Honoring Hopewell's finest
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
May 23, 2014, 13:24
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Many Hopewell police officers were recognized with awards during a ceremony at the Beacon Theatre on May 15.
HOPEWELL — Hopewell police officers were recognized recently for work on major crimes, community outreach, and even saving the lives of people who were attempting suicide.
The spring awards ceremony was held May 15 at the Beacon Theatre.
The police department also took a moment to honor the two Virginia police officers who were killed in the line of duty in the past year. A candle was lit as their names were read.
“We lost two this year. We lost 105 in 2013 nationwide,” said Police Chief John Keohane.
Deputy Billy Ray Grimsley of the Portsmouth’s Sheriff’s Office dies as a result of his injuries from a motorcycle accident as he was returning to Portsmouth after representing his agency at a parade in Poquoson. He died Feb. 3, 2013, two months after the crash, which resulted in a broken ankle. A blood clot formed and reached his lungs. He left behind a wife and two children.
Master Trooper Junius A. “J.A.” Walker of Dinwiddie was ambushed by a gunman after stopping for what he thought was a disabled vehicle on Interstate 85.
Keohane said Master Trooper Junius Walker’s death has particular meaning because he served in this area. Division 1 Area 7 served the Tri-Cities.
“Trooper Walker served and protected for 40 years and was within two months of retirement. End of watch March 7, 2013,” Keohane said.
Following a moment of silence, the more joyous part of the afternoon began with the awards ceremony.
A Chief’s Citation Award was given to Detective Robert Williams for participating in eight student outreach assemblies at schools from September 2013 to April 2014.
“Detective Williams was able to relate to students with his personal knowledge and experience of gang influence in his own high school years and how he chose to make the right choice,” Keohane said.
Good Conduct Awards went to those officers without a reprimand for three years.
They were awarded to James Barchanowicz, Rose Camacho, Justin Cote, Ryan Ferguson, James Finch, Song Pak, Mark Polumbo, James Shutt, Sean Spencer and Douglas Suyes.
Certificate of Achievement awards were given to Francine Lambert-Molette in the Victim / Witness Assistance Program; Officers Megan Shelton and Vanessa Smith for handling a stabbing; and Sgt. Trevor Terry, supervisor of B Platoon, Second Squad.
Certificates of Commendation were awarded to three officers, William Blankenship, Lawrence Costello and Daniel Pisarek for the HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Theft) Program, which helps educate residents. A Certificate of Commendation was awarded to Ruth Surley, who serves as the department’s coordinator of charitable organizations. Donita Williams received an award for completing an emergency response course.
Police chief John Keohane, right, reads the names and a brief description for the two police officers killed in the line of duty in 2014.
Excellent Police Duty Awards were given to Roland Grimm, Ricky Hartman, John Hunter, Keith Kruger and Mark Polumbo for their work on solving a theft from a home that happened on Jan. 17, 2014. An award was given to Kevin Johnson for serving as the HEAT coordinator. Matthew Byrum, Justin Cote, Donald Reid, Vanessa Smith and Robert Williams were given the award for their work on a prostitution sting in April 2013 that resulted in 12 arrests. This was the first prostitution sting set up by the police department using the internet and social media. A second Excellent Police Duty award was given to Kevin Johnson for his actions on May 2, 2014. A intoxicated and mentally ill man was threatening to jump from a two-story garage. Johnson used his skills as an instructor in Critical Intervention Techniques to build trust and de-escalate the dangerous situation.
Keohane stressed the importance of the CIT training and said this is the fourth time it potentially saved someone’s life.
Unit Citations went to B Platoon Second Squad: David Hirn, David Lyons, Christopher Pisarek, Anthony Puley, Christopher Shapiro, Megan Shelton and Vanessa Smith. They increased their squad’s statistics by almost double for the first part of 2014. The Criminal Investigation Unit also received a Unit Citation. It included Roland Grimm, Ricky Hartman, Mike Parsio and Mark Polumbo. On March 15, 2014, they responded to a shooting in the parking lot of the Dollar General Store and talked to witnesses to get a suspect. On March 16, they responded to another business for a second shooting and made an arrest. A Platoon Second Squad was also recognized. They were Jacquita Allen, Paul Intravia, David Lyons, Derrick McGill, Song Pak, Daniel Pisarek, Mark Polumbo, Sean Spencer and Robert Williams. On April 20, 2014, officers arrested two suspects in a break-in at a business.
A Meritorious Service Award was awarded to Ricky Hartman for investigating a counterfeit check ring from January to February 2014. Seven people were passing fraudulent checks throughout Hopewell and surrounding areas. Keohane said the case involved crimes in five jurisdictions. A Meritorious Service Award was also given to Richard Wade for running the department’s Explorer program since 2008. Keohane said Wade used money out of his own pocket to help with the youth program.
A Life-saving Award was given to Detective Roland Grimm. On Dec. 27, 2013, Grimm encountered a man with a knife in a parking lot who began threatening him. Grimm began talking with him and the man even advanced at him. Grimm eventually convinced the man to put the weapon down and he was taken into custody.
Following the awards, a special presentation was made to Ricky Hartman, who retired after serving 28 years with the department.
“This was a lifelong dream of mine, to fulfill a childhood dream to become a police officer. … I was fortunate enough to do it all in one city,” Hartman said.