On Monday, November 5th, Mayor Steve Bach and his wife Suzi attended the 27th Annual Colorado Springs Police Department Medal of Valor Luncheon. The Mayor congratulated the 20 honorees and thanked them for their bravery, courage and service. “The CSPD is home to some of the finest officers and civilian staff in the nation. Your level of professionalism, dedication, discipline, and ethics allows the Department to stand out,” said the Mayor. Please join Mayor Bach and Suzi in congratulating the sixteen officers awarded the Medal of Valor and the four officers who earned the Distinguished Service Award.
Medal of Valor : Awarded for extraordinary heroism at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, the recipient demonstrating courage through voluntary actions in an extremely dangerous situation.
Distinguished Service Award: Awarded to any police officer or City Marshal who, in the performance of normal duties, is faced with imminent risk of serious bodily injury, and who displays courage in carrying out the necessary action to contain the situation.
Medal of Valor
Sergeant David Gilman
Officer Matthew Davis
Officer Richard Hallman
Officer Dale Peterson
Officer Geraldine Pring
On July 27, 2011, officers responded to a domestic violence incident. Upon arriving on scene, the officers were informed that the suspect had made several verbal threats to kill his girlfriend. The officers observed the suspect in the parking lot carrying a large, black handgun in his right hand. The suspect saw the officers approaching and ran into his apartment. Officers immediately moved to positions of cover and gave verbal commands to the suspect who had now also armed himself with a large kitchen knife as well as the handgun. The suspect approached a large bedroom window and continued making statements that he would kill his girlfriend. When the suspect raised his handgun in the direction of the officers, placing them in imminent risk, he was shot by officers and fell to the floor inside the apartment. After officers secured the suspect, medical arrived to begin treating him. The officers are recognized for their professionalism and courage when faced with an imminent threat as well as for taking appropriate action to contain the situation.
Medal of Valor
Officer Mark Keller (K-9 Officer)
Officer Chris Mace
Officer Carlos Sandoval
Officer Marcus Van Ooyen
Officer Robert Wolf
Officer Jim Carson
Officer Dale Lucky
Officer Jason Ragland
Officer Joe Richardson
Officer Paul Vandel
Officer Juergen Parks
Distinguished Service Award
Sgt. Angelo Butierres
Sgt. Roger Vargason
Officer Brian Kelly (K-9 Officer)
On February 28, 2012, the Police Department was notified of an armed man that had entered a local clinic and was holding hostages and threatening to kill people and then kill himself. The suspect threatened several employees and patients with a handgun and positioned himself near the reception desk, holding two female employee’s hostage. The suspect was armed with a semi-automatic handgun with several fully loaded magazines readily available to him.
Initial responding officers, Joseph Richardson, Dale Lucky, Paul Vandel, Jim Carson, Jason Ragland, Brian Kelly and Sergeant Butierres immediately entered the clinic within minutes of the first call. They were directed to the reception area where the suspect was located. Officers heard the suspect making threats that he was going to shoot people so they moved to that location to confine the suspect in a corner behind the reception desk. Officer Dale Lucky began negotiating with the suspect in an attempt to persuade him to let the hostages go unharmed. The suspect told officers to “put their guns away” and that “he was not playing”. Officers Richardson, Lucky, Vandel, Carson, Ragland, Kelly and Sergeant Butierres maintained their position, despite the suspect knowing and seeing where they were at, in order to safely rescue the hostages and prevent the suspect from escaping.
Other officers assisted with the evacuation of the remaining patients and employees. Due to the layout of the clinic, the suspect, if not properly and tactically contained, could have moved about to different locations throughout the clinic, putting more people at risk.
Members of the Tactical Enforcement Unit, Officers Christopher Mace, Carlos Sandoval, Marcus Van Ooyen and Robert Wolf and K-9 Officer Mark Keller entered the clinic and relieved the initial responding officers. Officer Lucky remained in his position to continue to communicate with the suspect.
While maintaining their positions in order to keep the suspect from escaping or hurting innocent people, information was obtained that four additional females were hiding in a file room, approximately 20 feet away from the suspect. Due to the layout, tactical officers were unable to safely evacuate the four additional hostages. Officers were positioned for crisis entry should the suspect determine the location of the four hidden hostages.
One of the four hidden hostages was in contact with command post and relaying information that was then communicated to the tactical unit. However, the elderly female hostage was very scared and agitated and expressed serious concern that she wouldn’t be able to remain calm much longer due to a medical condition.
Based on the demeanor of the suspect and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the elderly female hostage, the decision was made to affect a crisis entry to remove the hostages from the file room.
Officers Wolf, Van Ooyen, Sandoval and Keller made a movement towards the hostages while Officer Mace provided cover. Sergeant of the unit, Ron Sheppard directed other TEU members to distract the suspect while the rescue officers made their movement. During this time, the suspect saw and heard what was going on and immediately turned, armed with his handgun in the direction of where the rescue was taking place. Seeing this, Officer Mace gave the suspect an order to stop, however the suspect failed to comply at which time he fired his weapon, striking the suspect and stopping his aggressive action towards the officers and the hostages. As soon as the shots were fired, the other tactical officers moved in quickly in order to stop and secure the suspect so that the hostages could be extracted from the clinic safely.
From the initial response by the first responders, officers immediately entered a hostile and tense situation, located the suspect and did not give up ground and kept the suspect isolated to a small portion of the clinic which gave the police a significant tactical advantage. The subsequent response from TEU officers ensured the safety of the four remaining hostages. When the decision was made to affect a crisis entry to save the four hostages, the Tactical Officers moved quickly and were able to extract all the hostages without any injuries to officers or the hostages.
Distinguished Service Award
Officer Kyle Vanderlinden
On July 20, 2011, Officer Kyle Vanderlinden responded to assist other officers with a domestic violence call. Officers learned the suspect had multiple felony warrants and had eluded officers over the previous two days. Officers conducted surveillance on the residence and moved the victim to a neighbor’s residence. At approximately 12:38 a.m. on July 21st, officers observed three vehicles enter the area. The lead vehicle was believed to be the suspect’s vehicle. Officer Vanderlinden observed the suspect lean out the passenger window of the vehicle and fire a handgun at two separate residences, one of which was the victim’s residence. Officer Vanderlinden immediately pulled out behind the suspect vehicle and attempted to stop him. A short pursuit ensued, and the suspect vehicle came to a stop with the suspect running from the vehicle. Officer Vanderlinden immediately engaged in a foot pursuit with the suspect and chased him several blocks through back yards and over fences. Officer Vanderlinden was able to catch up to the suspect and deployed his Taser, taking the suspect into custody. Officer Vanderlinden is recognized for his professionalism and courage when faced with an imminent threat and for taking appropriate action to contain the situation.
In a separate ceremony on Wednesday, November 7th, Glen Florea was presented the Citizen’s Medal of Distinction by Police Chief Pete Carey. Congratulations to Mr. Florea.