Courageous cops honored at East Portland celebration

While vilifying the Police Bureau seems to be in vogue, read this story and discover story after story of cops and everyday folks reaching out, and helping people in desperate situations …

The Portland Police Bureau Honor Guard comes to the David Douglas High School Horner Theater stage, kicking off the 2012 Portland Police Bureau Awards.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Hundreds of friends, family and officers of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) came to the David Douglas High School Horner Theater on the afternoon of September 6 for the fall edition of the awards ceremony.

In the foyer, PPB East Precinct Commander Mike Lee put the ceremony in perspective for East Portland News: “It’s good that we recognize people for good work. I see and learn about the good work our people do every day. While we’re not able to recognize all the great work, it’s still good that we say ‘great job’, publicly.”

PPB Chief Michael Reese talks about the challenges the Bureau faces, and the importance of singling out the courage and valor seen in the work of their staff.

“We are celebrating exceptional accomplishments as our members work to keep us safe, improve our relationships with the community, and improve our processes,” said PPB Chief Michael Reese, as he began his opening remarks to the assembly.

“You’ll hear stories about successful investigations that shut down criminal operations; you’ll hear about routine calls that suddenly turned tragic. You’ll hear details of about heroic efforts to save lives during crises,” Reese continued.

“There is no denying that the landscape is changing, in public safety,” Portland’s top cop pointed out. “Our officers spend more and more of their time dealing with people in crisis. And also with people who are homeless, affected by drugs, or who are mentally ill.  Every day we face tough situations, often with no easy answers or simple solutions.”

Reese observed that in 2011, the Bureau took 1,100 people into protective custody. “These were people who were presenting a danger to themselves or others. In effect, that’s 1,100 lives we saved, and I really applaud the officers who were these situations.”

The following five stories took place in outer East Portland – but the Bureau also awarded many other officers for their efforts, all across the City. This is the text of the remarks made by PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson at the event.

TriMet driver stops assault

Bus driver Larry Porter and citizen Ronald Plumb receive awards for stopping an assault at a bus stop.

Commendation Medal
Mr. Larry Porter and Mr. Ronald Plumb

On May 16, 2012, just after 3 in the afternoon, TriMet Driver Larry Porter and Ronald Plumb stopped a violent assault on a young woman at the intersection of SE 96th Avenue and Division Street.

Mr. Porter was just starting his shift, driving his bus on the connection ramp from SE Powell to SE Division. As he approached Division, Mr. Porter saw a man violently beating a woman in a nearby grassy area. Mr. Porter stopped his bus at the intersection and called to the man to stop the attack. The man threw the woman to the ground and continued to assault her, so Mr. Porter exited his bus, ran to them and knocked the man off of the woman. Mr. Porter held the man on the ground as other witnesses called 911.

Meanwhile, Mr. Plumb was holding a sign at the intersection when he heard the man yelling at the woman, saw the man throw the woman to the ground and violently assault her. Mr. Plumb ran to them and helped Mr. Porter hold the man to the ground until the police arrived. The man was arrested for Disorderly Conduct. The woman left the area prior to police arrival and was not identified.

Many motorists passed by this incident, but Mr. Porter and Mr. Plumb took action to stop this violent assault. Their actions went above and beyond what is typical of citizens who witness incidents such as this.

Larry Porter and Ronald Plumb, for your quick response in a violent situation, you are hereby awarded the Portland Police Bureau’s COMMENDATION MEDAL.

Officers deescalate hostage situation in Mt. Tabor Park

Officers Angela Hollan and William Johnson receive their Commendation Medals.

Commendation Medal
Officers Angela Hollan, Julian Carroll, and William Johnson

On July 26th, 2011, Officers Angela Hollan, Julian Carroll, and William Johnson were dispatched to Mt. Tabor Park on a disturbance involving an armed man harassing a park volunteer by spitting on her, and making threatening statements to kill her.

Officers Hollan and Carroll were working a two-person car, and were the first to arrive. They spoke with several people who pointed the subject out to them, and who told them he’d displayed a handgun to a park volunteer. They saw the subject looking at them as he sat at a table near the children’s playground, where numerous children were playing. The subject stood up and walked away from them. They ordered him to stop, which he refused to do.  He also reached into his pocket and appeared to the officers to be reaching for the handgun. The subject walked to the merry-go-round and grabbed a small child off of it. He held a young girl across his chest and then turned facing the officers. The officers took cover behind trees and had their guns drawn, but pointed to the ground in fear of alarming the children.

Officer Carroll called for additional officers and Officer Hollan kept a dialogue going with the subject who now stated the child was his. The officers told him he was scaring her, but he still refused to put the child down. The child was frozen in fear in his arms at this time.  The officers had no idea who the child was, nor if he was telling them the truth.

Officer Johnson arrived and drew his Taser. The responding officers’ sirens and the red dot from the Taser apparently convinced the subject to lower the child and release her. Officers took the subject into custody and found a loaded handgun in his pocket. Officer Hollan saw the child run behind a tree to hide. After calming her down, Officer Hollan learned the subject was actually the girl’s father who took her to the park for a visitation day. Her mother was called and they were reunited without further incident.

Officers Angela Hollan, Julian Carroll, and William Johnson, in recognition of the skills you used to de-escalate the individual, your situational awareness and the calm manner in which you resolved this incident peacefully, you are hereby awarded the COMMENDATION MEDAL.

Cops save mom from potential suicide

Officers Rian Hamby, Lori Sharp, and Robb Slyter receive a Commendation Medal.

Commendation Medal
Officers Rian Hamby, Lori Sharp and Robb Slyter

On December 14th, 2010, Officers Rian Hamby, Robb Slyter and Lori Sharp responded to a call regarding a 17-year-old boy arguing with a mother.  The mother had left after making suicidal threats.

Officers arrived, and spoke to the teenager as well as a 9-year-old, who were crying and very upset. As the officers were talking to the children, the mother returned home and was also very upset.

The officers spoke to the mother, eventually calming her down. Arraignments were made with other family members to take the children for a couple nights so the mother could work out some pressing issues. The mother explained she was a widow, lost her job, and thought it would be better if someone else raised her children.

Officers then went even further in assisting the family. They contacted the Sunshine Division, and through the cooperation of the Sunshine Division’s Izzy’s Kids program, the officers were able to purchase items the mother had picked out for Christmas for her children. Officers also went out and purchased additional items with their own money for the children, above and beyond what the mother had picked out.

The officers then contacted the local Walmart, and arranged for a free eye exam for the mother so she could get new glasses. After this, the officers followed up with the Sunshine Division for food box deliveries to the family.

The officers also contacted the Downtown Portland Business Alliance, who spoke with the woman and offered her employment. Since this incident, she remains employed and is earning her Bachelor’s degree. Her children are doing well, and her son is on the Scholars List at the University of Oregon.

Officers Rian Hamby, Lori Sharp, and Robb Slyter, for going above and beyond to help a family in need, working in cooperation with social service agencies and community businesses, you are all hereby awarded the COMMENDATION MEDAL.

Midnight rescue saves a life in a community garden

Chief Reese stands with Officers Derek Carmon and Derrick Foxworth as they are presented with the bureau’s “Life Saving Medal”.

 Life Saving Medal
Officer Derrick Foxworth and Officer Derek Carmon

On December 8, 2011, just after midnight, Officers Derrick Foxworth and Derek Carmon were working as a partner car patrolling the area of Hazelwood Community Garden.

While scanning the park with a spotlight, Officers Foxworth and Carmon saw a subject lying near a park bench. It was cold and wet with the temperatures in the low 30s. Officers Foxworth and Carmon quickly ran over to the man, who was pale, covered in blood, and having difficulty breathing. The subject had two self-inflicted cuts to his arm, and was completely unresponsive.

Officer Carmon immediately notified dispatch and requested medical. Officer Foxworth grabbed a nearby jacket and applied pressure to stop the bleeding, while Officer Carmon looked for the weapon, to secure it. A knife was located nearby. Medical arrived and transported the man to a local hospital.

The officers then went to the man’s mother’s residence and notified her of what occurred. The mother stated that her son had been recently depressed over a relationship with his girlfriend. When contacted at a later time, the grateful mother told police her son is doing better and is in counseling.  The mother also said that doctors told her that if the officers would not have found the man when they did, only 30 minutes later he would have died.

Officers Carmon and Foxworth, in recognition of your dedication to service and the decisive actions taken, you are hereby awarded the LIFE SAVING MEDAL.

Officers save person from jumping to her death

Officers Rob Slyter, James West, and Michael Honl listen, as their commendation is read, prior to their receiving the PPB Life Saving Medal.

 Life Saving Medal
Officers Michael Honl, Rob Slyter, and James West

Officers Michael Honl, Rob Slyter, and James West were dispatched to the Southeast Holgate and 1-205 overpass, on the report of a person on the outside of the railing apparently preparing to jump.

When they arrived they saw a woman had climbed over the railing above the northbound lanes of I-205. As the Officers approached her, she told them she was going to jump. Officer Slyter and Officer Honl alternated talking to the woman and when she was distracted by one officer, the other would move closer.  Officer West stood by in case he needed to approach from a different position.

The woman told the officers she was going to jump from the overpass and the officers reacted immediately; Officers Honl and Slyter pinned her arms to the railing and Officer West moved in and grabbed her legs.  The officers were able to drag the woman to safety.  During this time, the woman resisted their efforts, attempting to break their grasp and jump from the overpass. The officers overcame her efforts, though Officer Slyter suffered a bite to his arm. Emergency medical arrived and took her to a local hospital for mental health treatment.

Officers Slyter, Honl, and West, for your quick response and compassion that saved a woman struggling with mental health issues who was desperate to take her own life, you are hereby awarded the LIFESAVING MEDAL.

PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson, the program’s announcer, applauds the work of his fellow Bureau staff members.

These regular ceremonies – usually held at David Douglas High School, although the events cited occur all over Portland – are a way for residents of the area to learn more about the good things that the police do daily in the course of their regular duty shifts, that you seldom hear about.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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