An Indianapolis police officer who nearly died in July when he was shot in the head while pursuing a robbery and slaying suspect was given the department’s highest honor Sunday before the Indianapolis Colts game against Jacksonville.
A crowd of about 60,000 fans gave Officer Jason Fishburn a hearty cheer and standing ovation as he slowly made his way to the center of the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, aided by his wife and a cane.
Fishburn was given the Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. The officer was emotional as he accepted the honor. A Medal of Honor is usually only given to an officer posthumously.
“He’s not able to articulate what he wants to say,” said Indianapolis police Sgt. Dennis Fishburn, Jason’s father. “You can see it in his eyes how happy he was to see the support of all those blue jerseys rooting him on.”
“I think he was humbled,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “He needs to understand that he deserves this.”
Fishburn was released from a rehabilitation hospital earlier this month.
The officer was shot on July 10 as he tried to apprehend Brian Reese, who is now charged in three slayings.
“(Reese is) a very vicious suspect — a man who had killed others in a very savage fashion. Jason didn’t back down one bit,” said Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears.
Fishburn’s chance of survival was deemed slim, and his recovery has been called miraculous. He is still working to regain strength in his right side and regain speech.
Surgery planned in two weeks will replace lost parts of his skull with prosthetics.
“He still has a long way to go, and that’s why I always say, ‘Don’t stop those prayers, Indianapolis,’” Dennis Fishburn said. “We need them more and more so that he can get back to the Jason Fishburn that we all know and love.”
Fishburn will continue to receive therapy at an outpatient facility that specializes in brain trauma.
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – Two Kansas City, Kansas, police officers are dead after a tragic series of events early Saturday morning.
According to authorities, the two off-duty police officers were involved in a vehicle accident with each other around 1 a.m. on I-70 near I-435 in Wyandotte County.
Officer Mark A. Jaramillo was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries.
KCK police say officers responded to the residence of the other officer involved, Officer Kyle Kovac, after being notified that he was distraught over the accident.
Police say Kovac was dead of an apparent suicide when they arrived at his apartment.
Both Jaramillo and Kovac had been officers with the KCK police for five years.
The traffic accident is being investigated by KCK police and the Kansas Highway Patrol.
The men and women who are called in for the most dangerous situations are often forced to face desperate people who feel caged in and may be unstable. They are members of the elite SWAT team, and they train extensively for the missions that could mean life or death.
It takes a lot of skill and Eyewitness News took a real-life look at the training Henderson’s SWAT team goes through to save lives.
When police find themselves in risky situations, every move matters. They’re practicing for the real thing, and that practice that can mean the difference between life and death, a good ending or a bad one.
Henderson Police Lieutenant Marc Cassell holds SWAT school on a range outside Boulder City, and just trying out for this highly-skilled tactical team is not always a walk in the park.
It is a job where precision matters, “Although these situations are dangerous, by bringing SWAT into them, we deescalate that danger.”
On the surface, the drills may look exciting, but SWAT school is rigorous and competitive. Not everyone is cut out for it, “We lose about 50-percent of our officers in this school because it’s so tough.”
Those that do sign on have to be ready for anything, at anytime, “If the pager goes off, or the phone rings, they’re so dedicated, they drop what they’re doing and they come and they’re on call 24-7.”
The SWAT team trains for a lot more than just hostage situations. Henderson deals with suicidal subjects, serve search warrants to dangerous scenes, protect dignitaries and they train in counterterrorism.
SWAT members and negotiators always aim for the innocent to go home safely and the criminals to go to jail. At the end of the day, that’s what they train for.
Henderson’s SWAT team is called out on average a hundred times a year. While the calls may not have the Hollywood drama like you see on CBS’s Flashpoint, they all have to be handled carefully.
Minnesota (WDAY TV) – The recent arrest of a Blackduck, Minnesota teenager who threatened school violence and Tuesday’s school shooting in Finland are reminders to law enforcement the need to be vigilant is always there. Wednesday in Fergus Falls, SWAT teams from across Minnesota got a chance to test their skills.
Jim Iverson and his Otter Tail County SWAT team are getting ready to rescue a hostage. Close to 100 law enforcement officers took part in this competition, a chance to compare sniper skills, and swat team tactics.
“We train and we train hard in hopes that we never have to use the teams but if we have to use them we are more prepared.”
The SWAT team from Fargo-Moorhead came knowing this is an opportunity to not only show off the skill level of the team, but to keep learning.
“It allows you to look at other teams to see what they are doing to see what is good and bad to see what they are doing.”
Members of the swat team practice over and over, all of them knowing they will eventually be needed in some time of crisis. These teams are rehearsing and competing; gunfire and scenarios that keep them sharp for the real life emergency call they’re bound to hear.
The competition wrapped up and the Red River Valley SWAT team, based in Fargo, placed first. Otter Tail County was second. There were five teams involved.
Several Kern County Sheriff’s Deparment deputies were recognized Friday for their bravery in the line of duty. “These deputies expected bad things to happen. But they went in, got the wounded out, made sure the area was safe and no one else was in. Not many people in this world are willing to do that,” said Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
“That’s what we are here to do. What we’re supposed to do in the heat of something serious,” said Medal of Valor reciepent Deputy David Messerly.
The ten deputies were honored for their bravery while responding to an explosion that occurred at Scaled Composites in move on July 26, 2007.
Honored today with a Medal of Valor award:
Deputy Dennis Gagnon
Deputy David Messerly
Deputy Richard Mierta
Deputy Marcus Moncur
Deputy Greg Rutter
Deputy Dan Andre
And the following received the Bureau Commendation for bravery:
Sergeant Joe Giuffre
Deputy Roy Scott
Deputy Steve Williams
Reserve Deputy Ed Mackay
A former Navy SEAL is among two Riverside police officers who have been promoted by Chief Russ Leach.
Sgt. Daniel Warren served as a SEAL before joining the Oceanside Police Department in 1999. He transferred to Riverside Police Department three years later, police spokesman Steven Frasher said in a written statement.
Warren served as a patrol officer, a sniper and a field training officer. As a detective, was assigned to the multi-agency Inland Regional Apprehension Team that tracks down and arrests wanted criminals.
He holds a bachelors degree from UC San Diego and a masters in criminal law and society from UC Irvine. He and his wife, Kellie, have three sons.
Detective Jayson Wood was a Marine during the early 1990s. He joined Riverside department in 1998 and has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, police-and-corrections team member, a SWAT officer and a sniper.
Most recently, Wood was a hotel and motel abatement officer. He is a student at California Baptist University. Wood and his wife, Lori, have two sons.
I don’t know what the truth of this is. Kaine is vehemently denying that he told anyone they couldn’t use the words “Jesus Christ” in prayer.
At least five Virginia State Police chaplains have resigned after being told they must refrain from using words like “Jesus” and “Christ.”
Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty, reportedly concerned about offending people of other faiths, directed the agency’s 17 chaplains to begin delivering neutral or nondenominational prayers at functions such as trooper graduation ceremonies and its annual memorial service for fallen officers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch says.
“The department recognizes the importance of a state government agency to be inclusive and respectful of the varied ethnicities, cultures and beliefs of our employees, their families and citizens at large,” Flaherty said in a statement.
Flaherty cited as justification a recent ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld a Fredericksburg City Council ban on sectarian prayer. Flaherty’s office denied that Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine’s administration was behind the decision.
Five members of the state police’s 29-year-old chaplaincy corps have quit their ministries in protest. All of them being sworn officers, they remain on staff as such.
Rex Carter, one of the resigning chaplains, argued he should have the right to pray “how I believe, regardless of whether somebody agrees or not,” saying “There’s a fine line — but it’s a hard line — between an individual’s right to pray versus what is considered state-sponsored speech.”
Sgt. Glenn Phillips, another department chaplain, said the chaplaincy was never meant to be a pulpit to “to further fight the government as it encroaches on religion.”
“Nobody’s been asked to deny their faith or anything like that,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.”I’m a Christian, and I don’t think that Jesus would look at this as necessarily a good thing.”
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller noted that the policy does not prohibit chaplains from making religious references at private ceremonies or in individual counseling.
Emphasizing that the policy change is not aimed at Christianity, she said the department has not received any complaints about religious references.
Virginia General Assembly Delegate Charles W. Carrico, a former state trooper, is protesting the decision.
“You don’t check your religious beliefs at the door just because you’re hired by the state and are a member of the department,” he said, characterizing the decision as the “separation of Jesus and state.”
“What we have here is an attack on the name of Jesus, on the name of Christ. And I’m not going to sit back and just let it happen,” Carrico continued, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Carrico stated he intends to introduce legislation to address the issue.
FONTANA – More than 140 golfers teed off Friday at Sierra Lakes Golf Club for the third annual Fontana Police K-9 Pals Golf Tournament.The Police Department’s K-9 Unit is looking to raise money to purchase a dog to replace Oscar, an 8-year-old Malinois, who is retiring in November for health reasons.
“These dogs do a lot of things for us,” said Sgt. Tom Yarrington. “They’re a de-escalator.”
A new dog will cost about $9,600, Yarrington said. The money is raised exclusively through the work of K-9 Pals, a nonprofit group that has supplied the needs of the unit’s dogs since 1990.
Next year the department hopes to get another dog to bring the total to five. It also is looking to purchase a patrol car to use for the new dog. The car will cost about $40,000, Yarrington said.
The department will pick its next dog from about 40 flown in from Europe by a Riverside-based company. The company brings in dogs several times a year for numerous departments to scout, choose and train.
Depending on the dog’s skill set, whether it multitasks in patrol and narcotics work, it can save the department between 900 and 2,000 man hours a year, Yarrington said.
Whereas six officers might be able to clear out a building in a half-hour, three officers and one dog might do it in 15 minutes, he said.
Yarrington, who has worked with the dogs for about 16 years, said the most rewarding aspect is taking them into the children’s unit of local hospitals.
Ricky, a patrol and narcotics dog, likes to hop on the kids’ beds, he said. Oscar once got a child to open up and start talking after days of silence.
“You have to understand the feeling, to watch their families when their children have a day to smile again,” he said.
K-9 Pals will pay for Oscar’s medical assistance when he retires, Yarrington said. Sort of like collecting benefits, he added.
Lille Hoye, who co-founded the group, concurred with the assessment.
“They’re (the dogs) considered retired police officers,” Hoye said.
The retirement presentation held at town hall for Max Martin, an eight-year member of the police force here, didn’t differ much from other such sendoffs.
Mayor Michelle Roth said some kind words about Max’s service to the township’s residents. About 30 of his fellow officers stood to applaud his dedication as part of the local law enforcement team. Police Chief Stuart Brown praised the oft-friendly Max as “ambassador of the department.”
And as longtime friend Rocco barked his approval from the sidelines, Max sat on his hind legs, licked the mayor’s hand and accepted his kudos — and a Milk-Bone — with grace.
So, maybe it wasn’t exactly the typical farewell on Sept. 10. But then, Max is a big dog in the township.
When he was 2 years old, the German shepherd, now 10, completed training at the Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Training Academy at the side of his handler, Officer William “Bill” Martin. Rescued from an animal shelter where Max was to be “put down” for aggressiveness, the dog has lived most of his life with Martin in the officer’s Sayreville home, Martin said.
After Max’s 2000 academy graduation, the pair would head daily to Manalapan Police Department where Max made up one-half of the township’s very first K-9 unit, established that year. Rocco, with whom Max attended 28 weeks of academy training, is the force’s other German shepherd.
But after an on-duty injury and the effects of old age set in recently, Martin said he knew it was time to let Max get a little well-deserved rest. Martin retired Max about eight months ago.
Unfortunately it took more time for Max, a dedicated member of the force for nearly a decade, to adjust to the civilian life, said Susan, Martin’s wife.
“It took five months for (Max) not to walk to that front door with Bill (on his way to work),” Susan Martin said. “Even now, if you asked him if he wanted to go to work, he’d tilt his head and give you that look. When he hears sirens he goes on alert. He still in his mind knows what it is. He loved going to work.”
The doggone proud parents keep a scrapbook record of Max’s accomplishments more than 400 pages thick. But Bill Martin can tick off Max’s career highlights by rote, including the septuagenarian with Alzheimer’s disease whom Max tracked — using the scent of a hairbrush — to a swamp off Iron Ore Road in 2002.
“That was one of his first biggest cases,” Martin said. “I was thinking to myself, “I sure hope this dog is right,’ because I was 3 feet up to my knees in mud.” “But he had his nose to the ground the whole time,” and the pair ended up likely saving the life of the man, who’d nearly been submerged in the swamp, Martin said.
Max’s accomplishments on the force have included serving presidential detail in 2001 when President Bush visited Union County. The Martins also recall with pride how Max in 2006 tracked a man — who’d allegedly invaded homes and stolen more than $200,000 in jewelry — through the woods to a strip mall in Monroe.
“You’re sad for the dog (because his career is ending),” Susan Martin said. “But (Max) did good for Bill. He earned his keep in my house.”
He’s earned his keep in the department, too, Chief Brown said. Brown said Max was well-known in town for easily switching gears between hot pursuits and hugs.
“Max is kind and considerate and loving to the point where we had no reservations about having him attend any type of public function and mingle with people,” Brown said. “He made appearances at schools, civic events, community events, to show his abilities as a police dog and a lot of times just for everyone to meet him.
“He showed these dogs have a personality and a use,” Brown said. “He was the ambassador of the department.”
Brown added the department is now looking into whether it will buy another dog, which could cost more than $5,000, or whether a dog will be donated.
The department also will have to find another officer who will take on the handler role as Bill Martin, too, has plans to retire, Brown said.
Meanwhile, it’s a dog life for the canine retiree. Max will accompany the Martins on their frequent travels — to Cape May, the Florida Keys and more — in their 2007 Dutchman motor home.
The Martins’ plans for Max include enjoying swims in the family’s pool, rest in the $400 orthopedic dog bed the Martins outfitted him with, and the company of his “brothers,” Sam, a 10-year-old German shepherd who didn’t make it through the police academy training, and Yukon, a 12-year-old Siberian husky.
“We tried leaving home once, and Max barked and he tore apart a metal gate at the kennel,” Susan Martin said of Max. “Since then he’s been traveling with us.”
The couple doesn’t mind taking on Max’s post-retirement care, which also includes oral medications for hypothyroidism and arthritis that can cost up to $400 a month and retrofitting the house with amenities such as a ramp to help Max access the backyard.
004 ? 0115.04″We realized, you know, he wants to do (the work), but his (injured) back left leg just won’t let him go any further,” Martin said, noting that local veterinarian Alan Farber has donated free care to the police dog for much of his life.
“Now, all he has to do, in the final months or years he has left, is enjoy the weather, go in the ocean here and there, and just hang out.”
“I’m sure that Max is one happy camper,” said Brown, who also praised Bill and Susan Martin’s dedication.
“He’s certainly going to enjoy these years because he’s got two people who love him, and not only love him, but respect him. I think they (the Martins and Max) should be very proud of what they did for us.”