Nine Virginia Law Enforcement Officers Receive 2014 VACP/VPCF Awards 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. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was present to participate in the presentation of the awards. 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 2014 Awards for Valor are:
Portsmouth Police Department
Detective Roberto Aguilar
On May 2, 2013 at approximately 11:45 p.m., Detective Aguilar was on patrol when a call was dispatched for a robbery in progress a few blocks away from his location.
Detective Aguilar immediately went to the location and observed a vehicle along the curb. Three males appeared to be getting into the vehicle. Detective Aguilar stopped his vehicle and activated his spotlight to illuminate the vehicle. One of the males getting into the rear of the vehicle dropped some items he was carrying. At that point, Detective Aguilar observed flashes and smoke coming from an object pointed in his direction and also heard gunshots. Detective Aguilar was being shot at by the suspect. All three subjects got into the vehicle and fled, and Detective Aguilar activated his emergency equipment and initiated a pursuit.
As they drove down South Street, Detective Aguilar observed the right rear passenger door open and several more shots were fired in his direction. Detective Aguilar remained calm and continued to call the pursuit in to alert other area officers to his constantly changing location. A second officer arrived and joined in the pursuit. The suspect vehicle then crashed into a parked vehicle. All occupants exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Detective Aguilar observed the suspect that was shooting at him and continued to pursue him in his vehicle. Detective Aguilar then saw the subject run between two houses, exited his vehicle and proceeded to pursue on foot. He observed two subjects lying on the ground and as he approached they began to flee again. Detective Aguilar continued to pursue while communicating with other responding officers to established a perimeter, and coordinate a K-9 officer to conduct a track. When K-9 arrived on scene Detective Aguilar teamed with the K-9 officer and approximately 10 minutes later they located the suspect and placed him into custody.
Detective Aguilar was in imminent physical danger when responding to the robbery in progress, and while pursuing the suspects even when they began to fire gunshots at him. Detective Aguilar maintained a calm steady demeanor that allowed him to pursue the suspects, and to direct all other responding officers to apprehend all suspects in the vehicle. It is for his extraordinary acts in the face of imminent danger to himself, and his professional response that Detective Roberto Aguilar receives the VACP/VPCF Award for Valor.
Portsmouth Police Department
Officer Kenneth White
On September 14, 2013 at approximately 10:00 a.m., a man entered Chartway Federal Credit Union in Virginia Beach wearing a do-rag over his face, gloves, and dark clothing. He announced a bank robbery, pointed a handgun at the bank tellers, and ordered them to place money in a bag. He continued to point the handgun at the tellers, yelling out demands and telling everyone to get on the floor.
Officer Kenneth White was at the bank with his wife on personal business during his off-duty time. As the robbery began, Officer White, with no assist officer, drew his weapon and identified himself as a police officer. Officer White ordered the man to drop his weapon, at which time the robber turned with his weapon towards Officer White. In fear for his life and those of others in the bank, Officer White then shot and killed the robber.
Officer Whites' actions in while encountering an armed and agitated bank robber who threatened the lives of numerous bank employees and customers demonstrated extreme courage and calm in the face of serious danger. Officer White was a lone police officer outside of his jurisdiction, whose heroic act demonstrated his willingness to place himself in harm's way to protect others. The VACP is proud to honor Officer Kenneth White with the VACP/VPCF Award for Valor.
Richmond Police Department
Officer Farrhard El-Amin
Officer Justin Sumpter
Richmond Second Precinct Officers Farrhard El-Amin and Justin Sumpter encountered a prowling suspect who attempted to escape through a nearby creek. The officers gave chase and a struggle ensued in the creek. During the struggle, the suspect produced a knife and began to stab at Officer Sumpter, who was cut during the fight. Officer El-Amin grabbed the suspect's left arm, allowing Officer Sumpter to wrestle the knife away from the suspect's hand. After this intense struggle, the officers eventually were able to handcuff the suspect.
Officer Sumpter was cut twice, but thankfully the injuries were minor. With the unstable battleground of a creek, this incident could have ended with negative results, but the two officers worked together to prevent the suspect from turning this into a fatal attack. The VACP is honored to present Officer Farrhard El-Amin and Officer Justin Sumpter with the Award for Valor.
Richmond Police Department
Officer LaTosha Miller
Officer Reynaldo Perez
On November 24, 2012, Richmond Officers Reynaldo Perez and LaTosha Miller were working a traffic control assignment when they observed a suspect actively exchanging gunfire with another individual in a vehicle. Officers Perez and Miller ran toward the parking lot where the firefight was taking place and while receiving gunfire in their direction. As the two Officers approached the parking lot, they observed one suspect running directly at them, discharging a firearm. Officer Perez challenged the subject who dropped his firearm and was taken into custody. Officer Miller ordered other individuals to the ground who were in the immediate area. Responding units located a second occupied vehicle in the same parking lot that had been struck by gunfire. Officers conducted a felony vehicle stop, taking four additional subjects into custody. The offender was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and willfully discharging a firearm in public. The other individual involved in the shooting fled the scene. No shooting victims were located as a result of the incident.
Officers Perez and Miller displayed intelligent and courageous behavior in immediately locating, disarming, and apprehending a violent offender. The actions of these two officers protected innocent citizens from possible injury or death. The VACP is proud to honor Richmond Officers Reynaldo Perez and LaTosha Miller with the Award for Valor.
Richmond Police Department
Officer Alejandro Ardila
Officer Wes Partin
Richmond Police Officer Alejandro Ardila and Sergeant Wes Partin didn't know what to expect when they first entered the dark house on Rusk Avenue last spring. They and several other officers had been called to the South Richmond home on April 20 to check the welfare of two people inside. The shades in the house had been drawn, making parts of the home pitch black, and music was blaring.
Officer Ardila could see the shape of a woman sitting on a couch. He saw the gunshot wound and could tell that she already was dead. As Officer Ardila rounded a corner, carrying a ballistics shield, a man opened fire from a pitch-dark hallway, wounding both Officer Ardila and Sergeant Partin.
One of the rounds struck Ardila and then hit Partin's right arm. “The first one, we actually shared,” Partin said, referring to the bullet. “It went through him and into me. That's how close we are,” he joked.
After Officer Ardila and Sergeant Partin were shot, they both took cover and returned fire. They exited the house to be relieved by the SWAT Team. Sergeant Partin and Officer Ardila were quickly taken to the hospital for treatment of their wounds.
It was later found that the shooting suspect fatally shot a woman in the house prior to the officers' arrival and committed suicide after firing at the officers.
The VACP is honored to recognize Richmond Officer Ardila and Sergeant Partin for their heroic and courageous acts with the Award for Valor.
Virginia Division of Capitol Police
Corporal James L. Cosby, Jr.
On June 21, 2012, Corporal James L. Cosby, Jr. of the Virginia Division of Capitol Police was near a law firm in Chesterfield County when he observed a man in business attire running around a pond located behind that building. Corporal Cosby then noticed several people exiting a corner door on the side of the building. As he passed the entrance to the building's parking lot, Corporal Cosby observed a vehicle with several women inside, all of whom appeared to be upset. Corporal Cosby turned his vehicle around on Courthouse Road and proceeded back towards the law firm. Corporal Cosby then observed an individual run across Courthouse Road into the woods. Based on his police training, Corporal Cosby believed an active shooter event was occurring. As he pulled up to the intersection, Corporal Cosby advised the women in the parked car that he was an off duty police officer and asked what had happened. She informed him that an armed man came into their office and shot a lawyer and then fled. She also advised Corporal Cosby that the victim was on the first floor.
As he approached the building entrance, Cosby encountered a black male exiting the building with a rifle in his right hand. Corporal Cosby was wearing his issued police badge and drew his service weapon and stated, “Police, drop your weapon.” The subject told Corporal Cosby, “Buddy, kill me right now, shoot me right here…” The subject took his left index finger and put it to the center of his forehead. He then began to walk towards Corporal Cosby. Corporal Cosby continued to give commands for him to drop his weapon. Corporal Cosby recalled that although the suspect refused to comply with his commands, the suspect did not point the weapon at him. The subject repeatedly asked Corporal Cosby to shoot him, continually advising that he was in his “threat zone.” Corporal Cosby engaged the subject in conversation as he closed the distance between them. As he reached for the subject's weapon the subject turned away. Corporal Cosby quickly holstered his weapon and grabbed the suspect. A Chesterfield Police Officer arriving at the scene came to his assistance and helped him to disarm and subdue the subject.
Mark M. Lowe, 42, was convicted on August 30, 2013 on five charges, including attempted murder, abduction, unlawfully shooting into an occupied dwelling and two counts of felonious use of a firearm.
As a result of his selfless act of bravery, Corporal Cosby was able to end the rampage of an active shooter while also avoiding a potential “suicide by cop” scenario. The VACP is honored to present Capitol Police Corporal James L. Cosby, Jr., with the Award for Valor.
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.
(front row, L to R) Officer LaTosha Miller, Richmond PD; Officer Justin Sumpter, Richmond PD; Officer Alejandro Ardila, Richmond PD; and Officer Farrhard El-Amin, Richmond PD.
(back row, L to R) Officer Reynaldo Perez, Richmond PD; Corporal James Cosby, Jr., Virginia Division of Capitol Police; Officer Kenneth White, Portsmouth PD; and Detective Roberto Aguilar, Portsmouth PD.
COMPLETE PHOTO GALLERY: https://photos.vachiefs.org/VACP-Conferences/2014-VACP-Annual-Conference/Awards-Banquet/
Photographer – Erin Schrad, VACP
Contact: Ms. Dana Schrad, Executive Director
Mobile: (804) 338-9512