- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- Massachusetts State Police
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Presents 40th Annual Trooper George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery to Members of Law Enforcement
Elaine Driscoll, Director of Communications and Policy
Worcester — Today, in a ceremony at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall, Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, and Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy presented the 40th Annual Trooper George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery. The Hanna Awards honor the memory of Massachusetts State Police Trooper George Hanna, killed in the line of duty in 1983, and recognize members of law enforcement for exemplary acts of bravery.
Since 1983, 154 individuals have received the Hanna Award Medal of Honor, the highest honor the Commonwealth bestows on a law enforcement officer. This year’s prestigious award ceremony honored 9 recipients, hailing from the Worcester, Revere, and Boston Police Departments.
“Massachusetts’ most distinguished law enforcement award pays tribute to police officers who demonstrated extraordinary courage in the face of extreme danger, no matter the risk to themselves,” said Governor Healey. “Today’s award recipients exemplify the heroic legacy of Trooper George Hanna, and their stories are a powerful reminder of the peril an officer may encounter with every call.”
“Hanna Award honorees reflect the extraordinary training, skills and attributes required by those who protect and serve our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “As we commend today’s heroes, we also express our gratitude to their families in recognition of the sacrifices required of those who love and support our first responders. We thank all our police families and acknowledge the emotional toll of awaiting your loved one’s safe return from every shift.”
“Every day in communities across Massachusetts, police officers demonstrate remarkable acts of bravery in the face of life-threatening danger. The Hanna Awards provide a welcomed opportunity to lift their stories and shine a light on the extraordinary actions of our most courageous public servants,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Reidy. “The Commonwealth owes a debt of gratitude for the selfless service of today’s award recipients, and we extend our deep respect and appreciation to all who bravely answer the call with an unyielding spirit of sacrifice and an unbreakable sense of duty.”
Each year, local and state agencies submit Hanna Award applications, which are reviewed by a committee of public safety and law enforcement executives. Upon selecting individuals or teams as recipients, the committee considers the facts of each nomination to classify the award as either a medal of honor or valor. The Medal of Honor is the highest award for those who demonstrate extraordinary bravery and courage in the face of extreme risk and certain and imminent danger to life or limb. Valor is awarded to those whose valor in a single incident goes above and beyond the call of duty, and who demonstrate selfless bravery despite the potential for danger to themselves.
On Saturday, February 26, 1983, Trooper George Hanna conducted a motor vehicle stop in Auburn. Three men and two women were in the vehicle, and when Trooper Hanna removed the occupants for questioning, he was instantaneously shot six times by one of the male suspects. He died later that evening in a Worcester hospital, leaving behind his wife, Marilyn, and three children, Deborah, Kimberly, and Michael. Deborah and Kimberly participated in today’s program, presenting each award alongside Governor Healey.
In addition to the Medals of Honor and Valor, 4 civilians received special recognition for their support of law enforcement. The Hanna Awards Selection Committee honored the 72nd Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito, for their steadfast support of law enforcement during their time in office. Additionally, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security recognized the extraordinary action of William and Amy McGuinness for their courageous efforts in response to the 2018 events that led to the death of Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna.
On July 15, 2018, Sergeant Chesna was killed in the line of duty by a violent assailant. In the moments following the brutal attack, respiratory therapist Amy McGuinness and her husband, William, delivered medical aid to the wounded Sergeant Chesna amid nearby gunshots. Despite instruction to return to their home, the McGuinness’ refused to abandon Chesna in his hour of greatest need telling responding officers they would take care of him. In the hours that followed their traumatic experience, the McGuinness’ opened their home to neighbors displaced by investigators and officers working in the summer afternoon heat.
The 2023 Hanna Award recipients and incident summaries are as follows:
Officer Paul Cyr, Medal of Valor
Worcester Police Department
On the night of Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Worcester Police Officer Paul Cyr, a patrol officer and member of the Department’s SWAT team, responded to a man who reported that he was carrying a large bomb and guns. Cyr arrived on scene to find the man on the phone, walking along Grafton Street, carrying a very large backpack and a rifle slung over his shoulder.
In his conversation with a dispatcher, the man communicated his desire to go to the police station with the bomb. He also said that he could not disarm the bomb because it was wired to his heart and would detonate if his heart stopped.
Officer Cyr assumed a position close to where the subject was walking to interrupt his movement and begin negotiating a peaceful surrender. After establishing a rapport, Cyr successfully asked the man to stop moving, which allowed other officers to assume a safe position, contain the threat, and evacuate nearby residents. Cyr continued to engage the subject who, despite erratic changes in mood and demeanor, eventually agreed to sit down and stop advancing toward the thickly settled residential area.
After hours of ongoing negotiations, the subject became upset again and began making death threats against officers and civilians. Officers could see a detonator switch on the subject’s hand that they suspected he would use to explode a bomb.
The subject then told Officer Cyr that he planned to walk to a nearby gas station. Cyr recognized that an explosion at such a location would kill and injure many officers and civilians. Despite law enforcement’s pleas for the man to stay put, the subject advanced forcing Cyr to discharge weapon.
In the aftermath of the use-of-force, police found that the subject was armed with a gun, a simulation rifle, and a sophisticated homemade hoax bomb.
Officers Brendan Bosse, William Flaherty, and Jamie Pietroski, Medal of Valor
Boston Police Department
On the night of Sunday, December 11, 2022, Boston Police officers from District Four conducted a well-being check at a Roxbury apartment with the support of a maintenance worker. When they tried to enter the apartment, they found a deceased individual obstructing the doorway and a man barricading himself inside the apartment.
As the Patrol Supervisor on scene requested the Department’s hostage negotiator and SWAT Team, the officers began speaking with the barricaded man to de-escalate the situation and urge him to peacefully present himself outside of the apartment. When the man failed to comply and SWAT officers heard him moving objects around the apartment, the team breached the door and entered the apartment.
Once fully inside, officers identified a mutilated, deceased, male body covered in blood. They also located the suspect, who was visibly armed with a large knife and pair of scissors, at the rear of the apartment.
Despite their best efforts to de-escalate the situation with verbal commands to, “drop the knife and show us your hands,” the suspect continued to pace back and forth behind furniture. Shortly thereafter, suddenly and without warning, the suspect charged aggressively at the officers.
The officers responded again with verbal commands but were forced to discharge a less-than-lethal 40mm blue-nose device to subdue the suspect and regain control. Their measured response successfully knocked the suspect to the floor causing him to drop the knife and scissors, but he immediately got up to retreat behind the furniture. Officers then heard screaming and advanced to the rear of the room to see the suspect hanging from the twelfth-floor window; the suspect had jumped out of the to escape or end his own life.
With total disregard for their own safety, Officers Wiliam Flaherty and James Pietroski removed their protective vests and equipment, rushed to the open window, leaned out, and grabbed the suspect by his legs to prevent him from falling to his probable death.
Separately, Officer Brendan Bosse and other SWAT Officers descended one floor to the eleventh-floor apartment immediately below to lean out the windows, save and apprehend the suspect, and bring an end to a dangerous situation for residents, officers, and the suspect himself.
Officer Brendon Leslie, Medal of Honor
Sergeant Jackie Dean and Officer Christopher Panzini, Medal of Valor
Revere Police Department
On the evening of Friday, April 8, 2022, Officer Brendon Leslie and Officer Christopher Panzini were on patrol in separate, marked police cruisers when they observed a man acting erratically in the middle of Broadway. obstructing traffic and waving his arms in the air near a bus stop. Leslie radioed Revere Control and advised that the two officers conduct a well-being check and further investigate what the suspect was doing in the middle of the roadway.
The officers parked in a nearby lot to observe the suspect, who was about 10 to 15 yards away. Using supplemental lights on his cruiser, Officer Leslie immediately observed that the suspect was armed with a handgun. Leslie radioed other responding units that the suspect was armed, exited his police vehicle, drew his firearm, taking cover behind the police vehicle, and issued verbal commands to, "Drop the gun!" The suspect refused and continued standing in the middle of the roadway, waving the firearm, and posing a significant danger to the officers, motorists, and pedestrians.
Sergeant Jackie Dean arrived on scene to support Officers Leslie and Panzini working to de-escalate and achieve a peaceful surrender when the suspect raised his firearm and fired one round at Sergeant Dean in his police vehicle. The suspect subsequently turned toward Leslie and Panzini and began firing at them.
Leslie fired one round at the suspect, striking him in the lower leg. With the suspect wounded on the ground, Sergeant Dean pinned the subject down while Leslie kicked the firearm out of the suspect’s reach. The trio placed the suspect into custody without further incident.
Officers William Parlon and Kyle Moran, Medal of Honor
Boston Police Department
During the early morning hours of Saturday, May 14, 2022, Boston Police Officers Kyle Moran and William Parlon responded to a 911 call for a woman screaming for help at a residence. When the pair arrived, the officers saw a black car parked on the side of the road with its lights on, a man, and a woman standing next to him on the sidewalk.
Moran and Parlon parked their cruiser just behind the vehicle in the middle of the street. From their close vantage, Moran noticed the man’s white t-shirt was covered in blood and alerted Parlon before exiting the vehicle. Immediately as they activated their body-worn cameras and began to approach, the woman shouted, “Be careful, he has a knife.”
The man charged at Officer Parlon saying, “I don’t care, I’m going to get you.”
Officer Moran immediately called for backup as the officers tried to create distance from the suspect. Simultaneously, they gave verbal commands for the man to stop and drop the knife. Despite their efforts, a struggle ensued in the middle of the street with the suspect straddling Parlon on the ground underneath.
With no regard for human life, the suspect began stabbing Parlon repeatedly with the knife forcing him to fight for his life. While Moran gave multiple commands to end the attack, the suspect continued stabbing his partner. Moran ultimately raised his department-issued firearm and fired, striking the suspect, and ending the attack.
In total, the suspect stabbed Officer Parlon seven times in his chest and arm. If not for the resilience of Officer Parlon and the quick actions of Officer Moran, the outcome of this dangerous situation could have been lethal.