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Officer Joseph Haman was honored as the city’s Officer of the Year Wednesday night. This comes after a gunman critically injured Officer Haman during a shootout in a north St. Louis gas station parking lot in May.
Well before Officer Haman was injured, he and his partner Kyle Chandler were named “Officer of the month” five times last year.
His entire life, Officer Haman says he has felt a need to serve. He says he did it for his country as a marine. Wednesday night, he and Chandler were honored for serving as a skillful police officer.
Last year, the duo made 114 arrests that resulted in 121 felony warrants.
The police chief in St. Louis said excessive speed and failure to wear a seat belt contributed to the deaths of two officers there in the past six months.
Chief Daniel Isom told local media outlets he has been in a long-running dispute with officers about wearing seat belts, even before the deaths of David Haynes and Julius Moore, two young officers killed in separate crashes in March and October.
Haynes, 27, was broadsided while crossing an intersection during a high-speed pursuit. Moore, 23, was responding to a burglary when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer.
The first of 31 federally funded police officers will be hitting the city’s streets within a month, with 19 more expected to begin Police Academy training in the fall.
The 50 officers are financed by a nearly $8.7 million Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Recovery Program grant announced in July 2009. The department originally requested $18 million.
Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday he hopes the additional officers will help the city continue its decline in crime. He said crime is down 12.4 percent this year as compared with last year.
The new officers will be exempt from layoffs for at least the next four years but will be subject to the same benefits and pay as other officers, officials said.
It was befitting that St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom would get the honor of presenting medals to the men in blue at this year’s 40th Medal of Valor luncheon: Of the 21 who received medals, nearly half represented his department.
Isom said the events each of the police officers faced proved they deserved the award, events that ranged from seizing weapons after witnessing a gunbattle, to overpowering a suspect who tried to steal an officer’s car, to chasing down a gunman who tossed his weapons off the Eads Bridge.
“We truly have some dedicated officers who are extremely brave and courageous,” Isom said after the ceremony. “It’s just incredible what they accomplish on a daily basis.”
Officers arrived dressed in their department’s blues and browns, with some in dress suits, for the 2009 Medal of Valor luncheon at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark.
The gala was sponsored by the Crusade Against Crime of America and the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs’ Association. It is the highest award given by the community at large to a law enforcement officer.
Honored with the Medal of Valor were:
From the St. Louis Police Department: Officers Dwaine Hollinshed, Matthew Simpson, David Calcaterra, Craig Robertson, Ishmael Tyson and Edgar Stegall; Detectives Soloman Thurman and Frank Williams; Sgts. Harvey Burnett and Scott Boyher.
From the St. Louis County Police Department: Officers Daniel Brinkman and Jacob Maechling and Detective Kurt Hauser.
Also honored were: Florissant police Officer Kirk Lawless; Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Timothy Craig; Missouri Department of Conservation agent Robert Sulkowski; Moline Acres police Officers Charles Dawson Sr. and Derrick Sutton and Detective Sgt. David Bobo; and O’Fallon police Officers Michael Doerge Sr. and Charles Niel.
Each recipient’s heroic efforts either saved a life or prevented a senseless death, said event host Karen Foss, senior vice president at AmerenUE.
Consider the case of Officers Hollinshed and Simpson. On Oct. 1, 2007, the officers spotted a gunman chasing another one, while firing shots at him. As they ran across Kingshighway, Simpson distracted the gunman, who turned his gun toward the officers and began firing at them.
Simpson returned fire and struck the man — several times — ending the gunfight.
“The officers ran to where the man had fallen, recovered his weapon and handcuffed him,” Foss told the attendees. “After handcuffing him, they realized he had stopped breathing and lost his pulse.”
She said the officers were soon surrounded by a group of the assailant’s neighborhood friends.
“Realizing the dangers of the situation, but knowing they could not let the man die, the officers removed the handcuffs, and Officer Simpson turned his back to the crowd and began CPR.”
Foss said Simpson revived the assailant. He later died.
“The officer’s selfless acts gave the man a second chance at life and saved the life of another,” Foss said.
The Medal of Valor is awarded in recognition of a conspicuous act of bravery that exceeds the normal demands of police service. It expresses the community’s gratitude for the sound judgment demonstrated by an officer in the performance of his or her duty.
By Denise Hollinshed
The parents of fallen St. Louis Police Officer, Julius Moore, share their story of the officer’s final moments and his legacy for his three young children. Moore’s daughter and two sons, all age 4 or younger, will come to know that their daddy was a great man. Moore was killed after his squad car collided with a tractor-trailer, in South St. Louis October 6th.
Javion, 4, his sister Jayla, 1 year, and their brother, Jaden, 4 months, no longer have their daddy. But they are his living legacy. They have his example to follow.
“That will stick with them. But you have to let them know and continue to tell them, ‘your dad did love you’,” said his mother, Pecola Moore. “I’m going to show them pictures of him so they can remember their daddy; every which way they can…they all loved their daddy.”
“I believe that other parents would hope and pray that their children could be like him, that people could say the same things about their sons and daughters that we’re saying about our son,” said Moore’s father, Robert E. Moore. “You never think of your children being in accident or being that badly hurt, until you see it.”
Officer Moore was on his way to help other officers track burglary suspects. His car collided with a tractor-trailer in what investigators said was simply a terrible accident. The other driver was not seriously hurt. For 10 days, Moore fought to live, until he just couldn’t anymore.
“I lost my little brother as well as my best friend,” his sister, Jennifer Smith said.
She and their parents said there were times during his hospital stay that it seemed like he was going to make it. Still, he remained in critical condition the entire time. He never opened his eyes. But his mother said he knew they were there.
“I know my son. I saw the tears coming out of his eyes,” Pecola Moore said. “I know that for sure. As a mother, I know when you’re talking to your children; you know when they hear you.”
Now, Moore’s family will do the talking to his children for him. His children will also learn from Moore’s police family, too, by their example and especially their father’s, who gave his life in service to his city.
“It was always, whatever you start, finish it no matter what. There was never any quitting anything,” his sister said.
“We’re proud of him. We’re proud of him. Even now,” his father beamed.
He said the family was sharing their story for other families who’ve experienced tragedy and those will in the days and years to come; thinking their experience and his son’s example can show them a way to get through it.
“It’s going to help somebody along the way. It’s going to help somebody in the near future who has to go through this,” Robert E. Moore said. “He was a man of faith. He was one who loved God…he was a Christian man. He lived by faith. He walked by faith.”
Backstoppers, the organization that helps the families of fallen police officers, has contacted Moore’s wife, Alicia. A trust fund’s being set up for the children at Truman bank, and should be activated Tuesday.
Visitation is Friday from 3:00-8:00 pm, at the Austin Layne Funeral Home, 7239 West Florissant Ave. St. Louis. A funeral service is set for Saturday at 10:00 am, at City of Life Christian Church, 8333 Fullerton, in University City.
PINE LAWN, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com)
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Dan Isom plans to end a tradition of top-ranking police commanders taking their badges with them when they retire. On Saturday, he also announced that the practice of buying expensive, hand-crafted badges for those ranked Lieutenant Colonel and above will end.
The changes come after the Department recently purchased 5 hand-crafted badges for $9936.20. The order violated the Department’s own purchasing procedures, since the order was placed before the purchase order was issued by the Board. This violation left the Department obligated to pay for the badges, since the badges were delivered before the purchase order was even received. Chief Isom has already dealt with those responsible for the purchase, and made it clear that no purchase should be made in violation of the purchasing manual.
According to St. Louis Police, the Department has purchased hand-crafted badges for those high ranking commanders since at least 1950. But Isom announced that no further badge purchase of this type will be made and that he will seek out vendors that can provide high-quality badges at a much more reasonable cost. Chief Isom also pledged he will find a way to recoup the money paid for the recent badge order.