Grosse Pointe City acknowledges top lifesaving, crime-fighting efforts of last year

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 9, 2019

 From left, Joseph Brennan’s young daughter, Elizabeth, races up to hug her dad as he presents awards to Grosse Pointe City Public Safety officers Kenneth Ayres and Jacob Carpenter, who saved the father’s life last year. The officers were honored during a ceremony March 18 at the Neighborhood Club.

From left, Joseph Brennan’s young daughter, Elizabeth, races up to hug her dad as he presents awards to Grosse Pointe City Public Safety officers Kenneth Ayres and Jacob Carpenter, who saved the father’s life last year. The officers were honored during a ceremony March 18 at the Neighborhood Club.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

 From left, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni and Mayor Christopher Boettcher prepare to present Detective Sgt. Joe Adams with his award for Officer of the Year for 2018.

From left, Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni and Mayor Christopher Boettcher prepare to present Detective Sgt. Joe Adams with his award for Officer of the Year for 2018.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

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GROSSE POINTE CITY — From saving lives to solving crimes, Grosse Pointe City’s Public Safety Department had a lot to be proud of in 2018.

Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni presented officers with awards for going above and beyond the call of duty at a ceremony that took place during a March 18 Grosse Pointe City Council meeting at the Neighborhood Club.

“I’m looking forward to acknowledging all of the fine service that they’ve given over the past year,” Mayor Christopher Boettcher said before the awards were distributed.

“I couldn’t be any prouder,” Poloni said of his officers. “They put their lives on the line every single day they come to work. They never know what they’re going to encounter.”

Receiving Officer of the Year was Detective Sgt. Joe Adams. Adams served as a command officer, helmed “numerous complex investigations that resulted in prosecution and convictions,” kept public safety vehicles in good working order as the vehicle maintenance officer, and served as the department’s information technology officer, Poloni said. He regularly comes in early and stays late and works from home on days off, the director added.

“There were several officers that did a tremendous job … but at the end of the day,” Poloni said that he and others on staff decided that “Adams deserved the award.”

“His unwavering dedication to the department is unquestioned,” Poloni continued.

In one of the evening’s most moving moments, Joseph Brennan presented lifesaving awards to officers Jacob Carpenter and Kenneth Ayres. At one point, one of Brennan’s young daughters ran up to her dad and hugged him, delighting officers and attendees alike. On April 18, Ayres and Carpenter were called to the Neighborhood Club about a man — Brennan — who had passed out while exercising. The officers used an automated external defibrillator and performed CPR on Brennan until he started to breathe on his own and his pulse was restored.

“Without their immediate action, the subject’s outcome would have been much different,” Poloni said.

Another lifesaving award went to Adams and officer Christopher Saunders, who responded to a gas station on Mack Avenue May 19 on a call about a man who wasn’t breathing. Poloni said the officers used an AED and the Heimlich maneuver to save the man, who coughed up the food he had choked on. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and he recovered, Poloni said.

“The quick action of these officers certainly saved the life of this individual,” Poloni said.

A third lifesaving award was given to officers Dean Turk and Jacob Ina, who were called to the 17000 block of St. Paul Street Oct. 5 about a passenger in a taxi who was unconscious and unresponsive. Noting that the victim was turning blue, foaming at the mouth and had needle marks on his arms, the officers determined that he was suffering from a drug overdose and they administered Narcan, which revived the victim and saved his life.

Combatting a different substance abuse problem was Carpenter, who was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Michigan as the City officer with the most arrests in 2018 of motorists who were operating while intoxicated.

Adams received a departmental commendation for his work on an identity theft case in which fraudulent credit cards were being mailed to an unoccupied home in the City last summer. Adams took part in a multijurisdictional investigation that involved victims in other Pointes and a local business where an employee had accessed the personal data of customers and was using that to obtain credit cards in their names. Poloni said Adams ultimately secured arrests, charges and convictions against the people involved in this scheme.

Sgt. Michael Almeranti, Sgt. Christopher Cotzias, Lt. John Alcorn, officer Christopher Saunders and Turk were honored with departmental commendations for an Aug. 23 investigation into a home invasion and stolen vehicle in the 800 block of Notre Dame Street. The suspects were spotted in the area of Harper Avenue and Cadieux Road in Detroit but sped away from police, who lost sight of the vehicle but continued to search the area. Police spotted the vehicle again near the Cadieux Café, and five suspects got out and fled on foot; police combed the surrounding neighborhood, eventually locating and arresting all five.

While investigating a report about a suspicious person and a larceny in the 900 block of Lincoln Road Sept. 21, police tracked down a suspect who fled from them on foot into Detroit, where they set up a perimeter and brought in a Michigan State Police K-9 and other local police departments to help. The suspect was discovered and was arrested, and Poloni said “multiple larceny cases were closed” as a result. For their work on this case, Saunders, Adams, Ayres and officer Robert Saleski received departmental commendations.

Officer Michael Hergott was called to the 300 block of University Place June 8 about a suspicious person who had asked a resident for directions but was hiding something and acting nervous. Herrgott located the person, who turned around and started walking in the opposite direction when he saw the officer’s vehicle approaching. As Herrgott got out of his vehicle, he saw the suspect trying to hide something on his left side, and then Herrgott caught a glimpse of the object — it was the barrel of a shotgun. Poloni said Herrgott drew his weapon, ordered the suspect to the ground and arrested him. Police later learned that the suspect had a criminal history that included vehicle theft, home invasion and drug-related offenses. For his actions, Herrgott was given a departmental citation.

Friends, family members, residents and fellow officers were on hand for the awards presentation.

“Thank you again to all of the families who have supported these officers in their heroic efforts,” Boettcher said. “We can’t thank them enough.”

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