Officers receive the 'Police Star,' for confronting armed suspect

By Tony E. Windsor

For the first time in 18 years, during the annual Seaford Police Department Awards Ceremony, four Seaford officers were awarded the "Police Star," one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on an officer. The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Nanticoke Senior Center. Police Chief Gary Morris presented Sgt. Joe Bowen, Cpl. Steven Flood, Cpl. Kyle Linville and Pfc. Will Saylor with the honors related to an incident involving an armed gunman. Also honored with "Exceptional Duty" awards in connection with the incident were emergency dispatchers, Mike Short and Dwayne Groton.

The "Police Star" awards stem from an incident that occurred on North Street, Seaford, on Sept. 14, 2012, when officers responded to a report of shots being fired. While heading to the complaint location officers were given information by SPD emergency dispatchers about the vehicle that was fleeing the scene.

Officers observed the vehicle on Third Street and formed a tight perimeter around the vehicle and a local residence.

A man armed with a 38-caliber handgun came out of the residence and fled. As he ran between houses he pointed the gun at police who responded by firing several rounds at the man.

This caused the man to run in a different direction and to discard the gun. As he rounded a residence he was confronted by several police officers who immediately took him into custody.

As Chief Morris presented each of the officers with the Police Star awards, Capt. Gary Flood acknowledged the expertise used by the officers during the carrying out of their duties. "During the incident there were no injuries to officers, suspects or civilians," he said. "During the initial response and subsequent apprehension of the suspect these officers demonstrated courage, restraint and professionalism. It was only due to the training and tactics used by these officers and the quick response to the threat that prevented serious injuries."

Flood also lauded the actions of the emergency dispatchers who contributed to the relaying of crucial information during the incident. "The Seaford 911 dispatchers who were on duty worked diligently throughout the incident to provide useful information to officers greatly assisting in the safe apprehension of the suspects; all while making numerous calls for assistance and to administration."

Also, recognized during the awards ceremony were three officers who were presented a "Commendation Award Unit Citation" for their role in apprehending a man who assaulted a clerk during a robbery at an area liquor store. The incident occurred on Sept. 26, 2012, when officers responded to a robbery alarm and found that a female store clerk had been beaten and strangled.

The suspect fled the scene but officers found him hiding in a nearby wooded area. He was taken back to the store and positively identified as the perpetrator. The officers awarded were Cpl. Toby Laurion, Pfc. Jim Bachman and Sgt. Tommy Lecates.

Four police officers were presented "Exceptional Duty Award Unit Citations" for their efforts in apprehending a shooting suspect. Police say on March 2, 2012, a police officer on patrol observed a man who he recognized as a suspect in an earlier shooting incident. He also knew the man was wanted on additional warrants. As the officer attempted to take the man into custody he fled starting a lengthy foot pursuit.

The chase involved additional officers and started in East Seaford and continued down Norman Eskridge Highway and ended along U.S. 13-A. There was a physical confrontation between the suspect and police, but he was taken into custody.

Presented awards for their role in apprehending the suspect were Sgt. Joe Bowen, Cpl. Steve Flood, Cpl. Kyle Linville and Pfc. Will Saylor.

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