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Ten fifth-graders picked Justice as the name for the police department’s newest acquisition, a three-year-old German shepherd, with abilities in drug detection, people and cadaver search.
It’s been a whirlwind six weeks since village officials indicated a need for a new dog for its canine unit to help the police department cope with drug and gang crimes, but lack of funds was standing in the way.
“Word got out through the media and within a few days I had two dozen offers of dogs from all over the country,” Police Chief Craig Somerville told the packed Village Hall Monday night.
Two Somerville police officers were honored at Monday’s town council meeting for going above and beyond the call of duty.
These officers saved a paralyzed man from his burning home early Sunday morning.
They were originally on their way to assist Sheriff’s deputies on a different call, but they got lost and came across the burning home.
Most people would run away when they see flames, but Officers Steve Estes and Brian Soloman aren’t most people.
“We saw what we thought was a funny looking porch light. And it was an actual fire,” Officer Estes said.
“It was unlocked fortunately. We went on back and I yelled, ‘Is anybody in the residence, is anybody in?’ Heard a voice from the back said, ‘I’m back here,’” Officer Soloman said.
“Smoke was so bad, I dropped to the floor to get a breath, I jumped back up and I said come on, ‘We’ve got to go,’ and he said, “I can’t walk,’ Estes said.
“At this time, Estes, came in, carrying the guy in his arms, he looked like Superman for a second there, something out of the movies,” Soloman said.
“I made it about three feet from the door and that’s where we went down at. And Officer Soloman got Mr. Brown and got Mr. Brown out,” Estes said.
Their heroic efforts saved the life of 44-year-old Dewell Brown, who was home alone and is a paraplegic.
The officers were honored by the mayor, town council and an extremely proud Chief of Police.
“It’s rare that you ever actually get to thank a man for setting his life aside to save another man’s life, and so that is what they did,” said Chief Joe Mann.
Perhaps the proudest of all is Officer Soloman’s beaming five-year-old daughter Ava.
“I think he did a great job,” she said.
But Officer Soloman said a greater power put them in the right place, at the right time.
“We missed the original call, and I’m glad we did because we did something bigger, we got to pull a guy out, and he gets to keep on living,” Soloman said.
Brown’s neighbor, 46-year-old Michael Allen Groves, is charged with arson. He’s being held in the Morgan County Jail on a $100,000 bond.