YARDLEY BOROUGH >> Before a standing room only council chambers, Yardley Borough Police Chief Joseph Kelly recognized the borough’s outstanding officers during the department’s first annual awards ceremony.
Kelly handed out 25 peer-nominated and peer-approved awards and commendations for 11 incidents, some dating back to 2011, but most taking place in 2018.
“Today I have the privilege of issuing some well-earned accommodations to police officers and to civilians for their outstanding service to Yardley Borough,” said Chief Kelly. “But today is about much more than that. Today is about honoring all the men and women who for 70 plus years have worn and continue to wear the Yardley Borough Police Department uniform. Day in and day out they have and do restore order to chaos. They protect our residents, protect our businesses and protect our many visitors as they enjoy the borough.”
In commending his officers, the Chief also paused to remember the 21,000 American law enforcement officers, including 999 law enforcement officers from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty. “May we never forget these fallen officers and continue to honor their memories, their surviving families and their police departments.”
Mayor Chris Harding, who oversees the police department, and Councilwoman Sandi Brady, the chair of Borough council’s public safety committee, were also on hand to congratulate the officers and to recognize the Chief with an Excellence in Police Service Award.
“As mayor and as Yardley Borough we stand behind our police officers and understand the risks they are taking and the stress they are putting on themselves and their families,” said Harding. “We do not take their role lightly ... I’d like to thank all of our officers. You hold a special place in Yardley Borough.”
Brady added, “Integrity, loyalty, respect and courage. Those values are not just words on a letterhead. Those words are Yardley Borough Police Department. And the awards being presented tonight show just how much our officers are living those values each and every day. I’m really grateful to live in a town with a police department like ours, officers who care about the community, but also care about each other.
“And cultures like at Yardley Borough Police Department they don’t just happen,” continued Brady. “The tone is set at the top by the mayor and the chief. Thank you Chief Kelly for walking the talk, leading by example and driving and instilling a great culture at the Yardley Borough Police Department.”
Brady also thanked each and every officer for their service and for caring for the community.
Joined by Mayor Harding and Councilwoman Brady, the chief began the special evening with the presentation of an Excellent Police Service award to Sgt. William J. Golden III for his work in bringing a suspect to justice for a robbery that happened in 2011.
On January 24, Golden responded to the Wawa on South Main Street for a reported robbery. When officers arrived, they discovered that the store had been robbed and the suspect had fled down South Main Street. Evidence was gathered to include prints, DNA and a video. Working with warrants in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the suspect’s DNA was secured and in Sept. 2011 charges were filed against a suspect for robbery, firearms and terroristic threats.
The next award was a unit citation presented to Sgt. Golden for an incident in July 2015. Officers were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on North Main. The accident resulted in the loss of a traffic light at Main and Afton and a power loss to the Whiskey Hill section of the borough. Golden was among the officers who demonstrated excellent skills by clearing the scene during rush hour with minimal impact to residents.
The next award - a cilivilan award - went to Mary Blazejewski for saving the life of a choking victim on June 6, 2015.
Police were dispatched to the Continental Tavern to investigate and provide medical aid to a choking female. Upon arrival, they learned that a 75 year old female had an obstructed airway, but it had been cleared by Mary Blazejewski utilizing the Heimlich Maneuver. “Her actions are credited with saving this woman’s life,” said the Chief.
The chief presented two more civilian awards to Amy LaMoreau and Anthony Anela and a life saving award to Officer Scott Frank for saving the life of a motorist in cardiac arrest on November 3, 2018.
Officer Frank was dispatched to South Main Street to investigate a motor vehicle accident. Upon arrival, he found that the driver had already been removed from the car by citizens who had begun CPR. Officer Frank used his experience as a paramedic to continue CPR until EMS arrived. The driver was revived and Officer Frank and Amy and Anthony were credited with saving a life.
The chief presented the second lifesaving award of the evening to Officer David Ramos for rescuing a woman from a car on January 18 of this year.
Ramos responded to a vehicle into the Delaware Canal in the rear of 10 South Main Street. Without hesitation, Officer Ramos entered the car and quickly removed the 74 year old female driver from the unstable vehicle that was partially in the canal and partially hanging from a concrete embankment. He then removed the driver to a safe location.
The next award - an Excellent in Police Service award - was presented to Officers William Bailey, Charles Gillock and Daniel Baxter for an incident on September 13, 2015.
Gillock and Baxter were dispatched to a hit and run motor vehicle accident at Main and Afton. Gillock observed the suspect vehicle traveling erratically west on Yardley-Newtown Road. When police cornered the truck in a cul-du-sac, the driver drove across the roadway at the officers. The truck then entered I-95 going the wrong direction and crashed on the ramp.
Officers Bailey and Gary Zapano conducted a follow up investigation that led to multiple charges including aggravated assault, stolen vehicle and DUI offenses.
The next award - an Excellent Police Service Award - went to Charles Gillock and Sgt. Will Golden for a theft investigation in May 2018.
Gillock was assigned to investigate a theft at a jewelry store on West Afton. The suspects used a fraudulent credit card to steal a bracelet worth several thousand dollars. Gillock led the investigation assisted by Sgt. Golden who helped with lead information and identified and issued warrants for both suspects in July and August. The suspects had also committed fraud in New Jersey and Pa.
The next award - also an Excellent Police Service Award - went to Officer William Bailey for being instrumental in updating the department’s servers, card access, records management system, body worn cameras, social media accounts, web pages, telephones, etc.
A unit citation went to William Golden, Adam Clark, Bucks County Detective Richard Munger, Charles Gillock and David Ramos for their successful investigation into a commercial burglary on East Afton Avenue in which two victims were assaulted and held against their will on March 6, 2018.
A comprehensive investigation begun by Clark and then led by Detective Munger and Charles Gillock and assisted by Sgt. Golden and Officer Ramos led to the apprehension of a suspect on June 21, 2018 on robbery, kidnapping, assault, conspiracy and other charges.
The next award - a unit citation - went to Will Golden, Adam Clark, Ian Stanley, Carlito Cortez and Scott Frank for a domestic incident on July 3, 2018 that had escalated into a credible threat of suicide and violation of a court order. The officers continued their efforts over the next 48 hours, which included liaisoning with the DA’s office, out of state law enforcement and mental health agencies and by filing warrants and conducting further investigation. As a result of outstanding teamwork, the suspect was safely taken into custody.
The chief also presented a “Go the Extra Mile” Award, which recognizes an officer who takes on one ore more special initiatives to further the mission of the department.
He presented the award to Officer Joseph C. Harris for taking on difficult shifts including holidays, his work in creating a new awards policy, serving on the awards committee, completing background checks, hosting Scout tours, developing and teaching social media skills and more.
The final award of the evening - an Excellence in Police Service Award - went to Chief Joseph Kelly. It was presented by Mayor Harding in recognition of the chief’s professionalism, his hard work and his unwavering demand for excellence within the department.