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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.
A street corner drug deal was unfolding, and Brockton police Officers William Carpenter and Matthew Graham jumped into action. The officers knew the suspect well, from a prior cocaine arrest, and also knew him to be a dangerous criminal with a history of armed robberies and assaults.
The suspect fled, and Carpenter chased him for several blocks before forcing him to the ground. In the ensuing scuffle, the suspect pulled a gun from his waistband, pointed it at Carpenter’s head, and pulled the trigger. But the gun didn’t fire, and Carpenter and Graham were able to fatally shoot the suspect.
Yesterday morning in the House Chamber at the State House, Carpenter and Graham received the Trooper George L. Hanna Jr. Medal of Honor, the highest award bestowed at the 26th annual Hanna awards ceremony. Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray honored 27 police officers and one state trooper with awards ranging from Meritorious Recognition to the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery in the past year. The list included 15 Boston police officers, four Brockton officers, and two officers from Springfield and Revere.
Moments after receiving his award, Carpenter said, “When you’re faced with a situation such as that, your training kicks in, and you realize you are the last line of defense against someone who at that moment is extremely dangerous, so you have no other choice but to handle the situation.’’
Ten of the Boston police officers received the Meritorious Recognition group award for stopping a gang-related melee at a Theater District nightclub, where one suspect had been shooting randomly inside the crowded room.
Kevin M. Burke, secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said during the ceremony, “Today the duties of police officers are greater than ever, and they put their lives on the line every day.’’
As Patrick placed a medal around Carpenter’s neck and handed him a plaque, the officer’s mother, Patricia Reilly, walked down the chamber’s aisle and snapped a picture of her son while he stood at attention.
“I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished,’’ Reilly said. “I was staying at his home when that happened. I didn’t sleep all night, and I cried for the next two days, thinking that my son could have been hurt. And this wasn’t the first time he’s gone through something like this.’’
Two years ago, Carpenter received an award from the Massachusetts Police Association after responding to a call of a man shooting into a crowd at a parking lot outside Progressions Lounge on Montello Street in Brockton. Carpenter and another officer shot the suspect, disarming him in the process.
In addition to the two Brockton officers, five other officers received the Medal of Honor, including Revere police Officer James R. Rose. On Feb. 25, 2008, Rose responded to a call in which a mother was being stabbed by her son. Rose and another officer, Lieutenant John M. Azzari, rushed to the dimly-lit basement where the incident was unfolding, and they were confronted by the knife-wielding son. When the suspect made an aggressive move toward the officers, Rose shot the suspect, causing him to fall. The officers subdued him, kicked the knife out of his reach, and ran to the aid of two children in the basement. The mother died of her stab wounds.
Azzari was awarded the Medal of Valor.
The awards are named for Trooper George L. Hanna Jr. who died in the line of duty. A 10-year veteran of the State Police, he was shot to death in 1983 during a motor vehicle stop in Auburn.
By Brian Ballou
State Police will have a more visible presence on the roads of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Helena parishes as 10 new troopers take to the highways that cross the north shore.
The troopers, assigned to Troop L in Mandeville, are among 74 new recruits who will patrol roads across the state after graduating from the State Police Training Academy on Friday.
“We have never had this type of manpower,” said Capt. Oleander Smith, commander of Troop L. “We’re truly lucky. Our local legislators have been good to us.”
Troop L, with the support of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies, has been pushing for more troopers since the north shore population swelled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Studies done in the aftermath of the storm showed, based on population and the number of miles traveled by motorists, Troop L’s 50 troopers were covering an area that needed about 70 units on the road, Smith said.
When staffing was thin troopers were forced to be reactive, rushing from one accident scene to another with the assistance of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Smith said. As the troop has grown, these troopers have been able to step up their presence on the highways to potentially deter those who would speed or drive unsafely, he said.
The new recruits, combined with others who joined over the past year, have swelled Troop L’s ranks to 67 troopers, Smith said. By putting more troopers on the road, particularly in trouble spots, Smith said he hopes to cut down on accidents, drunken driving and speeding. “People got to the point where they didn’t see us and they did their own thing,” Smith said. “Now we’ve got to get people back into the groove and realize the speed limit is not 80, it’s 70.”
The money for the new troopers was included in this year’s budget.
The new recruits will spend at least 45 days training with veteran troopers before being sent out on patrol alone, Smith said.
The new troopers are: Kevin M. Barnes Jr., Jeremiah V. Bell, Brett M. Dupre, Matthew S. Graham, Denis J. Indest III, Marlena A. Lee, Jeremy J. Price, Eric K. Thaxton, Ernest C. Wilkes and Nicholas Yatcilla.
A PART-TIME police officer was celebrating today after receiving an MBE from the Queen in the New Year Honours List.
Graham Smout, from Netherseal, has been awarded the prestigious accolade following 35 years of voluntary service as a member of the Special Constabulary in Staffordshire.
The 53-year-old, who lives with his wife, Lynda, and their three children – Richard, 21, Victoria, 18, and Bethany, 15 – started as a Special Constable in Burton, where he worked for 22 years, before being promoted to Divisional Officer at Tamworth 13 years ago.
Despite having a full-time job, Mr Smout commits 64 hours a month of his own time to Staffordshire Police and currently mentors 40 Special Constables.
During his service, he has also actively coached more than 100 Special Constables, many of whom have gone on to become regular police officers.
Further testament to his commitment to fighting crime, the force has received many letters of appreciation from members of the public who have received help from Mr Smout.
Despite such an excellent service record, Mr Smout said he was ‘totally shocked’ when he received the letter informing him of the award.
“I actually thought it was a tax return form, so I threw it on the side,” he said. “It’s a good job I decided to open it.
“I just sat there staring at it – I never expected to receive an MBE.
“I am very honoured, but it really is for all the Specials, as we very much work as a team.
“None of this would have been possible without the loving support of my wife and three children. I will celebrate with a bottle of champagne.”
Staffordshire’s Chief Constable Chris Sims said: “Graham’s award is richly deserved.
“It recognises his extraordinary contribution to Staffordshire Police and the communities of Burton and Tamworth over the last 35 years.
“He has voluntarily given his time whilst juggling the demands of a full-time job and family life.”
STAFFORDSHIRE Police Authority’s chairman has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Mike Poulter, who has been a member of the authority for 25 years and its chairman for eight, received the accolade for services to the community of Staffordshire.
John Taylor, leader of Staffordshire County Council of which Councillor Poulter has been a member for almost 30 years, said his Labour colleague had been ‘a terrific servant’.