St. Clair Shores
Police honored for saving lives, catching criminals
St. Clair Shores Police Chief Todd Woodcox speaks at the Call to Courage breakfast honoring police put on by the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores.
Posted May 24, 2017
ST. CLAIR SHORES — With an increasing awareness of the dangers that police face every day on the job and high-profile shootings of officers close to home and across the country, the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores said that it’s more important than ever to give their thanks to the city’s officers.
“This has been a very difficult and trying year for all officers in law enforcement, especially those close to home who personally knew their police brothers, Detroit Capt. Ken Steil and Wayne State University Sgt. Collin Rose, who were killed in the line of duty this past year,” said Optimist Club President Debbie DePape at the club’s sixth annual Call to Courage breakfast May 18 honoring St. Clair Shores police.
She pointed out that in Detroit, eight police officers have been shot and/or killed over the past eight months.
“Our officers need to know that they are appreciated for their outstanding performance in the line of duty,” she said.
Police Chief Todd Woodcox said he appreciated the recognition.
“With so much negativity surrounding the profession, it’s wonderful to get together and celebrate the positive aspects of our job,” he said.
Twenty members of the St. Clair Shores Police Department were honored for their work on the job.
Woodcox spoke of how Sgt. Paul Plaza and officers Brock Bowen, Mark Stevelinck, Jeremy Moskwa, John Hammell, Adam Desmet, Thomas Murphy and Philip Ayan worked together to contain a man wandering around Jefferson Avenue, near the former St. Gertrude Church, with a gun that he eventually pointed at himself. The unit received a meritorious citation for their work, and Bowen, Moskwa and Stevelinck also received lifesaving awards for talking the man out of shooting himself while sitting in the baseball field behind the church building.
“They should be commended for their outstanding work in working together to contain a very dangerous individual ... and saving him from taking his life,” Woodcox said.
Officers Kenneth Percy, Stephen Stindt, Eric Powell, Colleen Dubois, Jessica Drulia, Glen Hartman and Gerald Chomos, plus K-9 Wylie, were honored for their work catching a man who threatened the owner of a gas station on Harper Avenue with a stolen gun and then ran away. Wylie was able to track the man to his home, and the officers worked together to secure his surrender.
“The quick thinking and coordinated team effort ... led to the safe apprehension of the suspect and a stolen firearm being removed from the streets of St. Clair Shores,” Woodcox said.
Powell was also honored with a lifesaving award for helping a girl in the parking lot of the Police Department who was choking on a large piece of gum. Officer Jessie Smith received a lifesaving award for saving the life of a 4-month-old baby who had stopped breathing.
Officers Daniel Hemond, Bowen, Chad Hammer, Desmet, Moskwa and Leif Semanision also received lifesaving awards for saving the lives of people experiencing drug overdoses in the city, something Woodcox said is necessitated by the “growing opioid epidemic.”
Using a drug called Narcan, police officers are often able to help drug users before an ambulance arrives, “simply by the fact that we are already on the streets,” Woodcox said.
He said officers of the department have saved at least a dozen individuals over the past year using the drug, but the officers honored at the May 18 breakfast saved people who “most certainly” would have died if it weren’t for the actions of the officers.
The Optimists also honored Officer Jeff Goode for his work as the South Lake Schools liaison officer.
About the author
Staff Writer Kristyne E. Demske covers St. Clair Shores and the Lake Shore, Lakeview and South Lake public schools for the Sentinel. Kristyne has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2004 and attended Michigan State University and Chippewa Valley High School.
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