Law Enforcement Officers Honored with George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery
BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today honored 22 police officers from six departments who in the last year distinguished themselves through exemplary acts of bravery carried out in the course of their duties.
“The examples of bravery we honor today are just a sample of the countless heroic acts performed by law enforcement professionals across the Commonwealth on a daily basis,” said Governor Charlie Baker, who presented the awards at a ceremony in the Massachusetts House Chamber. “As we salute this year’s Hanna Award recipients we want to honor their service and let all officers know we are proud and fortunate to have them protecting the Commonwealth each and every day.”
“Police officers are special men and women because they are the ones to answer the call and do whatever it takes when others are in need,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The brave officers we honor today have distinguished themselves through exemplary service and they make us proud of all who wear the uniform.”
The George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery are named in memory of State Trooper George L. Hanna, who was shot and killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop in Auburn on February 26, 1983.
“For law enforcement, a bad day on the job is a lot worse than for the rest of us,” said Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett. “We deeply appreciate the service that police officers provide to our communities and thank them for risking their own welfare for the sake of our security.”
There are three categories of Hanna Awards. The highest is the Medal of Honor, awarded to a police officer who has demonstrated actions above and beyond the call of duty, in the face of certain and imminent danger to life and limb. There are five recipients of the Medal of Honor this year.
The Medal of Valor is the second highest award and is awarded to officers who demonstrate actions above and beyond the call of duty, disregarding the potential for danger to themselves. This year, there are 15 Valor recipients.
The final award category is Meritorious Recognition, which has historically been awarded to those who perform with leadership, and who exhibit high levels of professionalism, selflessness and competence during their regular course of duty. This year, two officers received this recognition.
2016 Recipients of the 33nd Annual Trooper George L. Hanna
Memorial Awards for Bravery
Officers Kevin R. Plunkett and James L. Walsh, Boston Police Department
While on patrol in an unmarked vehicle in March of last year, Officers Plunkett and Walsh observed a motor vehicle commit a traffic violation and pulled over the vehicle. The officers observed the passenger of the vehicle reaching down several times under his seat. Knowing that there had been recent shootings in the same vicinity as the traffic stop, they ordered the passenger to exit the vehicle, when he again reached down.
Fearing that the passenger was reaching for a weapon, the Officers grabbed his arms while he was still seated in the vehicle, and the man immediately began to struggle. Officer Walsh became pinned between the car door and a snow bank as Officer Plunkett continued to struggle with the suspect, while simultaneously radioing for assistance. When the passenger yelled to the motor vehicle operator to drive, Officer Walsh freed himself and ran to the front of the vehicle as the operator began to rev the engine.
Officers Walsh and Plunkett were finally able to remove the suspect from the vehicle, but in doing so they fell onto the street and into oncoming traffic, causing injury to Officer Plunkett. The driver fled the scene as Officer Walsh relayed the description of the vehicle. The violent struggle continued until both Officers were able to subdue the suspect and place him under arrest. Upon arrest, a fully loaded semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the suspect’s sneaker, which was the item he had been attempting to reach for during the initial traffic stop. Responding units were able to apprehend the driver of the vehicle that had fled.
For their professionalism and courage in using great restraint in a dangerous traffic stop, Boston Officers Kevin Plunkett and James Walsh are presented with the Trooper George L. Hanna Award for MERITORIOUS RECOGNITION.
Medal of Valor
Detective Todd M. Hartgrove, Boston Police Department
On the evening of September 28, 2015, a call was broadcast for a detailed description of a suspect with a gun. Detective Hartgrove, en route to the call, observed the suspect near a playground pointing a firearm at two women.
Detective Hartgrove exited his vehicle, identified himself, and with his service weapon drawn, ordered the suspect to drop the firearm. The suspect did not comply with the order and yelled to the Detective to shoot him. After a tense standoff, the suspect finally lowered his weapon, but then suddenly ran to a nearby vehicle and dove into the passenger side of the car with Detective Hartgrove in pursuit.
The suspect was reaching inside the car for something as the Detective pulled him from the car. The suspect then rushed Detective Hartgrove, causing them both to fall to the ground. A violent struggle ensued, with the suspect attempting to grab his gun that had fallen onto the street. Additional units arrived and were able to subdue the combative suspect.
Further investigation revealed that the suspect was attempting to grab a folding knife from the vehicle in order to attack Detective Hartgrove. The suspect had intended to carjack the two women and had threatened to kill them before Detective Hartgrove arrived.
For his response in diffusing a volatile situation and for the apprehension of a violent individual, Boston Detective Todd Hartgrove is presented with the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR.
Medal of Valor
Officer Reivilo Degrave and Officer Gregory R. Eunis, Boston Police Department
On the evening of July 14, 2015, Officers Degrave and Eunis were on patrol in Dorchester when they heard multiple gunshots. The officers then observed a man walking along the street holding a firearm, who then fell to the ground. The officers exited their vehicle and identified themselves, which prompted the man to point his handgun directly at them. The officers sought cover as the armed suspect ran away.
As the officers pursued him, they heard additional gunshots and observed another man shooting at them. The officers radioed for assistance and broadcast that they were under fire. The officers continued to give chase. As they captured the first armed suspect, they were confronted by two other men. The officers were then able to apprehend these suspects, which led to the recovery of several loaded firearms and ballistic evidence.
For bravery in placing themselves in the line of fire to pursue and apprehend armed suspects, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is pleased to present Officer Reivilo Degrave and Officer Gregory Eunis with the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR.
Medal of Valor
Officer Joseph P. Capistran, Chelsea Police Department
In the early morning of February 1, 2015, Officer Capistran heard three loud gunshots in his vicinity. Within seconds, he heard a radio broadcast from a fellow officer indicating exactly where the gunshots had originated. Hearing additional broadcasts from other officers stating their positions, Officer Capistran chose a response path so that he could monitor three potential escape routes that the suspect could take to elude capture.
Responding to the area with his K-9 partner, Ancho, in a marked police cruiser, Officer Capistran observed a man running quickly toward him on the sidewalk. Officer Capistran stopped his vehicle in the roadway, exited and began to retrieve K-9 Ancho when he observed a large firearm in the man’s hand. Recognizing an immediate threat to safety, the officer stopped his attempt to deploy Ancho and instead drew his service weapon. Officer Capistran repeatedly ordered the suspect to place his firearm on the ground.
Continuing along the sidewalk toward him, the suspect stopped approximately 12 feet from the cruiser and exposed the firearm to Officer Capistran. The officer ordered three more times, “Drop the gun.” Instead, the suspect raised the firearm in a threatening manner in the direction of Officer Capistran. Fearing for his life, Officer Capistran discharged three rounds of his service weapon, which caused the suspect to drop to his knees, yet still keep his hold on his firearm. The officer again ordered him to drop the weapon, and the suspect finally complied. While on the ground, the suspect attempted to extend his hand in order to again reach the firearm, and the officer again had to order the suspect not to touch the gun. Two fellow officers then arrived on scene and apprehended the suspect. While the other officers provided medical assistance, Officer Capistran requested an ambulance for the suspect, who was transferred to a hospital.
For his brave and decisive actions in a highly dangerous situation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is proud to present Chelsea Officer Joseph Capistran with the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR.
Medal of Valor
Detective Edward D. Jackman and Detective Michael J. McLaughlin, Tewksbury Police Department
On the morning of February 17, 2015, Tewksbury Police Department’s Dispatch Center received two 911 calls that a male suspect had stabbed a woman and a man outside of an adult vocational school, and then dragged the female victim across the parking lot with his vehicle before fleeing from the area on foot.
Using the description of the suspect from the radio broadcast, Detective McLaughlin located the suspect on a nearby street and repeatedly ordered him to get on the ground. Ignoring the Detective’s commands, the suspect drew a firearm from his waist band. In turn, Detective McLaughlin drew his service weapon and ordered the suspect to drop the gun. Continuing to ignore Detective McLaughlin, the suspect then turned his firearm on Detective Jackman and another detective as they arrived on scene. Both Detective McLaughlin and Detective Jackman discharged their firearms, fatally wounding the suspect. A thorough investigation after the shooting found that the suspect had a lengthy violent record and was a suspect at the time of his death in a serious stabbing that had occurred a month earlier in another community.
For their courage in a life-threating situation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is pleased to present Tewksbury Detective Edward Jackman and Detective Michael McLaughlin with the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR.
Medal of Valor
Officer Robert J. Ela and Officer Timothy S. Whiting, Webster Police Department
On the evening of March 26, 2015, Webster Police responded to a domestic disturbance in which a male suspect had fled the scene in an attempt to evade arrest. A BOLO – Be on the Lookout Alert – had been broadcast to all nearby law enforcement agencies.
Later that night, Webster officers went back to the residence where the domestic disturbance had occurred earlier, to check on the well-being of the victim. After she was found to be fine and declined any further assistance, the officers left. Upon exiting the residence, Officer Whiting locked the door – a move that may have saved the victim’s life.
Meanwhile, shortly before midnight, Charlton Police learned that the male suspect had gone to his parents’ residence and stolen a shotgun and ammunition. Moments later, it was determined that the man intended to drive his car until it ran out of gas and then harm himself.
The man was observed driving back into Webster, and a brief pursuit ended at the initial residence. Officer Whiting and Officer Ela were close behind the suspect, and confronted him. The suspect fired two rounds at the officers, the shotgun rounds striking in such close proximity to Officer Whiting that he was struck by debris from nearby objects that the rounds hit. Officer Ela moved to a position where he could return fire, fatally wounding the suspect and ending the exchange of fire.
Although the suspect’s motives of returning to the residence were not confirmed, it is believed that he had returned to kill his girlfriend and then himself.
For their unwavering courage in a dangerous encounter, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is pleased to present Webster Officers Robert Ela and Timothy Whiting with the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR.
From the Massachusetts State Police and the Bourne Police Department, please welcome:
Medal of Valor
Trooper Nathan R. Monteiro, Massachusetts State Police, Bourne Detective Sergeant John R. Stowe Jr., Bourne Sergeant Wallace J. Perry IV and Bourne Officer Joshua A. Parsons
Medal of Honor
Bourne Officer Jared P. MacDonald
Early on the morning of February 5, 2015, officers were dispatched to a large apartment complex for a motor vehicle fire, before being advised that a shooting had just occurred within the complex. Upon arrival, the responding officers discovered what appeared to be improvised explosive devices scattered throughout the complex.
Arriving on scene, Officer MacDonald and Officer Parsons organized a tactical movement into the complex, around the burning vehicle and toward the last reported sighting of the suspect. As Officer MacDonald and a fellow officer crossed through the parking lot, they came under rifle fire. Officer MacDonald was struck once in the back and sought cover between parked vehicles, pinned down and severely wounded. Sergeant Perry had arrived to back-up the initial responding officers and had begun to organize the officers on-scene. Together with Officer Parsons and other officers and state troopers, they moved towards Officer MacDonald’s position.
Detective Sergeant Stowe and Trooper Monteiro had arrived on the scene as back-up and began moving into the complex in an attempt to get to Officer MacDonald’s position. After locating him, Detective Sergeant Stowe and Trooper Monteiro began moving him to safety, under the belief that there was a second armed suspect located somewhere nearby. They proceeded to carry Officer MacDonald away from the area of the suspected shooter and through the adjoining woods. Detective Sergeant Stowe and Trooper Monteiro were forced to carry Officer MacDonald to a waiting ambulance through waist-deep snow that had recently fallen in a historic blizzard.
A short time later, the suspect moved into the roadway near where Officer MacDonald had been located, and Sergeant Perry began providing cover as Officer Parsons and others advanced on the suspect and took him into custody. Upon his apprehension, several weapons and suspected explosive devices were located. Believing there was a second armed suspect, Sergeant Perry then moved to the scene of the initial shooting with others, where they discovered a deceased female victim, and a second victim who had been critically wounded. Detective Sergeant Stowe returned through the snowy woods with a second ambulance crew on foot and provided cover as the other victims were evacuated.
Officer MacDonald was severely wounded in the incident, suffering a gunshot through his lower back that has not allowed him to return to duty.
For their uncommon heroic reactions under a potentially deadly encounter, while disregarding their own safety, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is pleased to present the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR to: Officer Joshua Parsons, Sergeant Wallace Perry IV and Detective Sergeant John Stowe Jr. of the Bourne Police Department and Trooper Nathan R. Monteiro of the Massachusetts State Police.
On behalf of a grateful Commonwealth, it is with deep appreciation that the highest award for policing, the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF HONOR, is presented to Officer Jared MacDonald of the Bourne Police Department.
Medal of Valor
Boston Police Department
Officer James J. Conley, Officer Janet P. Lewis, Officer Dennis M. Medina
Medal of Honor
Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police
Trooper William A. Cameron, Detective Brian L. Ball, Officer Brian W. Johnson and Officer John T. Moynihan
On the evening of March 27, 2015, members of the Youth Violence Strike Force were on patrol in an area of Boston where there had been reports of shots fired earlier that day. During surveillance, the Strike Force observed several people, who were suspected of having handguns, enter a vehicle. While in an unmarked police cruiser, Officers Moynihan, Lewis and Johnson observed the vehicle as it failed to stop for a stop sign. Behind them in another unmarked Boston Police vehicle were Trooper Cameron, Detective Ball and Officer Conley.
Officers activated their emergency lights and signaled the suspect vehicle to stop. The car occupied by the suspects traveled two more blocks before coming to a stop. Officer Moynihan exited his cruiser and approached the driver-side door of the vehicle while Officers Lewis and Johnson approached the passenger side. Meanwhile, Detective Ball was approaching behind Officer Moynihan on the driver’s side and Trooper Cameron and Officer Conley were at the rear of the vehicle. None of the officers could see inside the vehicle’s windows due to their extremely dark tint.
Officer Moynihan asked the driver to step from the vehicle, and as the door was opened, the driver lunged at him, raised a .357 Magnum revolver and fired it point blank at Officer Moynihan. Struck in the face, Officer Moynihan collapsed. The suspect moved toward the injured officer lying on the ground and aimed his weapon at him again.
Detective Ball drew his service weapon and exchanged fire with the driver. Trooper Cameron and Officer Johnson also returned fire as the suspect began to cross the street and continued the firefight. Officer Medina, also assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force, had arrived on the scene in response to shots fired. Together, Officers Conley and Medina rushed to the aid of Officer Moynihan while Officer Lewis maintained control of the remaining vehicle occupants.
The suspect was struck numerous times and fell to the ground, eventually succumbing to his injuries. Officer Moynihan was rushed to a local hospital, where he bravely battled for his life for several days. He continues to improve and get stronger each day, and eagerly awaits his return to duty.
For the incredibly brave and decisive actions of these officers, resulting in saving a fellow officer’s life, the Commonwealth is pleased to present the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF VALOR to: Officer James Conley, Officer Janet Lewis, and Officer Dennis Medina.
For their valiant actions and exceptional heroism, which surely prevented the injury of more officers and suspects, a grateful Commonwealth is pleased to present Trooper William Cameron, Detective Brian Ball, Officer Brian Johnson and Officer John Moynihan each with the highest award for policing, the Trooper George L. Hanna MEDAL OF HONOR.