MPD Merit Awards honor officers, citizens for acts of bravery
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Police Department honored officers and citizens who have gone above and beyond at their Merit Awards Program Tuesday.
"Tonight’s special for two reasons," said Chief Alfonso Morales. "We have to recognize the men and women from the Milwaukee Police Department, but we wanted to do more of this time was recognize citizens who have stepped forward to really help our city be safe."
Officers and citizens from each police district were recognized. CBS 58's Amanda Porterfield emceed the event.
Officers Richard Gordy and Kelton McCowan received a rescue award for helping rescue a 22-year-old woman who was sitting on the 8th floor ledge of a building and threatened to jump.
The Milwaukee Police Department shared on their Facebook page the story of Officers Brian Laroque and Jacob Roecker who helped save a man who was not breathing and did not have a pulse on the platform of a street car stop. He had suffered a heart attack.
The department also recognized Officers John Kohler and Sean Koscielak and Special Agent Zachary Hoalcraft for their work tracking down a suspect who had scammed a family out of $260,000, and helping get part of that money back.
Officer Paul Helminiak received the Meritorious Service Award for tracking down a suspect who confessed to the theft of a motorbike, and several unsolved thefts and robberies.
In District Two, Police Officer Kevin Vodicka received a Lifesaving Award for helping another officer as she was choking.
Officer Joseph Lanza was recognized for stopping a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle wanted in a shooting. A gun was found in the vehicle that was linked to that shooting and three other incidents.
Two citizens in District Two received a Meritorious Conduct Award for apprehending someone who had been in a crash and police chase. In doing so, that led to the identification of several more people involved in multiple stolen vehicles and gun offenses.
Another citizen was recognized for calling in a suspect who had broken into a closed business. Officers responded and identified that suspect as someone wanted in two additional burglaries.
A Certificate of Appreciation was given to three people who were inside their home when they heard children screaming from inside a vehicle. As they looked closer, they noticed a male and woman unconscious inside. They called 911 and brought the children into their home to comfort them. The man and woman were transported to a hospital and treated for an opiate overdose. "Their quick thinking adn decisive actions saved the lives of the two citizens," the awards program said.
In District Three, Officer Michael Weiland received the Lifesaving Award. While off duty, he was driving when he saw a man in a vehicle who appeared to be unconscious. He removed the person from the vehicle and began CPR and continued to monitor him until medical attention arrived.
The Meritorious Service Award was given to Sgt. Joshua Albert. He was chasing a stolen, reckless vehicle that crashed and hit another vehicle, trapping a woman inside. That person's vehicle leaked fluid and a fire ignited underneath it. He tried to break the windows, but could not get the person from the vehicle. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher and kept the flames down long enough for the Milwaukee Fire Department to arrive.
Officers Michael Braunreiter and Officer Jamar Lucky were recognized for there work while they were on patrol and heard multiple gunshots. The drove toward a gun fight between three people. Officer Braunreiter saw someone walking down the street with an AK-47 and ordered them to drop it. They did and were taken into custody. Simultaneously, Officer Lucky saw someone walking down the street with a handgun in each hand. He ordered that person to drop the weapons. The person put the gun down on the trunk of a vehicle and surrendered. A third person was found with several gunshot wounds to his upper torso.
"Officer Braunreiter and Officer Lucky, without regard for their safety, intervened during a gun battle. They disarmed the dangerous suspects and placed them into custody without the use of deadly force. Their quick response and extreme bravery prevented additional injury or death to the citizens in the area," the ceremony program said.
Officer Adam Stahl received the Meritorious Service Award for preventing a man from jumping out a window.
The Excellence in Police Service Award was given to Officers John Mukansky and Dennis Ryan for reducing prostitution and drug dealing in the Lisbon Avenue Corridor.
In District Four, Officer Dale Staszewski received the Meritorious Service Award for helping a suicidal woman who had a knife to her throat. He listened and talked with her until she agreed to put the knife down.
A Certification of Appreciation went to a woman who observed three juveniles burglarizing a home in her neighborhood. She called 911 and took pictures. Officers were able to arrest them. It was determined they had committed other burglaries, allowing for property to be returned to several victims.
In District Five, Officer Nicolas Romeo received the Purple Valor Star Award and Officers Chad Boyack, Mark Dillman, Anthony Milone and Robert Ruth received the Lifesaving Award.
On July 30, Officer Dillman and Romeo were chasing a reckless vehicle that matched the description of a car wanted for robbery. The chase ended when the suspect's car crashed into several cars. Two kids were hurt and so was Romeo, when he was hit by a responding squad as he got out of his.
He as thrown approximately 50 feet before landing in the road. Officer Boyack called for medical attention and secured Romeo's head to protect him. He also tried to comfort and communicate with him. Officer Dillman and Officer Milone performed chest compressions on his "lifeless body."
Officer Ruth got medical supplies and started rescue breaths for Romeo, until the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived.
They got his heart beating, he began breathing on his own and regained consciousness.
"Upon arrival to the hospital and with no consideration for himself, Officer Romeo inquired about the well being of the citizens involved in the collision, the fleeing suspects and other fellow officers," the program said.
Romeo suffered broken ribs, numerous compound fractures to the right leg and spinal damage. He is back to work.
Officer Robert Roembke was also given a Lifesaving Award for administering Narcan while he was off-duty to a man in a parking lot of a restaurant who did not have a pulse and was not breathing. The person survived.
The Meritorious Service Award was given to Officer Ismar Kulenovic. While at the station, he saw a man in the parking lot slashing tires of numerous squad cars with a knife. The man ignored his commands to drop the knife and came towards Officer Kulenovic. He used his taser to stop the man.
A couple was also recognized for helping a firefighter who was struggling in the water with someone who was suicidal. The couple was on their boat and approached the two, trying to get them out of the water. Unable to get them out of the water, they went to the shoreline to get an extra firefighter, and were eventually able to get them out of the water.
"Their selfless actions were instrumental in saving the life of a citizen in crisis and prevented injury to personnel from the Milwaukee Fire Department," the program said.
In District Six, Officers Nathan Grap and Charles Jumes were given the Lifesaving Award for saving a man who was unconscious and not breathing after overdosing.
Officer Emeterio Gutierrez received the Meritorious Service Award for tracing down a stolen $50,000 Caterpillar Track Loader that was reported stolen from a construction site. A suspect was also arrested.
Officer Robert Roach also received a Meritorious Service Award after chasing and arresting a suspect who was wanted for two gas station robberies.
"Officer Roach displayed extreme bravery and courage as he solely pursued and apprehended the suspect," the program said.
Officer Balbir Mahay received an Excellence in Police Service Award for collecting tens of thousands of dollars for the families of injured and fallen Milwaukee Police Department.
A woman was given a Certificate of Appreciation after seeing an unattended two-year-old child out her front window and running to get her. This was happening as a report of a missing young child was broadcasted over the radio. The officers were able to reunite the lost child with his parents.
The full stories and remaining awards can be viewed below.