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Seven Virginia Law Enforcement Officers Receive VACP/VPCF Awards for Valor

August 19, 2012 | VACP

News Image The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police on August 14, 2012 presented seven Virginia law enforcement officers from two agencies with the Association’s highest honor, the Award for Valor. The awards were presented at the Valor Awards Banquet at the annual conference of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, held this year at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia. The awards program is a joint effort of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation.

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.

Officers receiving the 2012 Awards for Valor are:

Prince William County Police Department
Lt. John J. Twomey (Ret.)
Officer Richard D. Visconti
Officer Matthew D. Andersen
Officer John P. Clair
Charles D. Kincheloe (former Officer)

On January 2, 2011, around 1 a.m., officers were dispatched to a reported violent domestic altercation in Haymarket. Information was dispatched that the suspect had shot his wife with a 9mm handgun and was still in the home. The wife reported that she was able to leave the residence and saw her husband drive off in his car.

Officers Richard D. Visconti and John P. Clair responded and deployed a tire-deflation device across the roadway when car was observed approaching at a high rate of speed. The officers saw the vehicle recklessly strike the left curb of the roadway but it did not stop. As the suspect approached Route 15, he slowly proceeded to the northbound lanes of Route 15 and came to a stop. Officer Visconti took up a cover position by his cruiser as Officers Clair, Charles D. Kincheloe and Matthew D. Andersen (riding with Kincheloe) arrived.

Officers Clair, Kincheloe and Andersen exited their cars and took cover. Officer Clair began to yell at the suspect to drop his weapon and get out of the car. The suspect instead exited his vehicle, began to pace and yelled belligerently at the officers. The suspect began firing multiple shots towards the officers. All officers returned fire in defense of themselves and nearby motorists.

Lieutenant John J. Twomey arrived on the scene and observed several uninvolved motorists approaching the intersection where the gunfire was occurring. Lieutenant Twomey pulled past all of the cruisers further into the intersection to block the oncoming motorists from entering the field of gunfire. Officer Visconti yelled for a cease-fire, but the suspect reappeared, jumped back into the driver’s seat of his vehicle, and began to proceed north on Route 15.

The officers immediately jumped back in their vehicles to pursue the suspect. The suspect vehicle continued at speeds approaching 80 mph for almost two miles. The suspect was force d to co me to a stop when his vehicle succumbed to its deteriorated tires and other damage.

Once stopped, the suspect turned off his vehicle’s lights, making it difficult for the officers to see the suspect’s movements. The suspect again opened fire from inside the car and then suddenly flung the driver side door open and began to exit the vehicle.

Officer Visconti could see the gun in the suspect’s right hand. Feeling the suspect would again begin to shoot at the officers, Officer Visconti fired three rifle rounds at the suspect as he stood up outside of the car. Apparently injured, the suspect fell back into his car and yelled that he needed medical attention.

Officer Visconti was able to see that the suspect was no longer holding the gun and that the suspect was bleeding.  Officer Visconti and Officer Andersen repositioned themselves for better cover.

Two additional officers arrived and the team held its position while Officer Clair continued to command the suspect to exit the vehicle. After approximately 10 minutes, the suspect finally exited the vehicle and lay on the ground as he was ordered to do. Officer Clair continued to issue more commands to the suspect, but the suspect was unresponsive.

Given that the suspect was 50 yards from the nearest officers, lying in a dimly lit area, and had access to a weapon he was not afraid to use, the decision was made to assemble an arrest team guarded by a ballistic shield. All units maintained their positions behind cover and continued to issue commands to the suspect.  An armored personnel carrier (APC) was brought in so the arrest team could visually inspect the suspect. When it was confirmed that the suspect no longer possessed the gun, the team exited through the rear of the APC to make the arrest. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident.

Officers Richard Visconti, Matthew Andersen and John Clair, with now-retired Lieutenant John Twomey, and Charles Kincheloe (former officer) performed bravely, professionally, and with valor. They acted without hesitation when they engaged a violent and extremely dangerous adversary.  With great risk to their own safety, they performed heroically, allowing for this incident to be successfully and safely resolved.

Virginia State Police
Sergeant Becky G. Curl
Sergeant Jason R. Hypes

May 30, 2011, was a difficult and dangerous day for the law enforcement community of Virginia. A Virginia State Police Sergeant and Trooper found themselves in a position of having to valiantly confront and shoot a heavily armed, highly trained fellow law-enforcement officer. A Franklin County Deputy Sheriff who had just murdered his ex-wife led State Police on a high-speed pursuit on Interstate 81, and then shot and injured a State Police sergeant.

It was Memorial Day when Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Agee shot and killed his ex-wife at a gas station in the City of Salem. He fled the scene in his marked patrol car, which was later spotted by a Virginia State Police sergeant. A pursuit was initiated that led the two vehicles west on Route 460 and onto Interstate 81. When Agee finally pulled over on 1-81, he shot at and struck the State Police sergeant. Agee then fled again in his patrol car and had just pulled off onto an exit ramp when Virginia State Police Sergeant Becky G. Curl and Virginia State Police Trooper (now Sergeant) Jason R. Hypes pulled up behind him. Armed with a high-powered assault rifle, Agee instantly exited his vehicle and began walking towards the two State Police personnel.

Trooper Hypes and Sergeant Curl, in unison, made the selfless decision to risk their lives in order to safeguard others by confronting Agee, who was a skilled marksman and had already proven his willful disregard for human life. Trooper Hypes and Sergeant Curl did not have the time or luxury to seek the benefit of suitable cover, thus leaving them exposed to potential gunfire. They each knew they had to act quickly to eliminate the threat Agee posed to them and the motoring public moving through the area. With Agee just 20 yards away, Sergeant Curl’s only protection was her Kevlar vest.

Sergeant Curl and Trooper Hypes, armed only with their issued service pistols, first verbally challenged Agee to surrender his assault rifle so that an arrest could be made without further incident. Despite the repeated commands to comply and put his weapon down, Agee persisted to lower the barrel of the assault rifle, aim at Sergeant Curl and Trooper Hypes, and, within seconds, begin shooting at them.

Sergeant Curl and Trooper Hypes were left with no other option than to return fire and subsequently shot Agee multiple times. As soon as it was safe to approach the deputy, Sergeant Curl rendered first aid to prevent him from bleeding to death. Meanwhile, Trooper Hypes secured the deputy’s weapon and called for rescue. Agee’s life was clearly saved by Sergeant Curl’s and Trooper Hypes’ swift response and treatment to his injuries.

What played out in the middle of the afternoon on a heavily traveled interstate on a busy holiday travel day put countless lives at stake, including Sergeant Curl’s and Sergeant Hypes’. Yet, these two courageous State Police personnel accepted the imminent risk to their lives in order to protect others. They were forced into the difficult and unusual position of having to potentially take the life of a fellow public safety professional.

Sergeant Curl’s and Sergeant Hypes’ commitment to the Virginia State Police values of valor and service was exemplified that day by their quick and responsible actions.

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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 Virginia Police Chiefs Foundation is a charitable educational foundation created by the VACP to provide training and education programs for law enforcement executives.

PHOTOS:  High-resolution photos from the awards ceremony may be downloaded from
http://photos.vachiefs.org/VACP-Conferences/2012-VACP-Annual/2012-08-14-VACP-Awards-Banquet/

PHOTO CREDIT: Erin Schrad, VACP