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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Police Department’s Leadership Council hosted an awards ceremony Friday, April 6, at the Springfield Regional Police and Fire Training Center. Staff and citizens were commended for their service, and in some cases, their bravery and extraordinary actions.
This is awarded to department personnel who distinguish themselves by a single act or series of actions that impact the community in a positive manner, or significantly improve the ability of the SPD to fulfill its mission. Actions must be creditable, show intelligent and determined effort beyond reasonably expected job performance and must produce documentable results.
Detective Richard Mansel
On May 10, 2017, Det. Richard Mansel was assigned the follow-up of a stolen motorcycle for which a subject had been arrested. Based on his interview with the suspect, Det. Mansel developed additional suspects and locations where probable stolen property was being kept. Through his diligence, Det. Mansel obtained and served search warrants at two locations in Springfield. The investigation spanned the theft of property from four jurisdictions and included the recovery of one stolen truck, 13 stolen motorcycles, one stolen ATV, 13 guns (eight were confirmed stolen) and various pieces of stolen industrial equipment. Det. Mansel not only presented charges on four suspects in the case but was able to return property—valued at over $100,000—to local victims.
Det. Daniel Rankey
On Oct. 12, 2017, Det. Rankey was assigned a case that had been classified as a property damage. Det. Rankey closely examined the information he had been presented and recognized the extent of the problem went well beyond just one single criminal act. Det. Rankey established probable cause that indicated four men were responsible for three felony and over 71 misdemeanor incidents of property damage that began in July 2017 and concluded in September 2017. The property damage in each case consisted of both fixed and non-fixed property being shot with a BB and/or pellet gun and a total of $16,873.96 in damage had occurred.
Sergeant Chris Snipes
On Jan. 26, 2015, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Sgt. Chris Snipes was informed that the Special Response Team was requested to search for the person responsible for shooting Officer Aaron Pearson. Sgt. Snipes notified all SRT personnel and was one of the first SRT officers on scene. He quickly formulated a plan on how to conduct a coordinated search for the suspect. This was a rapidly evolving situation with several officers involved from our agency as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. As a newly promoted supervisor in 2015, this was an emotionally charged and complex operation for Sgt. Snipes. During the entire search, he remained calm and effectively led a coordinated search which led to the arrest of the suspect.
Citizen Service Commendation
This award is presented to any citizen who, through a single act, provided assistance to the Springfield Police Department. The act must have been related to the overall law enforcement objectives of this department.
During the late hours of Jan. 29, 2017, and the early morning hours of Jan. 20, 2017, three suspects were involved in several home invasion robberies. Mr. Patrick Murphy interrupted a burglary in progress. Murphy heard dogs barking and then a window breaking. Murphy encountered two suspects who were at a neighbor’s house. He verbally engaged the suspects as he held them at gunpoint. One of the suspects then pointed a firearm at Murphy and threatened him. Murphy elected not to engage the suspects in a gunfight and returned to his residence to call 911 when he was able to provide dispatchers with detailed suspect descriptions and a vehicle license plate number.
Springfield officers located the vehicle and arrested the three suspects. If not for Murphy’s interruption of the burglary and his call to 911, the suspects likely would have escaped. Due to Murphy’s willingness to assist in keeping the community safe, law enforcement officers linked the three suspects to multiple home invasion robberies.
Meritorious Service Award
This is awarded to department personnel who, in the protection of life or furtherance of justice, exhibit conduct which is exceptional.
Officer Brandon Greathouse and Officer Caitlin Phoenix
On March 23, 2017, Officer Brandon Greathouse was riding with field training officer, Caitlin Phoenix, for a shift of training focused on traffic stops and accident investigations. During the shift, he initiated a traffic stop regarding a speeding violation that occurred on Chestnut Expressway. The suspect vehicle led them into a residential area before finally coming to a stop. This truck, unknown to the officers, was stolen and the occupant was armed with a handgun. Shortly after both officers exited the patrol car and began approaching the suspect vehicle, the truck accelerated from the scene and eight rounds were fired from inside the truck, through the back window and towards the officers. Both officers sought cover by retreating to the patrol car. The patrol car was struck several times by gunfire.
Officer Phoenix was struck by several pieces of shrapnel from the bullets and/or the patrol car. Officers Greathouse and Phoenix provided radio traffic concerning the incident, updating dispatch and other officers. The officers checked on each other and several citizens in the area, ensuring no one was injured. Officers Greathouse and Phoenix recognized that the fleeing suspect/vehicle, for numerous reasons, was not a safe or engageable target. They exhibited courage and bravery by remaining calm and focused on the appropriate tasks at hand.
Officer Nicolas York
On Sept. 12, 2017, Officer Nicolas York was dispatched to a burglary in progress at 3041 W. Olive. An intoxicated subject was reported to be actively chasing people with an axe. Approximately 10 seconds after hearing this information, Officer York advised he was on scene. During the next 30 seconds, Officer York learned from the resident that the suspect had not only burglarized the home, but he had also physically assaulted an adult and a juvenile after the burglary and then grabbed an axe and chased the victims in the yard. The victims advised that the suspect had retreated into his residence next door and there was an infant inside the home. Officer York attempted to make contact with the suspect at the front door, but the victims stated he may have exited out the back. As Officer York made his way toward the back, the suspect opened the front door. The suspect refused to exit the residence and Officer York still believed the suspect was armed at this point while home alone with an infant. Fearing the infant was in imminent danger, Officer York forced the door open when the suspect tried to shut it. The suspect attempted to strike Officer York with his fist, but Officer York was able to counter the strike with a defensive kick to the suspect’s torso. Officer York then took the suspect into custody with the assistance of backup officers who arrived shortly thereafter. Officer York demonstrated sound judgment, bravery, protection of life and the furtherance of justice by placing the innocent infant’s safety above his own.
Life Saving Award
This award is presented to department personnel who personally save a life, normally involving one of the learned life supporting processes outside of routine measures.
Corporal Jason Trusler
On May 9, 2017, (then) Officer Jason Trusler was on his way home after completing his tour of duty when he came upon a traffic crash at 2935 W. Chestnut Expressway. The crash involved a passenger car and motorcycle. Officer Trusler advised dispatch of the incident while checking on the condition of the individuals involved. The motorcyclist was seriously injured with a compound fracture of his leg that was bleeding heavily. Officer Trusler quickly assessed the male’s condition and realized that the injury was life threatening. As other motorists stopped to assist, Officer Trusler advised that he was going to get a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and another motorist offered his wide leather belt that he was wearing. This was applied to the injured motorcyclist’s leg which slowed the bleeding until EMS arrived. The motorcyclist’s attending physician advised that Officer Trusler’s action of placing a tourniquet likely saved the victim’s life and significantly improved his chances for an improved outcome.
Officer Jacob Boomgaarden and Officer Christopher Laughlin
On Oct. 1, 2017, Officer Jacob Boomgaarden and Officer Christopher Laughlin both attended a Chereoakie Neighborhood Watch annual block party. While speaking with attendees, Ms. Phyllis Gilliland grabbed Officer Boomgaarden’s arm and made hand signals implying that she was choking. Officer Boomgaarden administered 3-4 applications of the Heimlich maneuver to no effect. Officer Chris Laughlin then attempted to deliver 3-4 applications of the Heimlich maneuver and successfully cleared her airway. Gilliland had swallowed a grape that had blocked her airway. She also stated that she has chronic bronchitis for which she uses an inhaler. Officer Boomgaarden left the party and went to Gilliland’s home to retrieve her inhaler. She used her inhaler to further open her airway and required no further medical treatment.
Officer Jennifer Wright
On May 23, 2017, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Officer Jennifer Wright was dispatched to 2832 S. Glenstone in reference to an unresponsive person. Officer Wright arrived quickly and determined the subject had no pulse and was not breathing. Officer Wright immediately began administering first aid to the subject and continued until the subject regained a pulse and began breathing on their own. EMS arrived shortly thereafter. An EMS supervisor stated, “By performing CPR, Officer Wright without a doubt contributed to the positive outcome of the patient.”
Photos are available upon request.
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Media Contact: Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer 417-864-1786 LCox@springfieldmo.gov