It was only fitting that, during National Police Week, four officers and two detectives were awarded commendations Monday night for their efforts in lifesaving and protecting the community.
Three officers - Lee Wagner, Michael Jenkins and Brian Gerrard - were commended for wrangling two armed and dangerous men at the , who were wanted for armed robbery, attempted homicide, operating a stolen vehicle and firearm violaitons throughout Luzerne County.
The trio arrested William Gronosky, 29, and Kevin Williams, 29, on April 15 inside the 7-11. The suspects had been on the run from authorities since March 15.
According to Chief Richard Brady, Gronosky and Williams were charged with the armed robbery of the Carousel Lounge strip club and burglarizing the home of a state trooper in Laflin, Luzerne County.
They got away with about $3,500 in the strip club robbery, according to The Times-Leader newspaper.
On April 15, at 3:06 a.m., Officer Wagner was on routine patrol and observed a vehicle travling north on Route 309 near North Wales Road with the driver side window smashed out.
"A registration check revealed the vehicle was a felony vehicle and the occupants armed," Brady told supervisors. "Further information revealed that the occupants were wanted for armed robbery and shooting at police."
Brady said Wagner followed the vehicle, a gold 2011 Chevy Cruze with a stolen Columbia County license plate, to the 7-11, where the occupants entered the store.
Brady said Wagner immediately called for assistance and Officers Gerard and Jenkins responded to the scene, as did several Hatfield Township officers.
"One suspect exited the store and was immediately taken into custody. The second suspect was observed in the store hiding at the entrance to the restroom," Brady said. "Officers entered the store and took the second suspect into custody without incident."
Brady said the suspects were charged for felony crimes by Pennsylvania State Police at Wyoming.
"These two individuals were wanted on March 15 for a robbery at Carousel Lounge strip club in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County. It involved a subject utilizing air pistols and they robbed an 81-year-old woman," Brady said.
One suspect then burglarized a trooper's home in Laflin Borough, Brady said. Stolen in that burglary was a department-issued Glock .45 and ammunition.
On March 25, a subject committed a home invasion on a resident in Hanover Township, Luzerne County, where electronics were stolen. Brady said that vicitm was physically disabled.
Brady said a wanted "Be On the Lookout," or BOLO, was issued on the vehicle. He said Wilkes-Barre City Police Officer Scott Hines saw the vehicle on March 26 and initiated a pursuit. Gronosky fired 13 rounds from the stolen trooper's .45 at the officers, Brady said.
The suspects eluded police, Brady said. Then, on April 13, they were spotted by state Troopre James Patton and a pursuit began. Two rounds were fired at Patton from the stolen .45, Brady said. Once again, the duo eluded police.
A day later, the car was seen in Columbia County and another statewide BOLO was issued.
Brady said the .45-caliber was recovered from the car, as was the original registration plate.
"Gronosky stated he would not go back to jail, when he had the shoot out with police," Brady said.
The massive manhunt conducted in Luzerne County involved U.S. Marshals, Wilkes-Barre City Police, Hanover Township Police, Nanticoke City Police, Laflin Borough Police and Pennsylvania State Police.
"No question that the officers here saved some lives during their law enforcement," Brady said. "An outstanding job done by Officer Wagner."
"Very impressive," said supervisors vice chairman Joe Walsh.
Brady said Jenkins is to be commended for his immediate response for an officer requesting assistance call and assisting in the arrest.
"Your professionalism and actions are in the highest tradition of Montgomery Township Police Department," Brady said.
Gerrard was the second officer in charge during the apprehension, Brady said.
"He took command of the situation, and should be commended as he coordinated and directed all officers in their actions, including the arrest of both subjects," Brady said. "As a result of his supervision in the operation, two suspects were taken into custody. Your professionalism and actions are in the highest tradition of Montgomery Township Police Department."
Gerrard was commended for another incident, along with canine Officer Daniel Rose.
This time, they both helped save the life of someone who nearly died from suicide.
Brady said that on Dec. 4, 2011, Rose and Gerrard responded to a residence on Ascot Court for a report of an attempted suicide.
"Upon arrival, officers located the patient on a couch in the living room of the residence. The patient was unresponsive, not breathing, no pulse and her lips were blue," Brady said. "The patient was not a diabetic and she had an insulin needle in her hand. She apparently injected herself with insulin."
Rose immediately began chest compressions, while Gerrard attached AED pads, Brady said. They continued CPR and shocks on the patient until the arrival of medical personnel.
The patient was escorted to Lansdale Hospital, Brady said.
"We later learned the patient survived and is doing well," he said. "As a direct result, these officers' actions and immediate response had saved the life of another. Your response and actions are in the highest tradition of Montgomery Township Police Department."
Rose, along with Detectives Ed Davies and John McGready, was commended for solving seven residential burglaries and two attempted burglaries in the township for responding to and following up on a loitering and prowling complaint.
Recommendations for awards to officers are made by sergeants to the department's Awards Review Committee. The committee, consisting of Lieutenant William Peoples, Sgt. Daniel Mitchell and Officer Ricardo De Jesus, review the recommendations against a list of criteria. Recommendations are then submitted to Brady for approval.