of the Police Honor Guard and acting as a field training officer.

Flores, since joining the department in 2002, has established himself as a leader, said Sullivan.

“He frequently stops at parks, play areas, or elsewhere where children congregate to provide a positive influence and to let them know that the police are there to help. Omar has especially worked to maintain a bridge between the department and the Hispanic community. This past year he organized a power bench press contest in support of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center,” Sullivan said.

Ruiz joined the WPD in August 2004. He moved through the Field Training Officer program and upon becoming a solo beat officer demonstrated an exceptional ability and determination to provide the highest quality of law enforcement services.

Kaff has been with the WPD since 2000 and promoted to sergeant in July 2003. Kaff has been assigned as the administrative sergeant since March 2005. Kaff has sought to hire the very best people at the WPD.

Monday, Feb. 26, 2007

Hero officers to get top lifesaving award

Two hero policemen who braved stormy seas in the middle of the night to dramatically rescue a drowning woman are to receive top lifesaving awards.

Inspector Pete Meteau and PC Chris Fryer, both of Weymouth police, stripped off before battling huge waves to reach the woman, who was struggling to keep afloat 100 metres from the shore.

The woman, 32, who waded into the sea off Weymouth beach in her pyjamas, initially resisted attempts at being rescued and struggled with the two officers before being towed to safety.

The pair’s efforts last October were recognised at top level today when it was announced they would receive the Royal Humane Society Testimonials on Vellum, approved by the society’s president Princess Alexandra.

Insp Meteau, 50, who is in charge of policing the town centre, is captain of the Dorset Police Lifesaving Team.

He said after the rescue last year: “Conditions were rough but the woman was in trouble and I was just doing my job.

“I do train for just this sort of incident with the lifesaving team, so it is just another way to help keep Weymouth as safe as possible.”

It will be the second time Insp Meteau will receive a Royal Humane Society award.

In 1999 he saved the life of a drunken man who jumped off Bournemouth Pier.

This latest drama unfolded when the Swindon woman, who had been staying in a guesthouse, was caught on CCTV walking into the sea just after midnight on October 1, 2006. Insp Meteau and PC Fryer were among the first officers on scene.

Police dog handler PC Fryer, 44, said: “When I arrived Pete was already swimming out.

“It was a dark and stormy night, but I didn’t hesitate. We took the woman’s arms and brought her back to shore. Pete and I are both good swimmers so the woman couldn’t have been in better hands.

“Afterwards I got changed and went back on duty.”

He added: “It was a difficult rescue but I’m glad I did it. I would do it again.”

The woman was released to her family after being treated in hospital.

The Royal Humane Society’s secretary, Major General David Pennefather, said: “Both police officers quickly recognised the need for immediate action and did not shirk from the job – they acted selflessly and without hesitation.

“They are a credit to the force and thoroughly deserve their awards.”

The awards, which were made on the recommendation of Dorset Police, will be presented later.

Hero cops honoured

A dozen people were rescued from a burning vessel last June. now the two officers who brought them to safety are receiving commendations.

Constables Mike Lynch and Jamie Gibson got the may day call at around midnight.

While Lynch ferried the passengers to safety, Gibson climbed onto the burning vessel with a small fire extinguisher.

“We did a quick search of the vessel to see if we had anyone else on board and certainly we had the engineer and skipper on board. Keeping it in check for while the fire boat arrived on scene and was able to extinguish the rest of the fire, and keep it from going under,” he says.

The two officers will receive the Chief Constable’s Commendation Monday morning.

Friday, Feb. 23, 2007

Off-Duty Police Officer Rescues 5 People From Fire

An off-duty police officer on his way to work rescued five people, including three children, late Tuesday night from burning South Side residence, police said.

Englewood District Officer Michael O’Connor said he was on his way to work about 10:50 p.m. when he saw the two-story apartment building, located at 1758 W. 71st St., on fire. O’Connor said he stopped his car and kicked in the door to the building and starting yelling for people to get out.

“I was thinking that I am not a firefighter, what am I doing?” O’Connor said. “I was just trying to save people before the fire got too bad.”

As O’Connor was going up the stairs, he started grabbing three children, ages 2, 8 and 10, and throwing them outside into the snow. “I told them [the residents] to get into my car,” he said. Some of the residents were partially clothed.

The off-duty officer rescued five people from the fire at 1758 W. 71st St., police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said. O’Connor has been with the Chicago Police Department for 2 1/2 years.

Neither the officer nor the rescued individuals were injured, Greer said.

Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007

Cops Rescue Dog From Condo Fire

A police officer was sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation after saving a dog from a condo fire in Loma Portal.

The fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Feb 14 morning on the third story of a condo complex in the 3000 block of Rue D’Orleans.

Two San Diego police officers were first on the scene. They forced their way into the unit and carried the poodle safely away from the flames.

When firefighters arrived they quickly knocked down the fire.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Spokesman Maurice Luque told NBC 7/39 the blaze was sparked by an unattended candle fire.

The candle melted down, burning a chair near the kitchen and some carpet in the unit. Officials said the fire caused an estimated $10,000 in damage, mainly in the condo’s kitchen area.

One officer was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital as a precaution.

The condo’s owner was not home at the time of the fire. There were no other injuries reported.

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007

Three Officers Honored For Highway Rescue

For police and firefighters, small acts of heroism, strength and bravery happen even on an ordinary day. But Dec. 8 was no ordinary day.

Just before 3 p.m., a snow squall crossed the Lower Cape, spawning a number of traffic accidents along the Suicide Alley section of Route 6. The most dramatic of those crashes happened just west of Exit 10, where a Ford Bronco crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on. The driver of the Bronco, 55-year-old Robert Charon of Harwich, was pinned underneath the overturned vehicle, literally unable to breathe because of the weight of the vehicle. The truck’s gas tank had ruptured, and gasoline was flowing all over the man and the area.

For their part in the rescue that ensued, three Harwich police officers went before the board of selectmen Monday night to receive commendation medals, and the thanks of the town fathers.

Off-duty officer Joseph Labelle, an avid weight lifter, arrived at the scene to find a state highway worker trying to assist. Acting without any rescue tools, Labelle and the highway worker, George Boucher, lifted the vehicle onto its side, allowing Charon to take some raspy breaths. Officers Neil Nolan and Kevin Considine arrived at the scene, and Nolan nosed his cruiser against the vehicle, pushing it upright and holding it in place. When firefighters arrived and began extricating the man from the wreck, Considine helped in that dangerous effort. The whole time, all of the officers—and the Harwich firefighters present—faced the real possibility that a spark might reach the gasoline, igniting the entire accident scene. After the tricky rescue, the trapped driver was safely delivered to the hospital.

Chief of Police William Mason told selectmen Monday that the department expects its officers to be dedicated, honest and professional, but on rare occasions, officers exceed those expectations. In the six-and-a-half years he’s been chief, “I’ve awarded two medals in that entire period of time. So these do not come frequently,” Mason said.

On the nomination of Lt. Thomas Gagnon, Mason presented Labelle with a Distinguished Service Medal, second only to the Medal of Valor among awards the department issues. Labelle also received two days’ leave in recognition of the honor. The chief presented Meritorious Service Medals to Nolan and Considine, and each received a day of leave.

“I can’t express to you how proud I am of these individual officers and the services that they have provided to the community,” Mason said.

Deputy Fire Chief William Flynn said the police officers remained and actively helped with the rescue even once firefighters arrived.

“Everybody was working ankles-deep in gasoline, and they did not shy away. They continued to stay right there and go ahead and help extricate the patient from the vehicle,” Flynn said. That kind of cooperation between the police and fire departments is not unusual, he noted. “Whenever we show up at motor vehicle accidents and we’re short-handed, they’re always there to lend a hand,” Flynn said.

The selectmen paused their meeting to allow the officers to be photographed with their families. A large number of other police officers and firefighters also attended the meeting to show their support.

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