East Precinct police officers, plus civilians honored at awards ceremony

You’ll see why these folks were given awards, when you take a look at this story‚

Members of the Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Crime Reduction Unit receive their “Unit Commendation” from Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Officers and staff of the Portland Police Bureau pause twice a year to honor, commend, and present medals to officers as well as civilians who have worked diligently, shown bravery, or have been injured in the line of duty.

On June 20, at the David Douglas High School Horner Performance center, a musical prelude by the Portland Police Bureau Highland Guard was followed with the posting of the colors by the bureau’s Honor Guard.

After remarks by Police Chief Rosie Sizer, master of ceremonies Sgt. Brian Schmautz began presenting awards in nine categories.

Some of the outer East Portland honorees included:

Unit Commendation‚ Crime Reduction Unit
The primary mission of East Precinct’s Crime Reduction Unit, (commonly referred to as the CRU team) is to provide law enforcement and safety to Portland’s outer Southeast Community, Schmautz explained, before he read the following commendation:

“The unit was formed in 2005 to address chronic drug-related property crimes, by focusing on the small percentage of identified career criminals responsible for the majority of crimes. Since its formation, the unit has successfully eradicated or reduced numerous problems that were pervasive in East Precinct. Dedicated to their mission, CRU has made it increasingly difficult for career criminals to commit their crimes in East Precinct.

“CRU supports the precinct by responding to major incidents, targeting major problem areas, serving search warrants, assisting the Neighborhood Response Team and Precinct Detectives.   The CRU team has developed a holistic approach to their crime fighting efforts.  They not only chase criminals, but regularly provide education, training, and community awareness to local schools, neighborhood block meetings, community members, the media, and partner organizations.”

Police Chief Sizer presents commendations to East Precinct officer Richard Steinbronn (his wife stands next to him) and to Cadet Nathan Huff.

Medal of Valor and Civilian Heroism Medal
This award was presented to the team of East Precinct officer Richard Steinbronn and Cadet Nathan Huff.

You may recall the story we covered last year on July 19, 2006, when police were called to the Eastport Plaza military recruiting office. They found a man who was said to be depressed and possibly suicidal

Officer Steinbronn was the first on scene. With him, on his first ride-along was new Portland Police Cadet Nathan Huff.

At the recruiting office, Steinbronn learned the man for whom they were looking was AWOL from the military, very depressed, suicidal, and likely armed with a handgun.

“As they spotted the subject,” Schmautz commented, “he turned toward the patrol car, sweeping his handgun in the direction of Officer Steinbronn and Cadet Huff. Officer Steinbronn immediately engaged the subject and fired four rounds. Three rounds hit the subject, but he did not react. The subject then raised his own handgun to his head and discharged his own weapon.  This round proved fatal and the subject dropped to the ground.

“During the confrontation, Cadet Huff made proper decisions and sought cover in the immediate vicinity

“In recognition of Officer Richard Steinbronn’s unselfish action to protect the lives of others, while placing himself at substantial risk of injury and demonstrating personal courage, Officer Richard Steinbronn is hereby awarded the Portland Police Bureau’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor.

“In recognition of Cadet Nathan Huff’s tremendous heroic action, demonstrating personal courage and selflessness, Cadet Nathan Huff is awarded the Portland Police Bureau’s Civilian Heroism Medal.

Police say this teenager, Cricket Huddleston, helped put a holdup man behind bars.

Civilian Heroism Medal
Fifteen-year-old Cricket Huddleston helped foil a bank-bag robbery on January 27, 2006.

Schmautz told the group Huddleston chased the crook from the Wells Fargo Bank on SE 82nd Ave. and Foster Rd., across the street and into the Fred Meyer store.

“Several citizens saw the activity, ran to her aid, and assisted by watching the exits of the Fred Meyer store. Portland Police Officers arrived and with the assistance of Fred Meyer Security they located the suspect inside the store and took him into custody.  The suspect was found to be armed with a stun-gun. The money was recovered.

“Miss Huddleston remained on scene, identified the suspect, and provided a statement to investigators.  She later testified in court, and the suspect was convicted of Robbery.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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