Nine Officers Receive 2007 VACP/VPCF Awards for Valor
August 28, 2007 | VACP
Special Recognition Given to Virginia Beach Police K-9 "Arco"
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police on August 28, 2007 presented nine Virginia police officers from five agencies with the Association’s highest honor, the Award for Valor.
The Award for Valor recognizes a law enforcement officer who, in the line of duty, performs an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged with an adversary at imminent personal risk. The awards are presented at the Valor Awards Banquet at the annual conference of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, held this year at the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. The awards program is a joint effort of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation.
For additional information, please contact VACP Executive Director Dana Schrad.
Photos of the awards presentations are available at http://photos.vachiefs.org/gallery/3387057.
2007 Recipients of the VACP/VPCF Awards for Valor:
On April 6, 2007, Officer Taylor and Officer Duez responded to a robbery alarm at a pizza restaurant in the City of Chesapeake. The officers were given the information that two armed suspects were inside, along with workers and business patrons. When the officers arrived, they surprised the two suspects who were exiting the rear of the business. One of the suspects started firing a handgun at Officer Taylor, who returned fire. Officer Taylor was struck by one of the rounds. However, even though he was injured, he continued to transmit vital information to other arriving units.
During the exchange of gunfire, one of the suspects fled the scene in a waiting vehicle, while the other suspect ran from the scene on foot. Officer Duez, who was joined by Officer Boussuot, immediately pursued the suspect who left in the vehicle.
A high-speed pursuit began that led the two officers into the City or Norfolk where the suspect decided to stop. The suspect then exited his vehicle and began firing on both Officers Duez and Boussuot. This gunfight took place in a congested area in a housing project. Bullets fired by the suspect struck Officer Duez's police vehicle. One of the rounds went through the windshield just above the steering wheel. Had Officer Duez not exited his vehicle as quickly as he did, this round likely would have seriously wounded him. The officers returned fire and the suspect was mortally wounded.
Officer Taylor was transported from the scene to an area hospital, where he underwent surgery. The suspect who fled the scene on foot was apprehended later that night and was taken into custody without further incident.
Front Royal Police Department
Investigator Brian M. Whited (photo)
At approximately 8:00 P.M. on June 27, 2006, the Front Royal Police Department received a report of an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Crown Station located at 63 West 14th Street. Upon police arrival, the lone clerk advised that a subject who had fled on foot had just robbed her. Police units began an immediate search of the area.
Soon after, the Police Department received a report of an armed robbery in progress at the Front Royal Motel, less than two blocks from the Crown Station. When police arrived, the motel clerk advised that a male subject had entered the lobby with a handgun. The gunman ordered the clerk to put his hands up and give him money, but the robbery was interrupted when another customer entered the lobby and the gunman left in an unknown direction.
Police units converged to the area of the Front Royal Motel, including Investigator Whited, who was dressed in street clothing. Investigator Whited observed a subject running across North Shenandoah Avenue and noticed him removing a silver handgun from under his right arm. Investigator Whited drew his duty weapon, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered the subject to drop the gun. The subject pointed the weapon into the air and was again ordered several times to drop the gun as Investigator Whited walked towards him. Investigator Whited grabbed the subject from behind by the shirt, ordering him to drop the gun and to get on the ground. The subject still was not complying with Whited's commands, so Whited pushed him to the ground and gained control of the subject's left wrist. Whited continued to order the subject to drop the gun as the subject tried to roll over onto his side. Investigator Whited pushed the subject back over and was finally able to remove the handgun from the subject. The handgun was a semi-automatic loaded with ammunition.
The subject was charged with armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (two counts), possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony, and resisting arrest.
Investigator Whited received a Letter of Commendation for the outstanding job done in apprehending John William Dodson, Jr. and Paul Michael Sullivan in connection with the robberies of the Crown Station and the Front Royal Motel. The restraint he exhibited in this incident without the use of deadly force is a tribute to his training and experience.
Investigator Whited is assigned to the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force and has been employed with the Front Royal Police Department for approximately four years.
Harrisonburg Police Department
Sergeant Troy Shane Brown (photo)
On April 30, 2006, the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office requested the assistance of the Harrisonburg Police Department with a barricaded suspect who had shot two people and possibly was holding a third hostage.
The incident occurred at a home in the town of Bridgewater, in a largely wooded area with a private drive going past the home leading to other houses.
William and Carol Gardner lived in one of those homes. On April 30th, as they drove past the Grattan home, Jonathan Grattan Jr. opened fire on their vehicle with an AK- 47 rifle, killing Mrs. Gardner and the family dog and wounding Mr. Gardner.
The shooting occurred outside the residence of Jonathan Grattan, Jr.'s grandmother, Edith Grattan, who was home during the shooting. Sheriff’s Office personnel responded, contained the event and contacted the Harrisonburg Police Department SWAT team to respond under a mutual aid agreement.
As the assistant SWAT Team leader, Sgt. Brown was present during the entire 20-hour ordeal. By the time the team arrived, Jonathan Grattan had barricaded himself in a basement fortress. He had several weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a gas mask.
Negotiations were ongoing but fruitless as Jonathan fired several hundred rounds through the walls of the basement. Several rounds struck armored personnel carriers (APCs) as negotiations continued via bullhorn. Bullet holes were evident throughout the house as well.
Eventually, OC gas was deployed into the house, forcing Edith Grattan into the upstairs kitchen area. Sgt. Brown exited the APC and entered the kitchen. Sgt. Brown grabbed Edith Grattan, who was not cooperative, and carried her to safety, in spite of the tremendous risk of injury or death.
Eventually, a robot placed an explosive charge against the basement wall. When detonated, the robot entered the house through the hole in the wall and Jonathan Grattan surrendered.
On February 18, 2007, Officers Crotts, Blackford and Bowman responded to an initial call at 2:17 a.m. to a residence in the city. The caller, later identified as a 10-year-old boy, told dispatchers that a man was in the home with a gun. The man was an associate of the boy's mother. Officers Crotts, Blackford, and Bowman approached the residence and were let inside by the 10-year-old boy. The three officers could hear talking on the second floor of the home. They directed the child to stay downstairs and quietly ran up the stairs.
Officers Crotts was the lead officer, while Officers Blackford and Bowman followed. Officer Crotts observed the suspect, along with the female and an infant in one of the bedrooms. Officer Crotts identified himself to the suspect as a law enforcement officer, and ordered the suspect to show his hands. The female then exited the room with the infant, and the suspect produced a pistol and began firing at the three uniformed officers. All three officers retreated down the stairs. None of the officers was hit.
The suspect, who had been hit by Officer Crotts' gunfire, ran into another bedroom, which was dark. The officers, who were already downstairs, heard the suspect fire another shot. At that time, the officers were told by the female that her seven-year-old son was upstairs. Officers Crotts and Blackford ran back upstairs, unsure of whether they would be fired upon again by the suspect.
They entered the dark bedroom, where they found the suspect and a seven-year-old boy. The boy had a gunshot wound, and was carried out of the home by Officer Blackford. Officer Crotts stayed in the bedroom and secured the suspect. Once the seven-year-old-boy was taken outside, Officer Brian W. Hughes, who is also a certified EMT, began performing CPR on the child in an effort to keep him alive until paramedics could arrive and transport him to the hospital. The boy survived his injuries.
The suspect also survived his injuries and is in jail, awaiting trial.
Virginia Beach Police Department
MPO Christopher E. Fox (photo)
— with Special Recognition to K-9 "Arco"
On January 15, 2007, Virginia Beach Police Officers responded to a gunshot wound case at the Oceans Cabaret Lounge on Oceana Boulevard in Virginia Beach. According to initial reports, approximately 20 shots had been fired in the vicinity, and one person was shot. Additional information revealed that the two suspects, before fleeing the scene on foot, also fired at an off-duty deputy sheriff who intervened in the situation. K9 Officers Fox and Canning responded to provide assistance. Master Police Officer (MPO) B.T. Canning immediately began to get updated information at the scene while MPO Fox deployed with his K9 partner, Arco, to initiate a search.
The K9 team located a track and, with the assistance of the air unit, began working and clearing areas behind the business. No assist units were immediately available to assist in the search and updated information was relayed that two victims at the scene had been shot to death.
K9 Arco continued to search and led MPO Fox to a wood line at which point he began to alert. The air unit advised they could not see into the thick wood line and MPO Fox moved to an area of concealment and posted up until assist units could arrive 20 minutes later. MPO Canning and K9 Falco responded and assisted in covering the wood line. Officer Havrilla responded to assist MPO Fox with the search. MPO Fox heard movement in the area of a marsh and slowly began to clear the area with K9 Arco. The K9 team proceeded with caution, coordinating the search with the other units.
Moving through the marsh in knee-deep water, the K9 team approached an area of dense shrubbery and undergrowth where K9 Arco began to alert. As the team continued moving down a steep embankment, clearing that area, K9 Arco located the two suspects lying right next to one another under a thick layer of vegetation. One suspect was apprehended by K9 Arco and was pulled from his hiding spot. MPO Fox coordinated the "hands-on" arrest with Officer Havrilla, who moved in to help secure the suspects. One handgun and an extra ammo-magazine were located in the area where the suspects had been hiding. MPO Canning and K9 Officer Keisel responded out the next morning at daybreak and located two additional handguns in the same vicinity.
With no assist units immediately available, the K9 team continued to move forward in their search for the homicide suspects. The team was able to narrow down the location of the suspects to a wooded area, and their perseverance subsequently resulted in the apprehension of two suspects that minutes before had shot and killed two people.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is a statewide organization of federal, state and local police chiefs and law enforcement executives dedicated to improving the professionalism of police agencies in Virginia. The Association was founded in 1926 and has more than 600 members. The Association provides annual training programs for law enforcement executives, directs a statewide traffic safety program for law enforcement, produces Freedom of Information Act guidelines for law enforcement and lobbies for law enforcement interests at the state and federal level.
The Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation is a charitable educational foundation created by the VACP to provide training and education programs, an awards program, youth scholarships and a youth leadership camp for high school students.
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