Police officers from Mass. honored for their bravery at the annual Private George L. Hanna Memorial Awards


This movement gained momentum last year amid widespread protests over the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“We think police funding is a very bad idea,” Baker, a centrist Republican, told the crowd. “But that said, we do believe there are things we can do with our colleagues in city government, our friends and neighbors, and our community organizations to improve the quality of law enforcement here in Massachusetts. . “

Baker said he is confident that Massachusetts Police will meet the challenges law enforcement currently faces and said he has seen with his own eyes “how well you do it” every day.

“I have no doubt that here in Massachusetts the public safety and law enforcement community will live up to the occasion,” Baker said, adding that “we appreciate, our friends and our neighbors appreciate, what you do every day here in the Commonwealth. “

On Thursday, the Hanna Medal of Honor recipients were Boston Police Officers William Hull and Mark Whalen, as well as State Police Officer Stephen M. Torosian.

The recipients of the Hanna Medal of Valor were State Police Soldiers Peter R. Towle, Michael W. Palmer, and John J. Lennon; Mansfield Police Sgt. Christopher H. Baker and Constable David J. Schepis; Braintree Officer Stephen T. Wallace, Jr.; Pepperell Police Sergeant Nick L. Parker and Constable Justin D. Zink; and Westborough Police Sgt. Jonathan Kalagher.

The Medal of Honor, officials said, is the highest honor bestowed on officers displaying extraordinary bravery and courage in the face of extreme risk and “certain and imminent danger” to life or death. ‘physical integrity. The Medal of Valor, officials said, goes to those whose actions in a single episode exceeded expectations of duty.

Hull and Whalen received the highest honor for their heartbreaking work in early February 22, 2019, when they spotted a man slumped over a wheel in a pickup truck on Southampton Street in Boston, according to a statement from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

When officers approached the van and knocked on the window, the man woke up and presented his driver’s license, allowing officers to return to their patrol car to perform a background check.

Hull and Whalen learned that the man had recently been convicted of illegal possession of firearms, and Hull noticed as the encounter continued that the man had his right hand hidden in his coat pocket, according to the communicated. Hull told the man to withdraw his hand, but he did not comply.

Hull then ordered him to slowly get out of the van, but the driver again refused, the statement said. Hull grabbed the man by the left hand, and the man eventually pulled out a gun and fired a shot, the statement said.

“Constable Hull immediately fired several bullets at the man while seeking cover from Constable Whalen,” the statement read, adding that the man accelerated and crashed into the vehicle after several blocks. . The driver was declared “non-viable” at the scene, officials said.

“Police found a gun at his feet which, according to a forensic examination, had been disabled when hit by a bullet fired by Officer Hull,” the statement said. “However, their initiative to arrest the suspect may well have spared an innocent victim the violence these officers faced. Their act of heroism in the face of grave danger to themselves and to others demonstrated exceptional commitment. to uphold the law and protect the safety and security of the citizens of this Commonwealth. ”

Torosian, officials said, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on December 12, 2019, while working on Interstate 495 in Amesbury, when a masked male suspect attended the scene of the construction, got out of his vehicle and approached the soldier. cruiser.

“Without any warning, the suspect opened the door of the cruiser and stabbed Private Torosian several times, resulting in multiple lacerations to Private Torosian’s left arm,” the statement read. “Private Torosian was able to fire a bullet from his departmental firearm, once hitting the unknown assailant in the chest and stopping the violent assault. The assailant fell to the ground in the right-hand lane, and Private Torosian tore the knife from the assailant’s grip.

Another soldier who responded subsequently took the suspect into custody, providing first aid to him and Torosian.

“Despite potentially debilitating injuries and his poor sitting position in his cruiser, Private Torosian fought back and quickly ended the threat,” the statement said. “His immediate actions most likely saved his life and those of the unsuspecting construction crew working only yards away.”

Relatives of Hanna and late Worcester police officer Emanuel “Manny” Familia, who drowned in June 2021 while trying to rescue a distressed teenager at a local pond, were also honored at Thursday’s ceremony. as special guests.

Baker congratulated all of the winners in the statement released by state public safety officials.

“These awards recognize police officers who have demonstrated remarkable heroism in the face of extreme danger,” said Baker. “Their swift and decisive actions demonstrated extraordinary courage and a deep commitment to helping others, no matter the risk to themselves. Today’s recipients continue the legacy of Private George Hanna, demonstrating exceptional police work based on the value of selfless service.

His comments were echoed in the statement by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of State for Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy.

“Emergency responders, including courageous members of our law enforcement community, have demonstrated their extraordinary commitment to our residents and communities over the past 20 months,” Polito said. “Today’s Hanna Awards remind us that during the most difficult days of the pandemic, the police continued to use their training, skills and expertise to protect us. We owe them and their families our respect and gratitude for all they do.

Said Reidy, who read the accounts of the winners’ heroic deeds at Thursday’s ceremony: “Today’s Hanna Award recipients have distinguished themselves with extraordinary bravery, deserving our appreciation and admiration. Their poignant stories are a profound reminder of the deadly dangers police face with every call. “

Reidy said officials also honor “the memory of our fallen policemen like Private Hanna and my friend, Worcester policeman Manny Familia, who made the ultimate sacrifice for those they swore to protect.”

The Hanna Awards, named after Private Hanna who was killed in the line of duty in 1983, have been awarded to 142 law enforcement personnel since their inception, the statement said.


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