MSP Board of Awards

Previous Awards:

Board of Awards 11-12 & 1-13
Board of Awards – 4-24-2013
Board of Awards – 8-26-2013

DATE:  January 10, 2014

The following citations were approved by the department’s District and Division Review Panels and the Board of Awards Committee.  The ranks of the officers are those held at the time of the request for citation.

Bravery Award:

Tpr. Matthew Keller is receiving the Bravery Award for diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers. On February 18, 2013, Trooper Keller responded to a report of an individual attempting to gain entry into a residence. Based on the reported vehicle description, Trooper Keller and a Green Oak Township Police Officer located the suspect vehicle and engaged in a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit ended when the suspect drove through a yard and ran into a residence. Trooper Keller chased the suspect into the residence, following the suspect upstairs. As Trooper Keller kicked the upstairs bedroom door open, he observed the suspect raising a handgun at him. Trooper Keller fired two shots at the suspect as he backed away and found cover. The Green Oak Township Officer then entered the residence and took a position of cover where he could observe the suspect while Trooper Keller exited the home to retrieve his rifle. As Trooper Keller reentered the residence, he observed the suspect lying on the floor pointing his handgun in the direction of the officers. The suspect fired toward the officers, resulting in the Green Oak Township Officer returning fire. Verbal commands to the suspect to drop his weapon were ignored, as he again fired at the officers. After several moments, it was observed that the suspect was deceased. In awarding the department’s Bravery Award, the Board of Awards recognizes the brave and decisive actions of Trooper Keller in bringing this dangerous situation to an end.

Tpr. Jeffery Rodgers, Tpr. Timothy Roberts, and Tpr. Troy Szukhent are receiving the Bravery Award for diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers. On April 17, 2013, Trooper Szukhent was involved in a vehicle pursuit of a carjacking suspect. After crashing the stolen vehicle, the suspect exited and fired rounds at Trooper Szukhent as he fled through a junk yard. After contacting dispatch, Trooper Szukhent pursued the subject into the junkyard store, which was occupied by patrons at the time, and noticed the door to the yard was open. Trooper Szukhent continued visually clearing the store when he heard someone yell that the subject was running northbound through the yard. Trooper Szukhent quickly located the subject and continued the foot pursuit. Ignoring Trooper Szukhent’s demands to lay down, the subject calmly turned toward Trooper Szukhent, raised his handgun, and fired at him. Trooper Szukhent took cover behind two salvaged vehicles and returned fire. The subject walked behind a cinder block building on the northeast side of the lot and continued to fire at Trooper Szukhent. After Trooper Szukhent fired two or three more rounds, the subject disappeared behind the building. Trooper Szukhent then observed a salvage yard employee hiding in the yard. He quickly made his way to the employee to prevent the suspect from possibly taking him hostage or shooting him.

At this time, additional officers, including Tpr. Jeffrey Rodgers and Tpr. Timothy Roberts, entered the yard positioning themselves near a door of the building where the suspect had taken cover. While they were outside, gunfire could still be heard from within the lot. Troopers Rodgers and Roberts, along with a Flint Police Department officer, attempted to breach the door utilizing a battering ram and a halogen tool, with no success. At this time, with gunfire still being heard, it was determined Trooper Rodgers and the Flint officer would breach a hole through the fence around the corner to the west. They started to free the sheet metal from the fence post and to remove the metal paneling and as Trooper Rodgers reached for another piece of paneling; gun fire erupted from the other side of the fence, narrowly missing Trooper Rodgers. Trooper Rodgers dropped to the ground and began to crawl toward cover at the corner of the building. Trooper Roberts then left his position to enter into the line of fire to assist Trooper Rodgers by grasping the back of his collar and pulling him as he crawled back toward the cover of the building. After the troopers were back behind cover, the Flint officer began firing his M-4 rifle into the corner from where the rounds were discharged at the troopers. Shortly thereafter, all gun fire stopped and the subject was observed through a hole in the paneling, deceased. In awarding the department’s Bravery Award, the Board of Awards recognizes the extreme and dangerous circumstances these troopers were under while responding to this incident.

Tpr. Steven Arendt and Tpr. Jeffrey Crofoot are receiving the Bravery Award for diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers. On September 9, 2013, Tpr. Paul Butterfield II was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop. The suspect fled from the scene and numerous law enforcement officers were mobilized to assist in the manhunt, including Troopers Arendt and Crofoot. After receiving their briefing and assignment, the troopers headed south into Manistee County and within five minutes located the suspect vehicle, unoccupied, at a gas station. Trooper Crofoot exited his vehicle and took a position of cover near the gas station store that allowed him to visually identify the suspect inside. Once Trooper Arendt confirmed the license plate on the suspect vehicle, he moved to a position of cover near Trooper Crofoot. While observing the suspect, it became evident the suspect was aware of the patrol vehicles as he began making his way to the rear exit of the store. The troopers moved to the rear of the store and observed the suspect exit the store while clutching at something on his waist. The suspect proceeded to run along the rear of the building with Trooper Crofoot in pursuit and Trooper Arendt moving toward the front of the store and the suspect’s vehicle. Trooper Crofoot observed the suspect had a handgun and yelled to alert Trooper Arendt and others. As the suspect came around the corner of the building, Trooper Arendt observed the suspect, with a handgun in his right hand, raise his arm in the direction of Trooper Crofoot. Trooper Arendt identified himself and ordered the suspect to stop. The suspect continued running and Trooper Arendt fired two rounds from his service weapon. The suspect immediately dropped to the ground as one round struck him in the left knee. As the suspect fell to the ground, he dropped the pistol. Trooper Arendt and Trooper Crofoot then handcuffed the suspect and arranged for his transport to the hospital. Thanks to the quick and brave actions of Trooper Arendt and Trooper Crofoot this murder suspect was prevented from killing anyone else.

Lifesaving Award:

Tpr. David Bluhm and Tpr. Nolan Przybylo are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of another. On April 9, 2013, while conducting a traffic stop, Trooper Przybylo was flagged down by an individual requesting to speak to him. After completing their traffic stop, the troopers approached the residence of the other individual. As the troopers entered the home, they could see a female lying motionless on the floor just inside the doorway. The troopers were told the woman had possibly overdosed on heroin. Trooper Przybylo checked the woman’s vital signs and found a faint, but rapid pulse and no signs of breathing. As Trooper Przybylo contacted dispatch to request medical personnel, Trooper Bluhm retrieved a medical kit. Trooper Bluhm issued rescue breaths while Trooper Przybylo continued to monitor the woman’s vital signs until emergency medical personnel arrived. Thanks to Trooper Bluhm’s and Trooper Przybylo’s knowledge of first aid, the woman survived.

Tpr. Andrew Knapp and Tpr. Joseph Pendergraff are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of another. On June 9, 2013, Trooper Pendergraff responded to a medical emergency involving an unconscious man. Trooper Pendergraff utilized his Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to administer a shock and then began performing CPR until Trooper Knapp arrived to assist. The troopers continued performing CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived to transport the victim to the hospital. Thanks to Trooper Knapp and Trooper Pendergraff’s knowledge of first aid techniques, the victim survived.

Tpr. Nicole McGhee and Tpr. Richard Kearns III are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of another. On October 24, 2013, Troopers McGhee and Kearns were on patrol in Saginaw as part of the Secure Cities Partnership when they were dispatched to a drive-by shooting. The troopers arrived before medical personnel and observed two victims lying on the ground. One of the victims had a gunshot wound to his lower back and was not able to move his legs; however, it did not appear to be a life-threatening injury. The other victim was bleeding profusely from his groin area. A single gunshot wound was located near the victim’s groin. Troopers McGhee and Kearns applied direct pressure to this victim’s gunshot wound and femoral artery to help slow the bleeding. The troopers continued to administer first aid until emergency medical personnel arrived to transport the victims to the hospital. If not for the actions of Trooper McGhee and Trooper Kearns, it’s possible the victims would not have survived.

Tpr. Jeffery Rodgers and Tpr. Sean Thomas are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of another. On August 12, 2013, Troopers Rodgers and Thomas responded to a report of a man who had fallen into the Flint River. Upon arrival, the troopers found the man struggling in the water and unable to exit due to high concrete walls. Trooper Rodgers immediately positioned himself to grab the man’s hand; however, was unable to pull the man back over the wall on his own. While Trooper Rodgers held onto the victim, preventing him from slipping further into the river, Trooper Thomas positioned himself to assist in pulling the man up the concrete wall and out of the river. If not for the quick actions of Trooper Rodgers and Trooper Thomas, the man likely would have drowned.

Tpr. Daniel Richter and Tpr. Ryan Zamarron are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of another. On July 21, 2013, Troopers Richter and Zamarron were on a traffic stop when they overheard a vehicle crash. The troopers ran to the crash scene and found the driver of one vehicle had suffered a compound fracture to her leg and had a steady flow of blood exiting her leg. Troopers Richter and Zamarron applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and elevated the driver’s leg. Once emergency medical personnel arrived, they transported the driver to the hospital for emergency surgery. If not for the quick actions of Trooper Richter and Trooper Zamarron, it is likely the driver would have bled to death.

Tpr. Michael Floriano, Tpr. Larry Rossler, and Tpr. Kelsey Sipple are receiving the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of a child. On July 14, 2013, Troopers Floriano, Rossler, and Sipple responded to a medical emergency in which a four-year-old child was not breathing and unresponsive. Believing the child was choking, Troopers Floriano and Sipple administered back blows in an attempt to dislodge the obstruction. Trooper Rossler was then able to establish an airway and the child began breathing. Troopers Floriano and Sipple maintained the child’s airway until emergency medical personnel arrived. Thanks to Trooper Floriano, Trooper Rossler, and Trooper Sipple’s knowledge of first aid, the child survived.

Professional Excellence:

D/Sgt. Angela Fleming
Tpr. Robert Dunham
Tpr. Sarah Whitman
Tpr. Daniel Thomas
Tpr. Thomas Figurski
Tpr. Adam Henderson
D/Sgt. Allen Ogg
Tpr. Scott D. Trafelet
Tpr. Robert D. Scott
Tpr. Daniel Thompson
Tpr. Carey Casperson
D/Sgt. Kevin Conklin
Tpr. Paul Gonyeau
Tpr. Orville Hamilton
Tpr. Ryan Schoonveld
D/Tpr. Michael Teachout

Unit Citation:

Tpr. Gordon Armstrong
Tpr. Ron Baril
Tpr. Charles Bartley
D/Sgt. Jean Belanger
Tpr. Todd Berdan
Tpr. Eric Byerly
Tpr. David Clark
Tpr. Ben Clearwater
D/Sgt. Stephanie Cleland
Tpr. Dave Cowen
Tpr. Kevin Curtis
Tpr. Chad Dana
Tpr. Rocco Daversa
D/Sgt. Rob Davis
D/Sgt. Angela Fleming
D/Sgt. Mike Foley
Tpr. Rob Glentz
Tpr. John Gora
Tpr. Ryan Hare
Tpr. Michael Harger
Tpr. Evan Hauger
D/Sgt. Mark Henschell
Tpr. Neil Holton
Tpr. Greg Hubers
Tpr. James Hutchinson
D/Sgt. Heather Johnston
Tpr. Doug Kaiser
Tpr. Larissa Lamay
Tpr. Steve Lanctot
Tpr. Mike Leddy
D/Sgt. Mike Logan
Tpr. Dan Lubelan
Tpr. Denis McGuckin
Tpr. Mark Miller
Tpr. Stacey Moore
D/Sgt. Frank Mraz
Tpr. Jeff Oudman
Tpr. Rick Pearson
Tpr. Chris Pietrantonio
Tpr. Ron Rabineau
Tpr. DeLynn Rice
Tpr. Stefanie Rider
Tpr. Kevin Ryan
Tpr. Gary Salway
Tpr. Mack Schlicht
Tpr. Jim Shaw
Tpr. Brain Siemen
Tpr. Jason Sleeter
Tpr. Tim Sproull
Tpr. Michael Stites
Tpr. Christopher Suarez
Tpr. Jim Tompkins
Tpr. James Wachnicki
Tpr. Hugh Welsh

The next Board of Awards Committee meeting is March 13, 2014.