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Salem Police Honor Department Members

News Release from: Salem Police Dept.
Posted: May 17th, 2013 4:45 PM

The Salem Police Department held an awards ceremony and recognition for several department members who have distinguished themselves through their actions. There were numerous other members recognized for various reasons, including significant milestones reached in years of service to the Salem Police Department.

The ceremony was held at 3:00 pm in the Salem City Council Chambers before a crowd of friends, family members and City officials. Chief Jerry Moore addressed the crowd, recognizing the work that members of the department do on a daily basis and also expressing his pride in the members who were being honored during the ceremony.

The Awards Ceremony began with the recognition of Senior Officer Becky Carpenter for 25 years of service, Detective Tom Rousseau for 25 years of service, Records Technician Pam Marker for 35 years of service and WVCC Operations Manager Susan Hurley for 35 years of service to the Salem Police Department.

Detective Curt Abel received an Individual Letter of Recognition for his meticulous work with Federal authorities in tracking Federal funds from the Homeland Security Program for the Salem Police Hazardous Devices Team (Bomb Squad). The Salem Police Department was granted funding for the Hazardous Devices Team to host statewide training in explosives Threat Analysis and Mitigation. As part of the administration of the Federal resources, the Salem Police Department was given very short notice of an audit of the funds. Detective Abel worked diligently to not only organize the necessary documentation for the auditors, but he also provided the auditors with a hands-on demonstration of some of the equipment purchased with the funds and educated them on the operation of the equipment. Detective Abel's work brought great credit not only to the Hazardous Devices Team, but to the department as a whole in how the agency responsibly administers Federal funding.

Officer Larry Shryer was awarded an Individual Letter of Recognition for the capture of an armed robbery suspect. On January 10, 2013 a lone suspect robbed a subway restaurant at gunpoint and fired his handgun during the incident. A photo of the suspect was distributed at departmental briefing, and on January 14 Officer Shryer was on patrol when he recognized a suspect matching the description of the robbery suspect. When Officer Shryer made contact with the subject, the subject placed his hand inside his jacket instead of complying with commands, and Officer Shryer took the suspect into custody at gunpoint. Once the suspect was in custody Officer Shryer found a loaded handgun inside of the suspect's jacket, and it appears as though the suspect was beginning to go for the gun. Officer Shryer's actions took a very dangerous offender off of the streets.

Officer Eric Hubbard received an Individual Letter of Recognition for his service to our country in the Air Force Reserve as a Bomb Technician. Officer Hubbard is a member of the Salem Police Hazardous Devices Team in addition to his reserve duties as a Team Leader for an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Unit for the Air Force. Officer Hubbard has completed two deployments to the Middle East, and during his most recent deployment his team successfully completed 87 combat missions, destroyed sixteen enemy explosive cache locations, destroyed twenty-six IEDs, conducted nineteen post-blast investigations and eliminated 5,100 lbs of enemy explosives. His convoy was also struck by and IED, and Officer Hubbard immediately took control of the situation and allowed for the area to be secured so medical personnel could respond to treat the casualties. On May 2nd 2012, Officer Hubbard received the Military Bronze Star where his Company Commander cited the following: Technical Ser
geant Hubbard should receive the Bronze Star for his "Exceptionally meritorious service as a team leader while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His outstanding performance, expertise, and dedication to duty greatly contributed to the success of the unit's mission. Technical Sergeant Hubbard's distinctive accomplishments reflect great credit upon himself, Combined Joint Task Force Paladin, and the United States Air Force." It should be noted that the Military Bronze Star is the fourth highest combat award in the US Armed Forces, and that this was Officer Hubbard's second Bronze Star in as many deployments. Officer Hubbard's contributions have allowed for safer passage through obviously dangerous areas of the Middle East where he has been deployed and has prevented countless casualties.

Corporal Kevin Hill, Officer Alex Asay, Officer Jon Garland, Officer Stacie Metcalf, Officer Adam Waite and Officer Oscar Zambrano were awarded Individual Letters of Recognition for their actions during a tragic fatal traffic crash on New Year's Eve, 2012. The crash involved a minivan occupied by eleven family members, including parents and a five-month old infant, returning from a party. This mass casualty incident in which two people lost their lives had Officer Garland running from ambulances to the crash scene carrying back-boards to medics, Officer Zambrano holding the front passenger's hand and neck and telling him to hold on as he slipped in and out of consciousness, Officer Metcalf attempting to comfort the father of the deceased three-year old girl, Officer Waite standing on the rear bumper of the minivan helping the fire department tear the roof off of the minivan to extract victims and Officer Asay who was invaluable at the hospital interpreting for the Oregon St
ate Police and notifying the victims and their families of what had happened. Each officer who responded was a valuable asset and performed their duties exceptionally well, using a great amount of teamwork. The officers involved in this incident brought great credit to the Salem Police Department and exhibited their skills and abilities not only to numerous other first responder agencies, but to the public as well.

Officer Darrell Wood received the Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding service and contributions to the Salem Police Canine Unit. Officer Wood was in the unit from May, 1997 until January, 2013, serving nearly sixteen years as a canine handler. He also served as supervisor of the unit. During his tenure in the unit Officer Wood had two canine partners, Ivon and Gino, with over 2300 deployments with 834 captures. Officer Wood was an excellent canine handler and was known for his tenacity in working with his canine partner to track suspects. It was not uncommon for Officer Wood to locate a suspect long after the initial canine track was presumably concluded because he and his partner just didn't give up. Officer Wood was instrumental in increasing the knowledge, skills and reputation of the Salem Police Canine program, and the legacy he has created as a canine handler will stand for years to come.

Communications Specialist Tina Holt was awarded the Lifesaving Award for her actions on January 27, 2013 when a despondent male called 911 stating "I think I'm going to commit suicide." Tina Holt was able to keep the caller on the line and engage him in conversation as she obtained his address and location on the property and also confirming that he was armed with a loaded shotgun. She was able to build a rapport with the subject and make a personal connection as he told her about his problems. Tina Holt later said she felt the caller was serious about killing himself as she tried to take his focus away from his problems. She was also able to get information from him about his life, family and friends and used this information to reassure him. At one point it was suggested that an officer take over negotiations with the subject, but Tina's rapport with the subject was very strong and it was decided that she was the best one to continue the conversation with him. She was
finally able to talk the subject into surrendering to deputies, who later found evidence that the subject was intent on committing suicide and also found that he likely had the barrel of the gun resting against his head as he spoke with Tina Holt on the phone. Tina Holt 's ability to keep the subject on the phone talking instead of hanging up and committing suicide, then convincing him to put the gun down and surrender speaks volumes about her as a 911 Call Taker/Dispatcher and as a caring person.

Officer Adam Waite was awarded the Lifesaving Award for his actions in performing CPR on a medical victim on January 2, 2012. Officer Waite responded to a medical call for assistance to a report of a subject who was unconscious and not breathing. Upon his arrival within five minutes of the initial call, medics were not yet on the scene, so Officer Waite obtained his CPR mask and entered the residence to find an adult male lying on the floor with family members unsuccessfully trying to perform CPR. Officer Waite directed family members to assist him with rescue breathing while he performed CPR on the subject until medics could arrive, and the subject eventually regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital. Officer Waite's expeditious response and immediate effective performance of CPR helped to save the man's life.

Officer Brian Kohlmeyer was awarded the Lifesaving Award for his actions to prevent a female from jumping off of the Center St bridge on August 24, 2011. A female had called a crisis hotline and stated she was walking to a bridge to "end it." The crisis hotline contacted dispatch who advised field units of the situation. Officer Kohlmeyer was responding to the area when he spotted the female subject sitting on the jersey barrier on the bridge with her legs hanging down over the outside of the barrier over the river. Officer Kohlmeyer approached her and reached out to her to introduce himself to her, and when she took his hand he quickly pulled her from the jersey barrier away from the river and detained her. Officer Kohlmeyer quickly assessed the situation and recognized the imminent danger in which the subject had placed herself, and his decisive actions in pulling her away from the river likely saved her life.

Senior Officer Scott Nowning, Corporal Dustin Wann, Officer Brian Kohlmeyer and Sergeant Steve Smith were awarded the Lifesaving Award for their actions in saving a suicidal subject who was contemplating jumping from the Marion Street Bridge on January 24, 2013. The subject, who was standing on the outside of the railing of the Marion Street Bridge, had an extension cord tied around his neck and had called 911 because "he wanted to say goodbye to his son." Officer Nowning was the first to arrive on scene, followed closely by the other officers. Officer Nowning recognized the fact that the subject was in a very precarious position due to his position, the fact that the extension cord around his neck was tied to a sign post, that he was barely able to hold onto the railing as his hands jerked from apparent meth usage and the railing was wet from the rain. Officer Nowning engaged the subject in conversation and was eventually able to convince him to put his legs back over th
e railing. Fearing that he would climb back to the outside of the railing again, Sergeant Smith, Corporal Wann and Officer Kohlmeyer quickly developed a plan and were able to physically restrain the subject and cut the cord that was tied to his neck and safely turn him over to medics on scene. Officer Nowning's negotiating skills were crucial to the successful resolution of what could have been a tragic loss of life, and Sergeant Smith's, Corporal Wann's and Officer Kohlmeyer's quick and decisive actions kept the individual from getting back over the railing and saved the subject's life.

The following Officers received awards for an incident on August 11, 2012 in Benton County.
Distinguished Service Award: Corporal Andrew Connolly; Senior Officer Sean Cooper; Officer Matt Gill, Officer Eric Hernandez; Officer R.J. Smith; Officer Tyler Verhaar; Officer Oscar Zambrano
Lifesaving Award: Officer Matt Gill; Officer Eric Hernandez; Officer R.J. Smith
Medal of Valor: Officer Eric Hernandez
Purple Heart: Corporal Andrew Connolly

On August 11, 2012, Salem Officers were called to assist the Benton County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies. They had pursued a stolen vehicle into a rural part of Benton County where the vehicle crashed and the suspect fled into heavy brush. A perimeter had been established and the request was for a canine team to respond to assist in finding the suspect. As seven Salem Police Officers were in the brush searching for the suspect, he suddenly jumped up and ran towards the command post. He ignored orders to stop and pulled a firearm that had been concealed in his pants and began firing rounds towards the command post, striking Salem Police Corporal Andrew Connolly in the leg and Benton County Sheriff's Sergeant David Peterson in the leg and torso area. Officers returned fire and struck the suspect, but even before the suspect was secured and remained a threat to officers, Officer Eric Hernandez left his position of cover and pulled Sgt Peterson out of h
arm's way and to a position of cover. Officers Matt Gill and R.J. Smith administered first aid to the suspect for the numerous gunshot wounds he sustained in the incident, and the suspect was subsequently transported by helicopter to OHSU for treatment. Corporal Andrew Connolly was treated at the scene and subsequently transported to a hospital for further treatment. Because Corporal Connolly was the ranking Salem Police Officer on scene and was now incapacitated, Senior Officer Sean Cooper immediately stepped up and assumed supervisory duties to include assignment of tactical duties, coordinating response of resources, the instituting of officer involved shooting protocols and other supervisory duties. Officers Eric Hernandez and Tyler Verhaar worked with a Benton County Deputy Sheriff in providing first aid to Sergeant Peterson. Officer Verhaar, who was an EMT prior becoming a police officer, began treating Sergeant Peterson's abdominal wound until medics could arrive
and take over treatment. Medical personnel later said that whomever provided medical first aid to Sergeant Peterson in the field likely saved his life. Officer Zambrano then assumed the role of Corporal Connolly's companion officer and accompanied him to the hospital, filling a critical role in supporting a fellow officer and providing important information to investigators and trauma team. There were a total of twenty officers involved in this incident, all of whom acted with great professionalism and bravery. The suspect survived his wounds and was subsequently charged with multiple crimes including two counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder.

Officer Oscar Zambrano was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in confronting an armed robber on February 10, 2012. Officer Zambrano was dispatched to a report of a suspicious person who appeared to be "casing" a business on Commercial St SE. As he was responding to the scene, Officer Zambrano received information that a person matching that description had just committed a robbery and fled on foot. Details were still coming in and it was unknown if the suspect was armed with a weapon during the robbery. Officer Zambrano located the suspect hiding in some bushes behind a business and confronted him, only to have the suspect flee on foot across Commercial St through heavy traffic. As Officer Zambrano gave chase, the suspect suddenly stopped, turned around, pointed a rifle in Officer Zambrano's direction and fired multiple shots. Officer Zambrano, without hesitation or thought for his own safety, continued to advance toward the suspect as he returned fire on the su
spect, hitting the suspect multiple times. Once the suspect was secured Officer Zambrano approached several of the drivers who had stopped due to the incident to check on their welfare and to be sure that they were safe. Officer Zambrano's heroic actions in pursuing a robbery suspect then acting with professionalism in defending himself and others against a dangerous offender removed a dangerous offender from our community.

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