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Outstanding Service Award

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Nominate officers for Outstanding Service Awards

Law enforcement officers and the public are encouraged to nominate officers in their communities for a Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Outstanding Service Award.

Written nominations for Outstanding Service Awards may be signed and submitted by supervisors, police officers or any member of the public, and must be received by June 1, 2017. Nominees must be recognized for events or service beyond normal expectations occurring between May 1, 2016 and May 1, 2017. Criteria should include leadership or community service, as well as valor or bravery.

Download the Entry Form above. Entries must include a short, signed essay on why the nominee should be considered for a LEEP 2017 Outstanding Service Award along with specific details, supporting materials or reports. Nomination packages should be sent to:

LEEP Outstanding Service Awards
667 E. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 205
Troy, MI 48083

Corunna Officers awarded for saving woman from icy waters

— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from The Argus-Press

Cousins Ryan and Garett Chapko have a lot in common growing up with identical twins as fathers and working for the same police department. Now they are being recognized for their efforts to save a woman’s life.

Corunna Police Officer Ryan Chapko and Corunna Reserve Officer Garett Chapko worked together to rescue a suicidal woman from icy waters in January, earning them recognition within their department and from the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP). The two were chosen for the LEEP Outstanding Service Award (OSA) and received Lifesaving Awards from the City of Corunna earlier this year.

Corunna Police Officer Ryan Chapko (above) and his cousin, Corunna Reserve Officer Garett Chapko (below) saved a woman from drowning.

Corunna Police Officer Ryan Chapko

The dispatch call came in Jan. 9, 2016 for a welfare check of a suicidal woman. When they arrived on scene, the officers made contact with the woman’s sister who reported her location and said she had threatened to kill herself.

Garett found the woman walking near the Shiawassee River and signaled his partner. “I turned around and went in along the shore by the waterfall and I was coming up behind her,” Ryan said. She saw the officers, said some choice words, and that she was “going to end it” and then jumped into the frigid water.

“I remember her looking back at me and saying … ‘I’m done.’ After that I just watched her start to fade away in the water and I knew I had to do it,” Ryan Chapko said. He immediately jumped in after her and began searching. “I’m just thinking, ‘It’s dark, and I don’t know if there’s a current right now, but there might be. If she gets too far away from us she could be in real trouble.’”

What Ryan didn’t think twice about was his own safety. “I knew I had a job that had to be done,” he said. “Honestly I didn’t have any concern for myself. I just wanted to get her out of there. If something started happening to me, I knew my cousin would help me out.”

Garett Chapko followed Ryan along the shoreline and met him near the water’s edge to help pull the woman from the water. “He was helping me locate her and supporting me in case I started going out,” Ryan said. “I grabbed her, wrapped my arm around her. I was trying to keep my footing on uneven rocks.”

Corunna Reserve Officer Garett Chapko

Corunna Reserve Officer Garett Chapko

“It all just happened so fast,” Garett said. “I was nervous, but I knew I wouldn’t let anything happen to him. He jumped in and I stood on the side so I had his back. When he got a hold of her, I made sure he didn’t slip and, when he got closer, I helped bring her out onto the land.”

Their teamwork and bravery earned them two sets of lifesaving awards. “I commend Officer Ryan Chapko and Reserve Officer Garett Chapko for their quick thinking and reactions, not fearing the frigid water and saving the life of the suicidal female subject,” said Corunna Police Chief Nick Chiros, when presenting Lifesaving Awards to the two. “I offer my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks. They do the job and do it well. At times they go above and beyond.”

“I’m very honored,” Garett said of the City and LEEP awards. “I just do it to help people really, I don’t do it for the awards.”

“It’s not something we’re expected to do, it’s just something we’re willing to do — to put our lives on the line to save someone’s life. It’s just part of the job,” Ryan said. “There are always risks in this job, and we’re all aware of it, but we don’t like to think about it. When it’s all done and over with start stuff starts to go through your head. How can I do it different or what if this would’ve happened?”

Ryan and Garett grew up playing cops and robbers together, but both men thought they would end up in military careers. Ryan did work as a Military Police Officer for the Army 58th MP Company in Hawaii. “I started to do the diesel program but my heart wasn’t in it,” Ryan said.

The 30-year-old was enlisted from 2005-2008 and was honorably discharged due to a herniated disc. “They didn’t want me to deploy and further injure myself and be liable,” he said.

”Every little kid has that dream,” Ryan said. “They’re always playing cops and robbers. My goal in school was going into the military,” however, after the injury, “I went back to Criminal Justice and got an associate’s degree.”

Ryan attended Kellogg Community College Law Enforcement/Police Academy part-time while working a full-time asphalt job. He graduated June 3, 2015. Wanting to work close to home, Ryan applied to Corunna Police Department.

“The Chief there gave me the opportunity. I found out they had reserves and Garett did a ride along and liked it so he got the reserve spot,” Ryan said.

Garett, 24, who also had an interest in law enforcement and the military, joined Corunna as a Reserve Officer in late 2015. His position is unpaid volunteer, but it has moved him to pursue law enforcement as a career.

“I really want to get into the State Police,” Garett said. “I’m trying to get into shape and applying to the academy soon. I’m just one of those people that always want to help others if I can.”

To view published articles on the 2016 LEEP Outstanding Service Award winners, click on the links below:

Police Cousins Recognized for Saving Woman’s Life

Swartz Creek Officer given LEEP Award for saving another officer

— By Jennifer Foley with excerpts from Outstanding Service Award nomination

POLC Executive Director Richard Weiler (right) presented Swartz Creek Police Officer Nick Paul with the LEEP Outstanding Service Award for 2015 at the POLC/GELC Annual Meeting & Labor Seminar in August 2015.

POLC Executive Director Richard Weiler (right) presented Swartz Creek Police Officer Nick Paul with the LEEP Outstanding Service Award for 2015 at the POLC/GELC Annual Meeting & Labor Seminar in August.

Swartz Creek Police Officer Nick Paul was chosen for the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Outstanding Service Award for bravery and dedication to his profession. Officer Paul was presented with the award at the 2015 Annual POLC/GELC Meeting & Labor Seminar on Aug. 28, 2015 for his heroic efforts in saving the life of a fellow officer.

“It is my opinion no officer is more deserving of this award,” wrote POLC Labor Rep. Hal Telling in his nomination letter. “Nick Paul displayed courage under fire, professionalism and a sense of duty and responsibility to the public and his fellow officers.”

On Jan. 23, 2015, Flint Township Police Officer Michael Schulyer made a traffic stop around 10:30 p.m. on the 3200 block of Miller Road near the I-75 interchange. After the red van pulled into the Hometown Inn parking lot on Miller Road, Schulyer approached and the 55-year-old driver immediately exited the van and assaulted the officer. While struggling, Officer Schulyer radioed for assistance. The suspect pulled a .40 caliber pistol from his waistband and shot Schulyer three times, twice in the arm and once in the torso. Schulyer fled for cover while returning fire and radioed in that he had been shot.

Officer Paul heard the radio call and immediately drove to the scene removing his gun from his holster and placing it in his lap. He was the first backup officer on the scene, arriving within 30 seconds. Ignoring considerable danger to himself, Paul did not wait for additional units. He pulled into the parking lot and maneuvered his police vehicle behind the van. The van then backed up into the patrol vehicle and the suspect exited the vehicle, pistol in hand, and began firing at Officer Paul as he approached the patrol vehicle. Unable to exit his vehicle, Paul returned fire and a gun battle ensued within a distance of 15 feet.

“I had my gun in my right hand and had my window down,” Paul said, adding his seatbelt was off. “He was on me so fast, but I was ready for him.”

When the suspect retreated toward the van, Paul exited his vehicle and replaced his magazine. Not knowing the status of the suspect or Officer Schulyer, Paul proceeded forward without regard for his safety.

”I was thinking ‘I can’t let this guy get too far away.’ I knew there wasn’t anyone in position,” Paul said. He wanted to avoid having to track down an armed gunman who was running around town and could later ambush police. “I was thinking about perimeter. Initially, when I got out of the car I didn’t know I hit him.”

As Officer Schulyer continued to supply information via radio from the adjacent parking lot, Paul focused on making the arrest.

“I carry with me a tourniquet and a quick clot bandage,” Paul said. “He continued talking and putting out information when I was pulling in. I went from going to help him, knowing he was ok, to ‘now I got to go stop this guy before he gets out on the road.’”

When Paul came around the backside of the van, he observed the suspect laying in the fetal position near the front of the van. Paul secured the suspect’s weapon and was assisted by a second backup officer making his arrest.

A K-9 handler, Paul’s dog, Ike, was in the backseat during the shootout and luckily neither partner was shot. Investigation later revealed Officer Paul had struck the suspect six times. The suspect did survive. Paul’s patrol car was struck at least seven times, including the front door post on the driver’s side, windshield, and several bullets to the driver’s side spotlight and front of the car. The second backup officer’s vehicle also sustained bullet holes to the front of the vehicle, indicating as Paul moved forward the suspect continued firing.

The suspect was charged with numerous life felonies and awaits trial on the charges. There were warrants out for his arrest at the time of the shootout.

Officer Schuyler has a long road to recovery and has endured numerous surgeries but is alive because of Officer Paul’s heroic actions.

Officers receive 2010 LEEP honor for bravery, dedication on the job

Battle Creek Police Officer Robert Miller (left) and Buena Vista Township Patrol Officer Jaime Villanueva received 2010 Outstanding Service Awards.

Two officers were chosen for Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Outstanding Service Awards for bravery and dedication to their profession.

Buena Vista Township Patrol Officer Jaime Villanueva and Battle Creek Police Officer Robert Miller were presented with the awards at the 2010 Annual POLC/GELC Meeting & Labor Seminar Aug. 28.

On Nov. 20, 2009, Officer Villanueva went beyond her duties as a police officer and stepped into a burning building to rescue a paralyzed woman.

When Officer Villanueva arrived on the scene of an apartment building fully engulfed in flames, bystanders reported a victim was still inside. Officer Villanueva, with the assistance of three bystanders, entered the woman’s bedroom and safely removed her. Then Officer Villanueva re-entered the building with two other officers to search for more victims. She was later taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Officer Miller could have turned in his badge and gun after being shot in the head during a standoff. After surgery, he suffered permanent hearing loss in his left ear and a visible scar on his face.

However, he underwent mental and physical rehabilitation and returned to work. On May 10, 2010 Officer Miller came to the aid of Sgt. Marc Pierce, who was being stomped on by a mentally disturbed individual. Just as the assailant grabbed a meat cleaver and was preparing to strike Sgt. Pierce in the head, Officer Miller fired his handgun neutralizing the individual and preventing further injury to Sgt. Pierce.

“We are the police and it’s a dangerous profession, and the mental game is more important than anything,” Miller said. “Being mentally strong and prepared is key.”

LEEP Outstanding Service Awards
667 E. Big Beaver Rd., Suite 205
Troy, MI 48083

© 2014 LEEP Law Enforcement Education Program

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