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Daily Archives: May 14, 2009

Police, citizens honored for extra effort

Police officers who helped resuscitate a man in cardiac arrest, pulled a suspected criminal from a car crash and saved an unconscious woman from the cold were honored Wednesday.

The Hagerstown Police Department also honored other officers for their actions and reactions, as well as civilians who contributed to law enforcement and criminal justice efforts.

Chief Arthur Smith handed out awards as part of National Police Week.

Police officers who died in the line of duty also were remembered across the country Wednesday. In Hagerstown, wreaths were placed at the police department’s memorial wall.

Smith read aloud the honorees and their feats:

• Officers Tom Kelley and Jon Molineaux found a man who was bleeding and unconscious at Byers Stop-N-Go on Dec. 5, 2008. They administered CPR until an ambulance arrived and took him to Washington County Hospital, where he was revived.

• Officers Brian Barnhart, Cliff Briggs and Kelley; Sgt. Johnny Murray; and Detective Casey Yonkers were called to City Park on Jan. 22, 2009, to find a homeless woman last seen near the lake. They didn’t see her, so they asked questions and kept looking until they got to a wooded area where the woman was unconscious but OK.

Smith noted that the previous month, a man’s body was found near City Park, having apparently died from exposure to the cold. Police were unsure of his identity for several days, but Sgt. Paul Kifer said Wednesday the man’s name was Sylvestre Perez.

• On April 19, 2009, police officers chased a man suspected of sexual assault. The man’s vehicle went up a ramp toward South Prospect Street and kept going, past the bridge at Antietam Street. The vehicle ended up on its roof, entangled in sparking power lines, but Officer Kelley and Detective John Lehman pulled the driver out.

• Officer Christopher Little went to the REACH shelter on West Franklin Street on March 28, 2009, where a man with a knife was bleeding from apparently self-inflicted wounds. The man refused Little’s command to drop the knife. Little used a Taser to stop the man. In a separate call, on Feb. 27, 2009, on South Potomac Street, Little used a Taser to disarm an angry man who had a steak knife in each hand and was coming at him.

• Officer Briggs went to the 600 block of Hayes Avenue on March 10, 2009. An agitated man with a knife in each hand refused to put them down. Briggs used pepper spray, which caused the man to drop the knives.

• When police stopped a vehicle on West Washington Street on April 2, 2009, a police dog smelled drugs. Officers found a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun in the driver’s waistband. The driver struggled and tried to get away, but officers controlled him. Detectives Brian Hook, Mike Kovac and Lehman and Officers Kelley, Little and Nick Varner were involved in the call.

detectivejasondietz_hagerstownpd Detective Jason Dietz was among those looking for a wanted person at a residence on Woodland Way on Nov. 22, 2008. The homeowner got mad at police and wouldn’t listen to them. When Dietz saw the man pick up a handgun, he struggled with the man and knocked the gun from his hand, then kicked the gun away as the man reached for it again.

• On his own initiative, Detective Todd Dunkle, the department’s gang specialist, obtained $35,200 in grants to benefit at-risk children and get equipment for the department.

• Officer William Kimbrough was on desk duty and monitoring prisoners Dec. 8, 2008. When a camera showed an inmate tie up his clothing in an attempt to hang himself, Kimbrough summoned help, which arrived in time.

• City resident Gary Sturniolo was looking after his neighbor’s home when someone broke in. Sturniolo confronted the burglar before calling police and giving them a description of the intruder.

• In the last year, Hagerstown Citizens on Patrol put in hundreds of hours and drove thousands of miles as they kept an eye on their community. Volunteers reported dozens of traffic offenses and crimes and helped check on various complaints.

• The Hagerstown Fire Police regularly direct traffic at vehicle crashes, fires and special events, sometimes getting there before police officers do.

• The Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office’s victim and witness unit makes sure victims are available to testify in court and helps comfort victims and their families during the criminal justice process.

“It’s just kind of the things these guys do every day, but (don’t) get enough recognition,” Smith said of the achievements that were honored.

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Once a cop, always a cop;)

The actions of a retired Springfield Policeman helped saved a woman’s life who was nearly abducted. Richard Reid retired just last week, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with his duties.

Only a few days into his retirement, former Springfield Police officer Richard Reid and his brother Robert were drinking coffee on the front porch of his Keith Street home yesterday morning.

Reid says it was the instincts from his 13 years on the force that let him know something wasn’t right.

Richard’s Brother Robert Reid says, “All of a sudden I see my brother Richard sort of going into a different mode.”

Reid says a car driving down his road suddenly stopped and two men got out. Reid watched the men for a few minutes and then called 911 when he noticed them signal to the car to turn around as they headed towards a young woman on the curb.

Richard Reid says, “The woman then realized something was going on too because she got up off the sidewalk and walked towards the back of her home over there and when she realized the men were gaining on her, they changed direction as she changed direction I then told the dispatcher they were about the abduct the woman.”

The woman works at this massage parlor and was able to make it inside and shut the door only moments before the men tried to grab her. Reid gave the dispatcher the license plate number and identify the the suspects who were pulled over a short time later.

19 year old Darius Parker, 19 year old Darrell Love, 17 year old Guiseppe Demaria and 17 year old Daniel Campbell were arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping.

Reid, “I went in and I talked to the woman at the business and made sure she was alright, she realized that something was going to happen and she was very frightened. Being a cop you do get a little nervous and you do get worried for people and that was my main concern was that woman not getting harmed or abducted.”

The woman’s identity has not been released. She told police she doesn’t know why the men tried to abduct her.

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Wellesley money manager apologizes to trooper

Wow!  Sgt. Wildgrube is forgiving.

——

With a heartfelt handshake, a state trooper and a Wellesley portfolio manager accused of dragging him with her Mercedes-Benz over a parking spat at Logan International Airport have agreed to bury the hatchet.

Margaret “Meg” Greer’s spontaneous mea culpa to Sgt. Danial Wildgrube in East Boston District Court today “was all Mrs. Greer,” her attorney Carol Ann Starkey told the Herald. “She deeply regrets and is extremely contrite about her abhorrent interaction with the state trooper.

“I commend her for that,” Starkey said. “She is a woman of enormous character.”

But the peace offering didn’t go quite far enough for Judge Robert Ronquillo Jr., who ordered Greer, 57, to write Wildgrube a letter of apology for the March 29 dust-up at Terminal B.

In exchange for the apology and Greer admitting to facts sufficient for a finding of guilty, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of assault with a dangerous weapon against Greer. Ronquillo continued without a finding for six months misdemeanor charges of assault and battery on a police officer and failure to stop for police.

Provided she stays out of trouble, Greer is not required to change her plea of not guilty.

“There’s no doubt that Margaret Greer’s actions were dangerous and irresponsible,” said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley. “It’s extremely unusual, however, for any defendant to make a heartfelt apology and acknowledge responsibility at the very first court date, as Ms. Greer did here.

“We expect she will abide by the terms of her probationary period,” he said, “and put in writing the apology she offered to the trooper in court.”

Greer, who no longer works for Citi Smith Barney in Waltham, Starkey said, also must perform 200 hours of community service.

State police spokesman David Procopio said Wildgrube “was in agreement” with the case’s resolution.

“Sgt. Wildgrube could have been seriously injured in this confrontation,” Procopio said. “The defendant initially tried to evade responsibility. We are pleased that the court and now the defendant acknowledge that the facts of the case affirm the state police version of events and would be sufficient to prove that the defendant assaulted a Massachusetts state trooper.”

Greer was illegally parked curbside at Logan – allegedly with a glass of booze in the cupholder of her 1998 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 SUV – waiting to pick up her husband when Wildgrube asked her to move.

When she refused and he tried to ticket her, Greer took off, first clipping his arm with a side mirror and then dragging him when he tried to get her out from behind the wheel.

The incident was witnessed by dozens of people.

State police eventually caught up to Greer on the Massachusetts Turnpike and noted in their arrest reports she smelled of alcohol.

“She wanted to get this behind her for all the right reasons,” Starkey said. “That is what was done today.”

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Blue Badge of Courage: Top Five Most Heroic Police Moments

Since I can never get the stupid Word Press instructions for YouTube to work, you’ll have to view the video here…

Any Cop is RoboCop With an Electric Police Trike

lvmpdpolicetrikeA Las Vegas company has created electric “police mobility vehicle” to help officers navigate crowds and busy city streets, all the while mixing up some energy-efficient green with those blue uniforms.

With three wheels, an aluminum unibody frame and lithium-ion batteries, Xtreme Green Products’ Sentinel is capable of silent pursuits up to 29 miles an hour, and it can even hop an eight inch curb if a perp takes the chase all the way to the sidewalk. If things get really dicey, an officer can jump off the trike and an automatic parking brake will stop the Sentinel in its tracks. Super quiet electric motors don’t quite have the presence of a Crown Vic with a brush bar, so a full light and siren package comes standard for those times an officer has to cut through traffic or block a roadway.

Xtreme says the Sentinel is “designed to replace the bicycle and foot patrol with a reliable, state-of-the-art, and efficient urban neighborhood and downtown patrol.” Whether or not it beats walking the beat, the Sentinel is the least ridiculous electric law enforcement scooter we’ve seen — a far cry from the Segway Kevin James rode in Paul Blart, Mall Cop.

Though no cost estimates have been announced, we can’t imagine that the Sentinel will be less expensive than a bike or new shoes for foot patrol. The Sentinel may, however,  make a good substitute for expensive mounted units. While horses are ideal for helping officers during crowd control, mounted units are costly, and therefore facing elimination in departments from Arizona to Massachusetts.

“The mounted officers are better equipped than a patrol officer to monitor crowded patrol areas,” Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Scott Smith told the Arizona Republic. Tempe’s mounted unit diffused tensions after numerous sporting events, but may be sacrificed in a round of budget cuts. While the concept of replacing a horse with a machine seems oh-so 19th century, we think the Sentinel just may have the height and maneuvarability advantage of a horse, but without the manure and feedbags. Plus, Xtreme says the batteries are good for over 3,000 cycles, providing over 80 miles of travel per charge. Just try to find a farrier who will make that same promise.

A horse-for-batteries swap may be years away. Xtreme hasn’t offered an official launch date for the Sentinel, and they’re just beginning to take orders for their  electric bike. Plus, big Homeland Security grants for law enforcement equipment are so 2007. Unless it’s shovel ready, we don’t know how an average department could afford to pay for a big, shiny electric toy — even if that toy appears to have droopy eyes and a moustache straight out of a Pixar movie.

One thing’s for sure: If any departments do decide to purchase a fleet of Sentinels, we can only hope the producers of COPS find a way to mount a camera on the handlebars.

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Washington State & Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers named best-dressed cops in nation

The Washington State Patrol and the Mississippi Highway Patrol have been named the best dressed law enforcement agencies in the U.S. by the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Distributors (NAUMD). This marks the first year the association has named co-winners of the annual Best Dressed Law Enforcement Agency award.

Last year, the State Patrol was the sole winner of the award.

Washington State Patrol Uniform

Washington State Patrol Uniform

“I am very proud of the men and women who wear the uniform of the Washington State Patrol,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste in a news release. “I have seen the uniform of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and am honored to be in their company.”

Mississippi Highway Patrol uniform

Mississippi Highway Patrol uniform

The award is based on photographs, history and explanation of each of the different
working uniforms worn by law enforcement agencies.

State Patrol uniforms include traditional blues with campaign hat and bowtie; light blue shirt and navy blue trousers of the communications officer; gray shirt and black trousers of the Commercial Vehicle Division; and bicycle uniform worn by Capitol Campus Security.

To learn more about the State Patrol’s uniforms, click here.

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Two KC Officers are ‘Top Cops’

Kansas City police Officers David Loar (left) and Christopher Skinner brought “dignity to another human being,” said Police Chief James Corwin.

Kansas City police Officers David Loar (left) and Christopher Skinner brought “dignity to another human being,” said Police Chief James Corwin.

A holiday night act of charity two winters ago led to high honors on a spring afternoon in the White House Rose Garden for two Kansas City police officers.

And the president’s thanks.

On Tuesday, Christopher Skinner and David Loar were among nearly three-dozen officers who had been singled out by their peers as “Top Cops.” They helped a homeless man get his life back together.

During a routine call on New Year’s Eve 2007, they found him asleep in a hallway near the parking garage at the Antioch Shopping Center.

“I never thought an alarm call would lead us to Washington, that’s for sure,” Skinner said after the ceremony, still in awe of where he was and all the high-powered attention. “What often is pretty mundane turned into this.”

“Unreal,” Loar said.

Besides President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder also attended the ceremony sponsored by the National Association of Police Organizations.

“This is difficult moment for our nation,” said Obama, standing before an audience of the officers’ families and supporters. “But I’m heartened by the folks who are standing behind me who’ve demonstrated today by acts of selflessness and bravery what it means to be responsible … what it means to serve. I’m honored to welcome you to the White House.”

The peaceful setting of the Rose Garden was a counterpoint to the stories of violence and heartache that lay behind the award winners.

The homeless man who Skinner and Loar aided was a 70-year-old retired truck driver who had been living hand to mouth for seven years. He had no identification because his wallet had been stolen.

So they helped him re-establish his name to qualify for Social Security. They also helped him obtain nearly $1,000 in back payments, found him an apartment with a discount on the rent, personally paid for a hotel room while his new home underwent repairs, and made sure he had food and clothing.

Now he is living on his own and has not sought publicity.

Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin said in a statement that Skinner and Loar expected no recognition and “used their own money and their own time to bring dignity to another human being,”

They didn’t just jump in feet first to help the man, Loar said. They talked about what to do and met with him several times.

“Our initial gut feeling was this is somebody who actually needs the help,” he said.

Being a cop, Skinner added, “you become a pretty good judge of character.”

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K-9 Unit Introduced to Madisonville Police Department

There are two K-9 units at the Madisonville Police Department and they are not to be underestimated in abilities, value, or training.  These two German Shepherds have been with the Madisonville Police Department since 2005 at an initial cost of $9,975 for training, kennel, vehicle modifications, and accessories.  The K-9 unit trains a minimum of 8 hours every two weeks and these are dual purpose canines that will patrol and work narcotics.  Madisonville Citizen’s Police Academy Week 8 afforded us the opportunity to watch these dogs in action detecting drugs and working on the attack command.

If you have not seen these dogs in action they are exceptionally talented with annual testing in obedience, tracking, patrol, agility, and apprehension while under fire or at a command from their handler.  These dogs love to work, provide unconditional loyalty, and ensure the safety of our officers and the citizens of Madisonville in unique situations.  As an example of their tracking and narcotics detection abilities, when you smell soup cooking in the kitchen the aroma provides you with the key to which “type” of soup it is, the dog can detect individual ingredients in the soup and pinpoint the actual spices used in preparing the soup.  These dogs can track a missing person or perpetrator via the skin cells you shed continuously, sweat, hair, or clothing and can detect the prescence of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin from the other side of a wall.  One of the most unique cases was in checking the UPS a package was detected in which cocaine was concealed inside a concrete football.  There has been one liability case in utilizing the K-9 unit since its inception in the mid 90′s and one dog has been injured.

K-9 Officers are on duty 8 years with annual testing and competition then will be evaluated for continued service based on health tests and enjoy working daily.  Madisonville Police Department K-9 partners live with their handler’s families playing with kids and grandkids on their off time.  At the end of their service time ownership is transferred to the handler which is not the fate of our military dogs called to action.  Dogs working during the Vietnam War saved countless lives on patrol yet were not allowed to come home and were in fact destroyed at the end of their time in service overseas.

These K-9 units are a valuable resource for the Madisonville Police Department and in watching them work with single minded attention then interacting with them was absolutely amazing.

Madisonville Citizen’s Police Academy will be at the range this weekend for firearms experience then finishes next week with a tour of the Hopkins County Jail.

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