Last week, a dozen members of the North Kingstown Police Department received departmental commendations for doing what they might say is all in a day's work.
But for the average citizen, their actions, which include stopping two suicides, pulling victims from burning car wrecks and tracking down burglars with solid, old fashioned police work, are nothing short of remarkable.
The commendations reflect police responses to incidents since January of 2013, beginning with Officer Anthony Pelloni, who witnessed a person get out of a car parked on a side street behind the 7 Eleven on Post Road.
That person appeared to match an earlier description of a suspect from previous robberies and sure enough, he robbed the store by passing a note to the clerk. Though the suspect wasn't arrested that night, Pelloni confronted the suspect who fled on foot and thanks to his actions, police soon arrested 30-year-old Robert Greer Jr. and an accomplice for a string of robberies in the area.
On June 15 of 2013, Officer Timothy Daly and Det. Amanda Bodette responded to the area of McConnell Court for a report of a suicidal male.
They went into the woods and soon found a 20-year-old man with a blanket tied to his neck and the other end tied to a tree. He was pale, confused and "seemed moments away from being unconscious," Police Chief Thomas J. Mulligan said in a release.
They removed the ligature and rescuers were able to arrive and transport the man to Kent County Hospital.
On Aug. 19, Officer Travis Maiato was off duty but still in his uniform when he saw a person being chased from the Post Road 7 Eleven on foot.
The person got in a car and took off and Maiato, suspecting a robbery might have just happened, radioed to dispatch and kept visual contact. Police soon were able to catch up, pull the car over and soon had two shoplifting suspects in custody. Police later learned that they had suspects who were suspected of tampering and stealing from cars in North Kingstown and East Greenwich.
Eleven days later, Officer Andrew Greenhalgh was investigating a house break and the resident gave police surveillance video. There had been a rash of B&Es during this time period and Greenhalgh, using the surveillance footage and information from prior reports, was able to compile a list of suspects.
Greenhalgh then checked each suspect against surveillance footage and soon was able to identify the suspect as 40-year-old Joseph Ricci who later was arrested and charged with breaking and entering.
On Dec. 19, Officer Todd Duchaia, Officer Timothy Daly and Sgt. John Urban responded to the intersection of Essex and Potter Roads for a report of a crash.
They came upon a horrible scene. An 18-year-old was pinned inside after crashing into a tree. The car was fully engulfed and the victim was pleading with officers to help.
Sgt. Urban used a window punch, smashed the window and all three were able to pull the 18-year-old out of the car. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital and treated for his injuries.
And those three officers could not have saved that young person's life without the help of Sara Sears, dispatcher, whose steadiness under pressure also earned her a commendation.
She got the 911 call from a frantic woman reporting the accident. The caller said the car was on fire and someone was trapped. Sears responded "in a calm fashion during a 30 second time frame to gather all pertinent information" Mulligan said. That allowed first responders to get to the scene quickly, arriving "only moments after."
On Feb. 13 of this year, Officer Gregory Miga and Sgt. Joel Mulligan were responding to a report of a possibly suicidal male.
Miga followed up on several leads to try and ascertain the person's whereabouts, soon learning he might be in East Greenwich.
After contacting EGPD to get some help, Miga and Mulligan saw a person on the Route 2 overpass directly over Route 4. When the person saw the patrol car, he ran to the railing, standing at the edge "appearing as though he was going to jump off."
Mulligan and Miga kept calm and asked the man to move away, but he stayed close to the edge. It was then that they took decisive action and pulled him to safety.
Police later learned that the person was a victim of domestic violence and was involved in an incident earlier that night, "which may have contributed to his choice of action," Mulligan said.
Finally, just last month, Officer Kevin Gleason completed an internal security audit and NCIC Assessment Audit. The department earned high marks and it's thank in no small part to Gleason's "dedicated and professional performance" in preparing the audits and "the work and preparations completed by Officer Gleason can be directly attributed to the Police Department's overall performance in this matter," Mulligan said.
The above-mentioned acts are "just a small portion of the great work completed on a regular basis by all the members of the North Kingstown Police Department, both sworn and civilian," Mulligan said. "I can't adequately express the respect and gratitude I have for their dedication, service and response in answering the calls for service to our community."