Heroics revealed, at Police Awards ceremony

Find out who was awarded for doing their ‘every day jobs” well – and who performed heroically when the need arose …

A large audience assembles for the spring 2015 Portland Police Bureau Awards Ceremony, held in outer East Portland at City Bible Church.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Twice a year, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) holds a public awards ceremony, at which it honors both sworn and civilian employees, and also members of the public.

Starting off the May 6 ceremony, held in the main auditorium of City Bible Church, Police Chief Lawrence P. O’Dea III arose to set the stage.

Portland Police Bureau Chief Lawrence P. O’Dea III welcomes honorees and guests.

“Today you’ll hear the stories of the extraordinary and helpful things that have been done to improve our community,” O’Dea said. “These are stories about police officers working to build relationships, as well as to uphold the law. These are also stories highlighting actions of community members.”

After presenting Unit Commendations to the Multnomah County Child Abuse Team, PPB Statistical Services Division, and to the Bureau’s Eric Ross and Roger Sandvold for developing their Advanced Active Shooter program, the Bureau went on to present several Achievement Medals.

PPB Public Information Officer, and the programs MC, Sgt. Pete Simpson, called honorees to the stage for their awards:

Officer Zach Flippo

Officer Zach Flippo listens, while the story behind his “Life-Saving Award” is told.

“During the late evening of January 11th, 2014, East Precinct Officers were dispatched to the Mystic Gentleman’s Club at SE 99th Avenue and SE Stark St. The caller said a bouncer had been shot in the head, and the shooter had also been shot by a separate bouncer as he exited the club,” Simpson began.

> To read our coverage of that story, CLICK HERE.

“Upon arrival, a sergeant was tending to the suspect, who lay shot just outside the club entrance. The man later died from his injuries.

“Other Officers entered the club to clear the building of any additional shooters. They immediately saw the bouncer who had been shot in the head, lying near the entrance inside the club. Officer Zach Flippo, noticed the man was struggling to breathe and crouched down above the man’s head, held a towel on his wound, and tilted his head back to open his airway. It was several minutes before medical personnel arrived to provide medical attention. The man was transported to a local hospital, where he made an amazing recovery.

“Officer Zach Flippo: Your quick response to a man who had just been shot and was struggling to breathe helped save his life. You are hereby awarded the Portland Police LIFE-SAVING MEDAL.”

Pastor Marc Estes, Darlene Domenigoni, Dianna Rogers, and Craig Wishart

Awarded for their work with the East Precinct Sex Trafficking Unit are City Bible Church Executive Pastor Marc Estes, Darlene Domenigoni, Dianna Rogers, and Craig Wishart.

“During 2014, members of the East Precinct Sex Trafficking Unit partnered with community members, with the goal of assisting victims of sex trafficking.

“More often than not, victims of sex trafficking have spent the majority of their lives suffering from various forms of abuse. Much of the time, these victims suffer from sexual abuse in the household; drug and alcohol addiction; mental health issues; as well as emotional and psychological abuse. The intense mental, physical, and emotional scarring these victims suffer from severely debilitates their ability to function in society, as they are recruited at a young age by sex traffickers who continue to prey upon them, inflicting further damage.

“Past practices of arresting these victims and putting them through the criminal justice system had done nothing but continue this vicious cycle of abuse. Once the victim was released from jail, they would have nowhere to go except back to their pimp who would likely [start out by] abusing them physically for getting arrested. The victims had very few, if any, options – as their choices were return to an abusive home, or return to their pimp and face further abuse and exploitation.”

The audience listens respectfully, while the commendation is read.

“This has changed with Bridging The Gap, which helps provide community members, participants, and victims, with a highly efficient way of communicating in real time the urgent needs of victims of sex trafficking. This is accomplished using the Bridging the Gap website where requests for assistance are posted. Through the website, this information is distributed quickly to the members who will fulfill the request. Because the requests for assistance are distributed via a notification system of the member’s choice, such as a text message or email, the requests are received and fulfilled in a much more efficient and timely manner. In the past, this process would have required multiple phone calls, and was very time-consuming and cumbersome.

“Bridging the Gap brings community members together who are passionate about assisting the victims of sex trafficking, while providing victims with resources needed to get out of this abusive lifestyle.

“These individuals spent countless hours designing and building this website. They also oversee the daily maintenance and upkeep of this website on their own personal time. The response to this website has been overwhelmingly positive by local and out-of-state agencies and advocates.

“Pastor Estes, Ms. Domenigoni, Ms. Rogers, and Mr. Wishart: For your countless hours building a functional website that serves as a conduit for people willing to provide assistance to sex trafficking victims, you have had a positive impact on improving the lives of many.

“You are hereby awarded the Portland Police COMMENDATION MEDAL.”

And to all this, we add our own voice: We commend all of those honored during the afternoon ceremony.

> To watch the entire ceremony on YouTube: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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