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Vermont State Police honored several members Thursday for actions under pressure and noted six troopers who are being deploying to Afghanistan with the Vermont National Guard.
The award recipients:
Sgt. Thomas A. Mozzer Jr. won the prestigious and rarely given medal of honor and the combat cross for his role in an November 2008 incident. State police described the case this way: Mozzer responded to a call from a Proctor woman worried about her husband, found him in an upstairs bedroom holding a handgun. The man rushed Mozzer, fled then returned to the room and exchanged gunfire with Mozzer, who halted the man with non-life-threatening wounds. Mozzer tended to the man’s wounds, then helped the couple’s 6-year-old son out of the house.
Trooper First Class Stacy Corliss won the combat cross for her response to a house where a man was pointing a gun at his brother. State police said that the gunman retreated to his apartment and reportedly fired a shot. The gunman ran down the stairs pointed the gun at Corliss. She fired and though she did not hit him, he dropped to the ground and surrendered.
Lt. Michael Macarilla won the Lifesaving Award for his actions Nov. 19, 2008, when he was training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and a classmate had a heart attack as he was crossing the finish line in a physical fitness run. State police said Macarilla joined with others in providing first aid.
Senior Trooper Jonathan Graham won the Lifesaving Award for his actions July 30 in Weathersfield, where people were stranded in the fast-moving Black River. Graham, also a chief petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, had a dry suit and life jacket in his car, reached a young girl who was unable to reach shore and could not swim.
Senior Trooper Michael Kamerling won the Lifesaving Award for his actions Sept. 21, when he observed a car that Essex police reported they were seeking. As Kamerling followed the car, state police said, it went off the road and struck a tree, catching on fire. Kamerling opened the driver’s door, unbuckled the unconscious driver and pulled him to safety.
Trooper First Class Robert Zink, Trooper Second Class Wayne Godfrey, Deputy Sheriff Joel Howard, Walter Gould of Bennington County, Albany Med Flight Officer Thomas Bull, Bennington Police Officer Anthony Silvestro, Bennington Police Detective Michael Plusch and Robin Breese of Bennington police were given the Lifesaving Award for their response to a car crash on Vermont 9 near the New York border. State police said the driver was trapped in the car and the group put out a fire and provided medical assistance.
Karen Bradley won the Commissioner’s Award for her role on the State Police Advisory Committee. She has served on the panel for more than 24 years, the last 16 as chairwoman before leaving to become a side judge.
Sgt. Stephen McNamara and Trooper First Class Peter Dempsey won the Director’s Award for their response to a burglary Nov. 17, 2008. State police said the suspect threatened the two with a golf club. The suspect was shot and surrendered.
Detective Sgt. Walter Smith, Detective Sgt. Charles Holden, Barre City Police Detective Hal Hayden were honored with the Director’s Award for their work on the 1982 murder of Pamela Brown in Barre. The three were credited with reviewing information and conducting new interviews following a match on the DNA database that led to the February arrest of Theodore Caron.
Adam Woodworth was given the Director’s Award for his work in developing the state’s new Amber Alert system.
Detective Trooper Amy Borsari was given the Division Commander’s Award for solving a case that involved the theft of a state police M-16 A1 rifle and ammunition out of a police car in August 2008. Borsari was credited with conducting an intense and difficult investigation that resulted in arrest.
ATF Special Agent in Charge James Mostyn won the Division Commander’s Award for his contributions to state police investigations.
The hardware store was empty at mid-day, when it should have been busy. That caught the attention of police.
Cincinnati Police Sergeant Michelle Bradley quietly pulled her service revolver from its holster, and with her partner beside her, slipped into the business.
“Anybody in here?,” she asks – then listens intently to the silence that follows.
Quietly, they followed a line of shelves to the point where they make a sharp left turn.
At the end of a row is a closed door. Nobody is in sight.
Without warning the door springs open. A man appears. Both arms are raised at the officers. A gun is pointed right at them.
Fearing for their lives, both officers instinctively call on their training. Shots ring out. The suspect falls to the ground.
It wasn’t a scene from the streets of Cincinnati. It was the firearms training simulator where the hardware store interior was displayed on a wall by computer projection.
It was refresher training for Sgt. Bradley, plus dozens of other officers, sergeants and supervisors at the Cincinnati Police Training Academy.
They’re taking courses in use of force, tasers and how to use a new computer system to fill out accident reports.
These are the men and women who are being pulled from special assignments to fill the street patrol jobs of 135 Cincinnati police officers who will be laid off Sunday to balance the city’s budget.
Sgt. Bradley has been on the force for seven years and had worked her way into the Planning Section.
Now, she’s being demoted to Police Officer and assigned to District 5. Her pay is being cut 16%.
“In one sense it’s disappointing to be demoted, but at the same time, I’m going to get to do some of the things that I really enjoyed doing when I was first on the department,” she said.
As the firearms simulator training continued, Sgt. Bradley and her partner searched the rest of the hardware store.
Suddenly, a man’s arms appeared at one side of a doorway.
“Get your hands up! Get your hands up!,” Sgt. Bradley orders. “Get your hands up where we can see them!”
The simulation turned more real when another police officer, playing the man in the store, came through a doorway of the academy building.
“Keep your hands where we can see them at all times,” continued Sgt. Bradley, as she sized up the suspect.
Things got more intense when Sgt. Bradley noticed a gun in the man’s waistband.
“Turn around away from us,” she commanded, and the suspect complied.
He claimed he had a permit to carry the gun. That would be sorted out later. He was handcuffed and detained pending the outcome of the investigation.
“Outstanding! You both did a marvelous job,” the training instructor called out to the officers.
The refresher course isn’t a big adjustment for her, since she’s only been off the streets for a year-and-a-half. Still, she’s concerned about morale on the force.
“It’s very low,” she added. “Everybody’s disappointed in what’s going on.”
However, she added that the public will notice very few changes in their safety.
“We swore to be police officers to do our jobs and that’s what we’ll do,” Sgt. Bradley added.
She’s one of 25 sergeants being demoted to fill spots in the police department’s five districts.
On the academy’s second floor, Sgt. Dan Nickum stood in the doorway of a darkened room filled with computers on work stations. An instructor was at the front of the room going over details of how to fill out traffic accident investigation forms.
“The two spots most people have trouble with are the functional versus non-functional areas,” he told the class.
Sgt. Nickum has been with the Vice Squad the past 10 years. However, he’s moving into a supervisory position in District 3, effective Sunday. Many of the officers he worked with are going back to street duty as well.
“Are they happy that we’re losing policemen?,” he asked. “No. Nobody is happy that we’re losing policemen. Although, it will get better.”
He equated police work with riding a bicycle.
“You don’t forget,” he stated. “You may be a little rusty, but it takes just a little bit of time to jump back in.”
Despite concerns about morale, the retraining and changing jobs, Sgt. Nickum says he’s excited about what is to come.
“It’s a challenge, but not something that myself or any of the officers going back in uniform can’t handle,” he confidently stated. “We can take care of this.”
Even though there are rumblings of a Cincinnati City Council plan to avoid the layoffs, Police Chief Tom Streicher says the department has to manage the crisis.
“We’ve got to be concerned with those things that we can control and the things we can’t control we just have to accept,” the Chief said. “Our goal is to have on impact on the safety of citizens.”
Southeast Minnesota is adding 4 new members to its police force.
Today is graduation day for the 4 K-9′s in Olmsted and Goodhue County.
Officers say these dogs are much needed to help keep your neighborhood safe.
Four K-9 dogs are getting their diplomas after 8 weeks of intense training, including Officer James Bradley’s new pal, Jake.
“Feel pretty good hopefully tonight we’ll get out on the streets,” said James Bradley.
3 of these dogs will join officers in Olmsted County and Rochester making it a total of 10 dogs in the county to help meet an increasing demand.
“We’re handling about anywhere from 9 hundred to 1-thousand calls a year,” said Mark Darnell.
These canines routinely help officers out during burglaries and narcotics investigations.
Their talent for sniffing out explosives is especially important for Olmsted County with many high profile dignitaries coming to the Mayo Clinic.