Virginia Police Chiefs Recognize Fifty-Three Officers with 2020-21 Awards for Lifesaving
Fifty-three Virginia public safety officers are the recipients of the 2020-21 Awards for Lifesaving presented by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation (VACP). The awards were announced August 23 at the VACP Annual Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, and will be awarded at a later date at ceremonies at the officers' agencies.
The Award for Lifesaving recognizes an officer's actions that put the officer in harm's way in the attempt to save the life of another individual. This year's honorees risked their own lives in an effort to save others from burning buildings and vehicles, drownings, stabbings, shootings, attempted suicides, and other dangerous situations.
The 2020 recipients of the VACP Award for Lifesaving are as follows:
Danville Police Department
Officer Roger Woody
On April 15, 2020, Officer Woody responded to a report of a threat. Officer Woody spoke with a man who advised that his neighbor, a 43-year-old man, might be experiencing a mental health crisis. Officer Woody attempted to make contact with the man at his apartment, eventually talking to him through a window. The man told Officer Woody that there were people trying to kill him.
After calling for assistance from Danville – Pittsylvania Community Services and a supervisor, Officer Woody returned to the apartment. Officer Woody looked through a window and could see what appeared to be an open flame in the living room and forced entry in order to extinguish the flame. While on the phone with the Danville – Pittsylvania Community Services, Officer Woody observed the man eventually grabbed two knives, told Officer Woody that he could not go back and that Officer Woody would have to kill him. Officer Woody performed a tactical retreat and the man walked back towards the kitchen and pulled a box spring in front of the door to barricade himself.
Incident command was established, and crisis negotiators responded. The man was eventually taken into custody and transported to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Officer Woody quickly found himself in a situation where he could have used deadly force to address the threat. However, he was able to create distance, perform a tactical retreat, and request backup to resolve the situation without harm to anyone involved. Although the man was also charged criminally as a result of his actions on this date, he also received mental health assistance, which was Officer Woody's intent at the very beginning.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Danville Officer Roger Woody with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince William County Police Department
Master Police Officer Joseph Allen
On October 8, 2019, Master Police Officer Joe Allen was vacationing on the beach in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. While on the beach he thought he heard yelling from the water. MPO Allen commandeered a boogie board from a bystander and entered further into the water. While walking into the ocean he observed two heads bobbing in the water approximately 75 yards from his position. He began to swim towards the two victims. By the time he reached the drowning swimmers (a father and his 14-year-old son), both were exhausted and barely able to hold their heads above water. MPO Allen placed their hands on the boogie board, kept them calm, and reassured them help was on the way. MPO Allen held on to the board as waves battered the three swimmers. At times MPO Allen had to grab the exhausted swimmers as they fell off the boogie board.
Public safety officers entered the water and reached MPO Allen and the two other swimmers and brought all three were brought to safety.
St. Augustine Beach Police Department Commander Thomas Ashlock said, “If it weren't for Joe's quick thinking of grabbing a boogie board from the beach and his selfless actions of going into the water, the father and son would surely not be here today. His quick thinking and decision to enter the water allowed the two victims to stay afloat for myself and another one of my officers along with a lifeguard to safely bring everyone back to shore.”
Had MPO Allen not acted quickly and decisively, this incident would have ended tragically. Despite being off duty, he rose to the occasion and placed himself at significant risk to save two strangers.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Prince William County Master Police Officer Joseph Allen with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince William County Police Department
Officer Colby Matthews
Officer M. R.
On April 16, 2019, Officers R. and Matthews were dispatched to assist with a structure fire. Through dispatch the officers were aware that the residents were stuck on the third floor of the townhome.
When Officers R. and Matthews arrived on-scene, another officer was already evacuating the neighboring townhomes. Fire and Rescue were still not on-scene, so Officer R. walked around to the back of the townhome and observed the back deck in flames. Officer Matthews joined Officer R. at the rear of the home. They went to check the basement door and could see a large amount of smoke in the basement. Officer Matthews was able to locate the occupants on the third floor leaning out the back bedroom window and black smoke was also seen coming from the window. They were unable to get to the lower levels of the residence due to the large amount of smoke in the hallway.
Due to the large amount of smoke and knowing the home was already on fire, Officers R. and Matthews decided to climb up onto the burning deck to try and get to the residence. Officer R. located a folding chair and used that to get as close to the third story window as he could. He was able to get a 3-year-old boy safely from the mother and lower him to Officer Matthews. Officer R. then assisted the mother and father out of the same third-story window.
Once the officers were able to get the family safely from the third story to the rear deck they had to move fast since the deck was still on fire. Officer Matthews noticed that the neighboring townhome's back door was open. The distance between the back decks was smaller than the drop from the deck to the ground, so Officer R. jumped over to the neighbor's deck. Officer Matthews handed the 3-year-old over to Officer R., and then assisted mother and father over to the neighboring deck. Once on the neighboring deck, they exited the home safely and escorted the family to the arriving rescue units.
Officers R. and Matthews put their own lives at risk to help the citizens of Prince William County. Their dedication and perseverance positively reflect the highest standards established by the Prince William County Police Department.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Prince William County Officer Colby Matthews and Officer M. R. with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince William County Police Department
Officer Casey Nelsen
Officer Christopher Paradis
Officer Kevin MacFarlane
Officer Matthew Ernst
Officer Andrew Smyth
Officer Colby Matthews
— With Officer Christopher Seise receiving the VACP Award for Valor; and Officers Ryan Linkous, Kara Brown, Thomas Wheeler, Sarah Kolkmeyer, Kelsey Hannemann, Ajay Singh, and Sgt. Darren Hadro receiving a Letter of Commendation.
On October 18, 2019, officers expedited to a stabbing-in-progress call in Woodbridge. Officer Christopher Seise observed a shirtless male carrying a young female down the apartment building stairs and noticed the juvenile's upper body covered in blood. The male reached the bottom of the stairs and repeatedly punched the juvenile female in her face. Officer Seise physically took the male to the ground and attempted to take him into custody. Officer Nelsen arrived next and assisted Officer Seise with the violent suspect. Officers MacFarlane, Ernst, Smyth, Matthews and Paradis would soon arrive and all helped to get the resisting suspect, believed to be under the influence of an illegal substance, into custody.
Meanwhile, Officers Linkous, Brown, Kolkmeyer and Hannemann provided vital first aid to the juvenile victim who was suffering from a multitude of stab wounds to her torso, face and arms. Sergeant Hadro and Officer Singh responded and located a second victim suffering from multiple stab wounds all over her body. Officers Brown, Wheeler, Ernst and Smyth responded to the apartment and rendered first aid to the victim in the meantime.
Realizing there were two victims suffering from multiple stab wounds, Officer MacFarlane quickly called for a second rescue unit to respond. With the suspect in custody and scene secured, officers focused on providing first aid, relaying medical supplies to those providing the first aid, helping rescue carry their gear and supplies, securing the crime scene, and securing and relocating the suspect to a cruiser.
The apprehension of the homicidal suspect and life-saving actions undoubtedly aided in the preservation of the lives of a young girl and her mother. Each one of these officers demonstrated the highest level of professionalism.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Prince William County Officers Casey Nelsen, Officer Christopher Paradis, Officer Kevin MacFarlane, Officer Matthew Ernst, Officer Andrew Smyth, and Officer Colby Matthews with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
We also wish to commend the other officers involved for their critical rendering of first aid to the victims; and, for his extraordinary efforts to take down the suspect, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to recognize Officer Christopher Seise with the Award for Valor.
Purcellville Police Department
Officer David Camp
On Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Officer David Camp was dispatched to a domestic violence incident. The initial call description stated an adult male was armed with a knife, extremely angry, and was threatening to hurt his family and himself. The situation quickly escalated and dispatch relayed information that the subject had two gas cans and was pouring gasoline through the entire residence, as well as all over himself.
The family of the suspect was outside when Officer Camp arrived, concerned for not only their own safety, but for the well-being of their family member. Officer Camp had the remaining family members retreat to a safe distance from the residence due to the overwhelming smell of gasoline coming from the home. He quickly called for Fire and Rescue personnel due to the immediate threat of fire. After ensuring the safety of the family members, Officer Camp approached the open front door of the home.
At this time, Officer Camp was still the only officer on scene and could see clearly through the home to the back of the kitchen. He observed an empty gas can lying on the floor and the overpowering smell of gasoline. While at the open front door, Officer Camp heard a loud explosion and instantly saw the inside of the home catch on fire and heard screaming coming from the back side of the home. The subject emerged from the side of the residence completely engulfed in flames, ran into the front yard, and then collapsed. Officer Camp immediately called for medical assistance and, without regard for his own safety, ran towards the subject and began to put out the fire with his bare hands and a shirt.
Off-duty Purcellville Volunteer Firefighter John Carney was the next to arrive on scene. Officer Camp directed him to grab the garden hose and spray the individual with water to ensure the flames were out.
Even though the individual had sustained burns to over 95% of his body, the heroic actions taken by Officer Camp and Firefighter Carney kept the individual's airway open and kept him alive until he could receive proper medical treatment. After spending over five months in the hospital, the individual was able to make a full recovery. The quick and selfless actions of Officer Camp not only likely saved this individual's life, but also kept the rest of the family members safe and kept the fire from spreading elsewhere.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Purcellville Officer David Camp with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Radford Police Department
Corporal Emily Hite
On February 25, 2020, a call came in about a tree accident. Off-duty Corporal Emily Hite was a block away and heard yells for help from a male subject. Without hesitation Corporal Hite located the male subject and found that a large tree trunk had fallen on him. While Fire and EMS arrived on scene Corporal Hite placed herself underneath the male subject to stabilize him while plans were implemented on how to remove this large tree trunk. During the time that Corporal Hite was stabilizing and supporting the man she was reassuring him that everything would be okay. The victim suffered multiple serious injuries, but he is hopeful about recovering from his wounds.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Radford Corporal Emily Hite with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Virginia State Police
Trooper Joshua D. Cockerham
On June 8, 2019, heavy rainfall from a lingering storm system had caused severe flooding across much of Franklin County. State troopers were responding to multiple calls from residents and motorists concerning local roadways being underwater and blocked by floating debris.
Trooper Joshua D. Cockerham was patrolling Callaway Road when he saw an occupied vehicle that had been washed off the roadway into a field. Trooper Cockerham immediately called the VSP Salem Dispatch Center to request rescue assistance. A local farmer was also on scene and allowed Trooper Cockerham the use of his tractor. Trooper Cockerham was able to navigate the tractor through the flood water to the victim's stuck vehicle. The trooper drove the tractor as close as he could to it, then without concern for his own safety, waded through the rising floodwater to the stuck vehicle. Trooper Cockerham was able to safely maneuver the driver out of her vehicle and helped the panicked woman to the tractor. He boosted her onto the tractor and then drove them both out of the floodwaters.
Thanks to Trooper Cockerham's quick action, ingenuity, and commitment to saving the lives of others, the stranded motorist was safely rescued without incident.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Trooper Joshua D. Cockerham with the 2020 Lifesaving Award.
Virginia State Police
Trooper Matthew E. Spaulding
In the early morning hours of June 29, 2019, Trooper Matthew E. Spalding was finishing up on a traffic stop when a U.S. Park Police Officer pulled up alongside to provide assistance and back up.
Trooper Spalding and the U.S. Park Police Officer were standing at the rear of the officer's patrol vehicle when Trooper Spalding noticed a vehicle driving erratically and swerving directly towards them.
Trooper Spalding, without hesitation or regard for his own safety, quickly grabbed the officer and pulled him out of the way of the oncoming vehicle. The driver narrowly missed striking the trooper and officer, but then swerved back onto the shoulder and struck a Virginia Department of Transportation Safety Services Patrol vehicle. The VDOT employee had been on the side of the road assisting a disabled motorist. Fortunately, neither the VDOT Safety Services Patroller nor the disabled motorist was injured in the crash.
Trooper Spalding ended up charging the reckless driver with DUI. If it was not for the instant and heroic efforts of Trooper Spalding that morning, both he and the U.S. Park Police Officer could have been struck and seriously injured.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Trooper Matthew E. Spaulding with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
Virginia State Police – Aviation Unit
Senior Trooper-Pilot Benjamin T. Farmer
Flight Nurse Carl Harrison
Flight Paramedic Earl Carter
On October 23, 2019, Med-Flight 2 Trooper-Pilot Benjamin T. Farmer, Flight Nurse Carl Harrison, and Flight Medic Earl Carter were dispatched to assist the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office. An elderly hiker from Richmond was lost on the Appalachian Trail and unable to find his way out of the rugged mountainous terrain. Med-Flight arrived on-scene with only about 30 minutes of daylight left and temperatures near freezing on top of the mountain.
The Med-Flight crew located the victim, who was using the last bit of his cell phone battery to communicate with 9-1-1, a small headlamp and a machete to make his way to a small clearing at the top of the mountain. The Med-Flight crew looked closely at the clearing and made the determination to safely land and load the hiker onto the helicopter. As Trooper Farmer made the initial approach, he found the surface was too steep to fully land the aircraft. At this time, Paramedic Carter was riding up front providing critical guidance to Trooper Farmer, while he attempted to find a suitable area for landing. Trooper Farmer decided to do a right front skid touching pickup. Paramedic Carter provided verbal guidance to Trooper Farmer about hazards and aircraft location with respect to the side of the mountain, as Trooper Farmer made his approach and skid pick-up. This type of maneuver is extremely risky. Having only one point of contact on the ground makes it very difficult to hold the helicopter steady. As Trooper Farmer placed the right skid against the mountain in the confined area, Nurse Carl Harrison quickly exited the helicopter, retrieving and safely loading the hiker, while Trooper Farmer held the aircraft steady. The victim was assessed and found to be very cold but not injured. He was delivered to a local rescue ground crew where he was warmed up and received minor treatment.
Trooper-Pilot Farmer, with assistance from Paramedic Carter and Nurse Harrison, knew this was the victim's best chance - if not only chance - for survival. Trooper Farmer went above and beyond his normal duties and expertly maneuvered the helicopter with extraordinary professionalism, composure and fortitude, and is to be commended for his valiant and selfless actions.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Flight Nurse Carl Harrison and Flight Paramedic Earl Carter with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
|Virginia State Police
Trooper Joseph P. Hylan
|Richmond County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Sheriff Justin Rodriguez
On July 20, 2019, Trooper Joseph P. Hylan and Richmond County Deputy Sheriff Justin Rodriguez responded to an armed robbery call in a convenience store in Warsaw, Virginia. Upon arrival, the officers discovered the suspects had fled the scene. However, a bystander informed Trooper Hylan and Deputy Rodriguez that there had just been a shooting at the Vocational Technical Center on Route 3.
Trooper Hylan and Deputy Rodriguez immediately headed for the center. As they rounded the turn to Route 3, Trooper Hylan observed a crashed vehicle riddled with bullet holes off the eastbound lanes near the wood line by the school. The trooper saw a male subject in the roadway and female subject on the shoulder of the road. Both victims had been shot multiple times. As the trooper and deputy pulled up, they observed the male subject get up, run back to the ditch line, and then collapse.
Unsure of the location of the shooter or shooters, Trooper Hylan and Deputy Rodriguez swiftly secured the scene and called dispatch for assistance. After determining there was no further threat of gunfire, Deputy Rodriguez took command of the scene, as several of the victims' family members, friends and witnesses from the nearby convenience store were gathering and approaching the scene.
Meanwhile, Trooper Hylan quickly retrieved his First Aid Go-Bag and ran to the male victim. The man was in and out of consciousness and had sustained two gunshot wounds to his upper arm and shoulder. Trooper Hyland applied a tourniquet and chest bandage to stem the extensive bleeding.
Once he was able to render aid to the first victim, Trooper Hylan rapidly turned his attention to the female victim, who had sustained three gunshot wounds. As a direct result of the expertise and swift actions of both the trooper and deputy, the victims were kept safe and given immediate lifesaving treatment until they could be airlifted to a regional trauma center. Both survived their extensive injuries.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Virginia State Police Trooper Joseph P. Hylan and Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Rodriguez with the 2020 Award for Lifesaving.
The 2021 recipients of the VACP Award for Lifesaving are as follows:
Arlington County Police Department
Officer Sean Poveda
On August 14, 2020, a call was dispatched for shots fired in the area of North Herndon Street and 13th Street North. Multiple parties called 911 to report the sounds of an argument and shots being fired. Additional callers reported that either one or two vehicles were seen fleeing the scene.
Officer Sean Poveda responded and observed two vehicles coming from the general vicinity of the alleged shooting. Officer Poveda's emergency equipment was already activated when he noticed the vehicles. As Officer Poveda made a U-turn, both vehicles began to flee. The vehicles both increased their speeds and crossed Washington Boulevard. Officer Poveda initiated a pursuit, but due to having to make the U-turn, he was a good distance behind both vehicles. Officer Poveda was able to maintain a visual on the suspects as they both ran the red light while turning left from North Highland Street onto 10th Street North. A second red light was run by both vehicles as they crossed Washington Boulevard on eastbound 10th Street North. Ultimately, the Camaro entered eastbound Route 50. The Jeep Compass was unable to negotiate the turn at the 10th Street North/Route 50, and the vehicle ran head-first into the jersey wall, where 10th Street ends.
Officer Poveda stopped and approached the vehicle. He found that it was occupied by only one subject. The subject was suffering from unknown injuries which were later determined to be extremely severe. He was incoherent and his injuries prevented him from self-evacuating the vehicle. To make matters worse, the engine compartment of the vehicle began to catch on fire and the fire was beginning to spread. Additional police units began to arrive on scene to assist. Officer Poveda placed his own safety at risk by removing the immobile driver from the now burning vehicle. With the assistance of other arriving officers, he was able to drag the driver to a safe area, away from the vehicle. It is because of the swift, effective, brave, and selfless response of Officer Poveda that a life was saved that day.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Officer Sean Poveda with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Gloucester County Sheriff's Office
Sr. Deputy Jon Holt
During the afternoon of March 24, 2020, Deputy Holt, while on patrol, overheard a radio communication indicating a structure fire with an infant possibly still inside the residence. As he arrived on scene, he heard a female yelling that there were people inside the home. Deputy Holt, without regard for his safety, crawled inside the smoke-filled structure and found a female just inside the residence. With great difficulty he grabbed the victim by her waist and dragged her to safety. Without hesitation, Deputy Holt reentered the structure by low crawling and searching for additional victims. He found a second juvenile victim and was able to grab the victim by her waist and drag her out the front door to safety. He entered the structure a third and then a fourth time in search of the baby, only to find out that the child had already been removed from the residence.
The victims Deputy Holt removed from the house fire to safety suffered second/third-degree bums over 50% of their bodies. Deputy Holt and others learned after the fact that the two victims he had removed suffered from physical disabilities which prevented them from exiting the house fire on their own.
In a separate event on May 7, 2021, Deputy Holt was traveling northbound on Route 17 when he witnessed a vehicle lose control and crash on the other side of the road. The vehicle had appeared to have flipped over, and occupants were very much in distress. Upon his arrival, the vehicle was in fact overturned, and a female juvenile was already out. She was pleading for help for her mother. A juvenile male was still in the vehicle also pleading for help for his mother, screaming that she could not breathe. Deputy Holt quickly got the juvenile male safely removed and then used every bit of his will and determination to ultimately be able to lift the overturned vehicle enough that the mother could free herself.
It was later determined that Deputy Holt injured his back lifting the vehicle. Luckily, all injured parties, including Deputy Holt, are expected to make a full recovery.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Gloucester County Deputy Jason Holt with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Hanover County Sheriff's Office
Deputy Brandon Binns
Deputy Ian Pegram
Deputy Lee Warren
On April 20, 2020, Deputies Richard L. Warren, Brandon C. Binns and Ian J. Pegram responded to the scene of an overturned motor vehicle crash with entrapment. The victim vehicle was said to be catching fire and was confirmed to be on fire at the time units arrived on scene.
All units arrived on scene within 3 minutes of the time of dispatch. Deputies Binns and I. Pegram were first on scene and determined that the victim was conscious and alert; however, he was not able to comprehend the dire situation that was rapidly unfolding. Deputies Binns and I. Pegram were faced with an overturned minivan, with a large fire already ignited in the engine compartment.
After efforts to open the vehicle doors failed, the deputies then attempted to have the victim undue his seatbelt and crawl from the vehicle. While Deputy I. Pegram ran back to his cruiser and procured his fire extinguisher, Deputies Binns and I. Pegram tried to convince the victim of the seriousness of the situation.
Within two minutes of being on scene, Deputy I. Pegram deployed his fire extinguisher around the vehicle. The deputies had to cut the victim out of his seat belt and drag him to safety before the vehicle was fully engulfed in a raging fire.
It is without question that the fast and fearless response of Deputy Binns, Deputy Warrens, and Deputy I. Pegram saved the life of the crash victim.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Hanover County Deputies R.L. Warren, Deputy B.C. Binns, and Deputy I.J. Pegram with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Hopewell Police Department
Sergeant David Hirn
Det. Katie Williamson
On January 11, 2021, the Hopewell Police Dispatch Center received a call that a mother was carrying her infant child into the frigid waters of the Appomattox River. The caller was adamant that the woman waded into the water with a child in her arms. Sergeant David Hirn and Detective Katie Williamson arrived on scene and made their way down a steep embankment to the river's edge. They saw a woman swimming away from shore into a deeper part of the river channel, but they did not see the infant. They were unaware that the mother had abandoned her child in the water as she swam away. Without hesitation or regard for their own safety, Sergeant Hirn and Detective Williamson waded out into the icy water. Sergeant Hirn noticed "something" floating in the water off to his side, and he located the unresponsive child floating face down. With assistance from Detective Williamson, they immediately began CPR while wading back to shore where another officer carried the child up the embankment to awaiting rescue personnel.
Members of the Hopewell Fire Department were able to resuscitate the child on scene and then transport him to the VCU Medical Center where he made a full recovery. The Hopewell Fire Department rescued the mother by boat shortly thereafter.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Hopewell Sergeant David Hirn and Detective Katie Williamson, with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince George County Police Department
Officer Cain Allin
Officer Kelly Borshch
Officer Blake Bryant
Officer Danny Byrum
Officer John Kuykendall
Officer Tony Martin
ACO Dana Newmeyer
On May 24, 2021, Officers John Kuykendall, Kelly Borshch, Blake Bryant and Animal Control Officer Dana Newmeyer responded to the report of a single vehicle accident with entrapment and fire. Officers were able to get the driver away from the vehicle. The vehicle and the wood around the vehicle were engulfed in flames.
The driver notified the officers that her boyfriend was still in the vehicle. Officers were unable to approach the vehicle from the road and Officers Danny Byrum, Cain Allin, and Tony Martin arrived on scene to assist. Officers Kuykendall, Allin, Byrum, Borshch, Bryant, and ACO Newmeyer went down the embankment to attempt to reach the passenger from the other side of the vehicle while Officer Martin utilized multiple fire extinguishers to push back the fire. At that point Officers could hear the screams from the passenger who was partially under the front of the burning vehicle and was on fire himself.
Officers took turns approaching the burning vehicle utilizing their fire extinguishers to put out the fire on the passenger's legs and slow the fire enough to extract him from under the vehicle. Once the officers were able to get the passenger to the road, they moved him a safe distance from the fire and provided first aid to him and the female driver until they were transported to the hospital. All officers involved sustained minor burns and singed hair. Were it not for the quick actions of these officers, the vehicle driver and especially the passenger would have perished in the vehicle fire.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Officer Danny Byrum, Officer Cain Allin, Officer Tony Martin, Officer John Kuykendall, Officer Kelly Borshch, Officer Blake Bryant, and Animal Control Officer Dana Newmeyer with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince William County Police Department
Officer Brian E. Mundon
Officer Felipe R. Villalobos
Officer William J. Ward
On the morning of July 21, 2020, officers were dispatched to a residence in reference to a possible suicidal subject. Information was obtained from a friend of the subject that the subject had written a suicide note. Officers Mundon and Villalobos were first on-scene and attempted to make contact at the front door. The subject refused to open the door and told the officers to leave, indicating she did not want to speak with them. Officer Ward noted a prior incident when the individual had been screened for mental health distress but was not taken into custody. He initiated phone contact with the subject while enroute to the scene.
The subject closed her window blinds and indicated to Officer Ward that she had a firearm. Officer Ward remained calm, continuing a dialogue with the subject who advised him she did not trust the police and was going to come to the door with her gun to commit "suicide by cop." Officer Villalobos located a window on the house where one of the blind slats had not closed and he could see the subject, confirming that she did have possession of a revolver and was walking around on the lower level of the home near the front door.
At one point, the subject came to the door with the revolver in-hand, still inside the residence behind a solid glass storm door. Officer Mundon directed Officer Ward to have the subject drop the weapon. Instead, the subject closed the interior door again and disappeared from view. Officer Villalobos continued to provide updates on the movements of the subject inside the residence as well as her possession of the firearm, as she periodically picked it up and placed it down. After a keeping the subject on the phone for more than half an hour, Officer Ward convinced the subject to exit the residence without the firearm and have a seat on the front porch so he could approach and check on her welfare. This allowed the subject to be taken into custody on an ECO without further incident.
While almost every member of the squad ended up on scene in some capacity, it was primarily the combined actions of Officers Ward, Villalobos and Mundon that resulted in this incident ending without any harm to the citizen or any officers. Their actions allowed for the subject to be safely extricated from her residence, the weapon secured, and no harm coming to any citizens or officers.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Officer Brian E. Mundon, Officer Felipe R. Villalobos, and Officer William J. Ward with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Prince William County Police Department
Officer Jason O'Sullivan
Officer Michael Adaaquah
On Friday, January 31,2020, officers responded to a residence based on a third-party call indicating an individual in the home was depressed and considering suicide. Officer O'Sullivan arrived and observed a darkened-out residence but heard loud music coming from the garage. He also observed flashing lights and believed a vehicle had the motor running inside. Officer O'Sullivan attempted contact by calling out and knocking but was unsuccessful.
First Sergeant McConnaughey summoned Rescue to stage in case this event required fire intervention for breaching or immediate assistance with carbon monoxide poisoning. The victim's mother arrived home in her vehicle and was able to open the garage door with her handheld device which exposed a garage full of fumes and carbon monoxide. Officer O'Sullivan and Officer Adaaquah entered the garage risking their personal safety, along with a family friend. The three located the unresponsive victim in the running car. With the assistance of the family friend, the three dragged the victim out of the vehicle and laid him in a recovery position on the driveway. He was experiencing very shallow breathing and had a faint pulse. Rescue Unit 504 arrived on-scene and began additional life saving measures.
The victim was flown to Fairfax Hospital to receive lifesaving care, and after release made a full recovery. It was also stated that if the victim had been exposed a few more minutes in this environment, it could have taken his life. The actions of Officer O'Sullivan and Officer Adaaquah, and their willingness to put their personal safety at imminent risk, saved the life of a seventeen-year-old citizen of Prince William County.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Prince William County Officer O'Sullivan and Officer Adaaquah with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Radford City Police Dept.
Officer Clayton R. Benson
Sgt. Travis P. Coffey
On August 2, 2020, citizens reported to the Radford Communications Center that there was an individual tubing in the New River and that he appeared to be in some distress. Officers Benson and Coffey were first on the scene and observed the distressed citizen in the water and coordinated the arrival of Radford Fire & EMS personnel. They immediately shed their police gear, waded into the water, and swam out to the citizen. They were able to calm the panicked tuber and lead him to the riverbank where care was transferred to EMS personnel. The citizen stated that he had been overcome by abdominal cramps, fallen off his inner tube and panicked because he was not able to swim, and had ingested some water. Thankfully, the citizen was not injured and was able to return home.
It was the direct, swift, and decisive actions of Officers Benson and Coffey that rescued the citizen. After the incident, even the citizen remarked that he was not sure he would have lived without their immediate involvement.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Radford Officer Clayton R. Benson and Sergeant Travis P. Coffey with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Police Department
Lt. Ian McAllister
A/Sgt. Marl Bailey
Sgt. Joel Abernathy
Officer Josiah Evans
On Jan. 23, 2021, Officer Josiah Evans, Sergeant Joel Abernathy, Acting Sergeant Mark Bailey and Lt. Ian McAllister responded to the Dominion Place retirement home for a report of a structure fire. Sergeant Abernathy quickly identified the fire's location on the fourth floor. Sergeant Abernathy and Officer Evans both ran into the building and towards the fire to help evacuate elderly residents. A/Sergeant Bailey and Lt. McAllister arrived five minutes later to assist.
Sergeant Abernathy reported heavy smoke on the third floor and that he and Officer Evans were there with a resident who suffered from severe smoke inhalation. Both Sergeant Abernathy and Officer Evans carried the resident down to the first floor and out of the building to receive medical treatment. A/Sergeant Bailey and Lt. McAllister assisted a second elderly resident who was suffering from smoke inhalation; they safely evacuated her and she too received medical treatment.
Officer Evans and Lt. McAllister made it to the third floor where they met several elderly residents, including one elderly woman who was lying on the floor in the hallway. Officer Evans and Lt. McAllister picked the woman up and gathered the remaining residents in the hallway; most were in wheelchairs or walkers. The officers moved the residents away from the fire and heavy smoke and into the east wing.
Richmond Fire advised that the blaze was a 2-alarm fire. A minute afterward, Officer Evans and Lt. McAllister reached the east wing stairwell.
Sergeant Abernathy and Officer Evans made countless trips into Dominion Place to assist with the evacuation. A/Sergeant Bailey responded to the 500 Academic Center and assisted with moving all residents into the lobby.
Virginia State Police
Sr. Trooper-Medic Christopher Grzelak
Sr. Trooper Kenneth Terry
On January 6, 2021, members of the Virginia State Police Fairfax Division responded to the attack and insurrection at the United States Capitol Building in response to a request for assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, acting on behalf of the United States Capitol Police. Law-enforcement officers at the United States Capitol estimated that there were 75,000 attendees for the "Stop the Steal" rally around the building, and as the count continued, members of the rally turned into a violent insurrection and broke through barricades, with hundreds of individuals ultimately breaching doors and windows to enter the building and storm congressional offices and 24 chambers.
Senior Trooper Kenneth Terry prevented a serious injury to a Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer whose uniform caught fire as a result of a flammable canister being thrown at the officer by deploying a COLD FIRE extinguisher to put out the fire. Senior Trooper Medic Christopher Grzelak was one of the first medics who rendered aid to United States Capitol Police Officer and fellow Virginian Brian Sicknick who collapsed and later died due to injuries he sustained during the insurrection.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Senior Trooper Kenneth Terry and Senior Trooper Medic Christopher Grzelak with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Virginia State Police
Trooper-Pilot David C. Barfield
Flight Nurse Chad Springer
Flight Paramedic Thomas M. Abbott
On February 21, 2021, Med-Flight 1 received an emergency call from the Rockbridge County EMS requesting a helicopter hoist rescue for two hikers in the county. One of two hikers had slid a couple hundred feet down the icy mountain and had sustained serious injuries.
At approximately 5 p.m., the flight crew was notified that the ground units were having extreme difficulty clearing trees due to the steep and slippery terrain. Knowing every second counted for the injured hiker and working with waning daylight, the Med-Flight I team decided it would be best to bring the injured man back to the staging area and transported for medical care.
As Trooper-Pilot Barfield skillfully hovered the aircraft, Flight Nurse Springer assisted with directing the helicopter over the spot and served as the Hoist Operator, lowering Flight Paramedic Abbott to the ground with the litter extraction bag. While Flight Paramedic Abbott and the ground rescue team attended to and prepared the patient for transport, Trooper-Pilot Barfield made the decision not to risk hoisting the uninjured hiker, due to the increased winds, turbulence, and extremely confined area of the scene.
Trooper-Pilot Barfield and Flight Nurse Springer returned to the clearing and Flight-Nurse Springer supervised the hoisting of the hiker onto the aircraft skid. With great skill, Trooper-Pilot Barfield maneuvered the aircraft up and clear of the trees. The crew traveled the four miles back to the landing zone with the injured victim secured outside the aircraft. The injured hiker was taken to the command post and transported by ground EMS. Trooper-Pilot Barfield and Flight Nurse Springer then returned to the scene and hoisted Flight Paramedic Abbott back into the aircraft.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Sr. Trooper-Pilot David C. Barfield, Flight Nurse Chad Springer, and Flight Paramedic Thomas M. Abbott with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Virginia State Police – Aviation Unit
Sgt.-Pilot Vincent J. Mancano
Flight Nurse Kevin A. Kissner
Flight Paramedic Nikolas J. Ronesi
On February 20, 2021, the Chesterfield County Med-Flight 1 received a hoist mission request from the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division. A hiker had slipped off the icy Appalachian Trail in Bedford County and slid a couple hundred feet down the mountain. The victim was reported as injured, unable to walk, and at risk of hypothermia. The entire area was heavily wooded with no suitable location for landing or hoisting.
It was quickly decided that a team would hike up to the scene with chainsaws and clear a hoisting spot near the victim. As the rescue team headed out on foot, the MedFlight crew flew back to the rescue team with the victim and lowered much needed supplies.
As Sergeant-Pilot Mancano expertly hovered the aircraft in the cold, gusty winds near the top of the mountain, Flight Nurse Kissner manned the hoist and lowered Flight Paramedic Ronesi to the victim.
On the ground, Ronesi prepared the victim for pickup as Flight Nurse Kissner directed Sergeant-Pilot Mancano over the spot. Flight Paramedic Ronesi carefully connected the victim to the litter extraction bag and signaled for Flight Nurse Kissner to begin hoisting the injured hiker up to the aircraft. Sergeant- Pilot Mancano flew back to the remote landing zone, so the victim could be transported to the hospital. Med-Flight 1 returned to the scene and hoisted Flight Paramedic Ronesi back into the aircraft.
This Med-Flight 1 crew put themselves at great risk in order to perform this very challenging rescue. They persisted and succeeded despite the steep mountainous terrain, gusting winds, a tight hoisting spot, icy conditions on the ground, and a remote, confined area for survivor drop off. Each member of the crew worked expertly together and successfully completed the rescue without incident.The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Trooper Pilot Vincent J. Mancano, Flight Nurse Kevin A. Kissner, and Flight Paramedic Nikolas J. Ronesi with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.
Waynesboro Police Deptartment
Officer Rebecca E. Shouey
On the evening of December 2, 2020, Officer Rebecca E. Shouey was dispatched to an overpass bridge in the City of Waynesboro for a report of a person standing over the rail ledge. This ledge is located on a 4-lane primary roadway within our jurisdiction that is approximately 17 feet in height over the interstate with traffic passing at highway speeds under it. It was evening rush hour during the time of this call.
Upon arrival, Officer Shouey made contact with the person who was an adult female. Officer Shouey quickly learned this person was a young mother suffering from post-partum depression who was emotionally distraught and suicidal. She continued to look down towards the interstate below while holding onto the ledge and talking to Officer Shouey. Using exemplary crisis intervention skills, Officer Shouey engaged in a dialogue with the person asking her multiple times to step back over the ledge but, the person was adamant she did not want to and did not want Officer Shouey to touch her.
Officer Shouey continued asking to please come back over the rail, but the female continued to refuse and she remained over the ledge holding the rail. Officer Shouey was able to gradually close her physical distance to the female as she was talking to her.
When Officer Shouey was close enough to the female, Officer Shouey reiterated that she wanted to help her and now being so close put her hand out for the female. As she put her hand out, Officer Shouey stepped closer to the female, grabbed her and pulled her back over the rail and onto the roadway to safety. Officer Shouey did this while putting her own safety at extreme risk given the proximity to the ledge and the fall risk. The female was subsequently placed under an emergency custody order and taken to a local hospital for further assessment.
Officer Shouey's exemplary display of compassion, empathy, and crisis intervention skills demonstrate her passion for helping others and in this particular instance, placing herself in harm's way to save the life of a young mother.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police is proud to honor Waynesboro Rebecca E. Shouey with the 2021 Award for Lifesaving.