Outstanding Service Award
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, 2019. Nominees must be recognized for events or service beyond normal expectations occurring between May 1, 2018 and May 1, 2019. 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 2019 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
2018 OSA Awards
Holland, Jackson Officers honored for saving victims from gunmen
— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Three Jackson Police Officers and one Holland Public Safety Officer were honored for bravery and dedication to their profession for putting their lives at risk while stopping gunmen from killing others. The four officers were presented Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Outstanding Service Awards Sept. 21, 2018 during the Police Officers Labor Council/General Employees Labor Council (POLC/GELC) Conference at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. They were among a group of POLC Officers nominated for the annual awards by their peers.
HOLLAND PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICER JOSEPH SLENK
On April 22, 2018, Holland Public Safety Officer Joseph Slenk’s quick action saved the life of Olive Township resident Mary Hartman. Officer Slenk fatally shot Matthew James Hartman, 27, after he exited the couple’s home holding a gun to his estranged wife’s head and refused orders by police to drop it.
Mr. Hartman had shot two other people, killing one of them, after taking his wife hostage and driving her to Muskegon earlier that morning. Mary Hartman texted her mother after witnessing the shooting of Jordan Carey, 29, an acquaintance of Mary’s, and a 25-year-old woman inside a Muskegon home. Carey died of his injuries.
Mary’s mother called police around 7:30 a.m. while Hartman drove his wife back to their Olive Estates mobile home. Ottawa County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to 8987 Brickersville Dr. as Mary texted updates to police begging for help and saying her husband was going to kill her next. She texted there was a bullet in the chamber, the safety was off, and her husband intended “suicide by cop.” Mr. Hartman exited and re-entered the home twice, ignoring officers’ commands to drop the weapon.
Holland Public Safety Department, a POLC-represented unit, dispatched an armored vehicle occupied by Officers Slenk and Jon Osborn to assist. Around 9 a.m., Matthew Hartman exited the home, holding a 9mm loaded handgun to Mary’s head. Officers yelled for him to drop his weapon while Mary frantically screamed for him to do the same. Officer Slenk emerged from the hatch of the armored vehicle and fired a single rifle shot, striking Matthew Hartman and eliminated the threat. Mary was not injured.
“My conclusion is that Officer Joseph Slenk, who had been made aware of the desperate circumstances of the hostage, acted with legal justification. From the perspective of Officer Slenk, the life of Mary Hartman was in eminent danger, negotiations with Matthew Hartman had failed, and immediate action was necessary to prevent another homicide,” wrote Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald J. Frantz.
Slenk, a Special Enforcement Team (SET) member and K-9 handler, was as an Evidence Technician, West Michigan Enforcement Team Detective, Field Training Officer and 2015 Officer of the Year. “As a member of SET, I have had a lot of shooting and tactical experience including training and shooting out of the hatch of our armored vehicle at targets,” Slenk said. “We train monthly together as a team and one area of our training areas would be hostage rescue. Without any doubt, having done this type of training helped this outcome in saving Mary Hartman’s life.”
JACKSON POLICE: SGT. TIM HIBBARD, OFFICERS TOM TINKLEPAUGH & RACHEL KUHN
On Easter Day, April 1, 2018, Jackson Police responded to a domestic call around 1:30 p.m. between a potentially armed suspect and his 35-year-old girlfriend, Heather Jurasek, who both lived in an upstairs apartment in a residence on the 900 block of Chittock Ave. “He had been beating her and pistol whipping her all night. She escaped to a downstairs apartment to get help and he followed her down,” said Jackson Police Sgt. Tim Hibbard.
Several people were standing outside the house when Officer Thomas Tinklepaugh arrived, “because (the suspect) was trying to kill her,” Hibbard said. As the badly beaten woman stepped off the porch, Christopher Lamarr Hall followed her with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Hall began firing at Officer Tinklepaugh, who was walking toward the residence.
“She ended up escaping out the front door and he was chasing her out the front door when they made contact,” Hibbard said.
One round struck Officer Tinklepaugh in the left leg, causing him to fall. Hall, 34, continued firing as Officer Tinklepaugh crawled behind a telephone pole and returned fire.
Officer Rachel Kuhn, who arrived when Officer Tinklepaugh was approaching the house, heard gunshots when she opened her patrol car door. A round fired by Hall went through her open driver’s door, breaking the window. Officer Kuhn was able to take cover behind her patrol car and return fire.
“I heard the dispatch for the gun call so I responded to assist the two officers,” Sgt. Hibbard said. “I observed the officers approaching from the front on Chittock, so I responded through an alley in the rear of the residence. I didn’t want to come into the location where I’d be seen. I try to give up as few opportunities as possible to the suspect.”
Sgt. Hibbard bravely ran toward the gunfire in the front yard. He saw Hall firing at Officer Tinklepaugh and began shooting at Hall. “He didn’t notice me until I shot him,” Hibbard said. “He went down and was trying to use (Jurasek’s) body as a shield while he was shooting at us. He was back behind her crouched so that she was intentionally in the line of fire, so we had to shoot around her to get to him.”
The suspect turned toward Sgt. Hibbard and collapsed under fire. “Within 30 seconds, the threat was neutralized,” said Jackson Officer Marc W. Smith, who recommended the Jackson Officers for OSA Awards.
Sgt. Hibbard continued to cover Hall while kicking the gun out of his reach. He reassured Jurasek while checking Hall for a pulse several times, but there was none. “The officers then tended Officer Tinklepaugh and the female victim,” Smith said.
Sgt. Hibbard radioed an ambulance for Jurasek, who had been struck in the buttocks by gunfire, and County Deputies took Officer Tinklepaugh to the hospital. The suspect was declared dead at the scene. Officer Kuhn comforted Jurasek until an ambulance transported her to the hospital. “These officers acted in a concerted effort to handle a deadly situation,” Smith said. “Because of their quick thinking and heroic actions, they limited injuries and saved the lives of fellow officers. They are a credit to themselves, their chosen career and their department.”
Officer Tinklepaugh spent seven months recovering, returning to full-duty Nov. 9. Doctors were unable to remove the bullet lodged in Jurasek’s hip, Hibbard said. All three officers were cleared of any wrongdoing since Hall fired on officers first, according to Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka.
To view published articles on the 2018 LEEP Outstanding Service Award winners, click on the links below:
2017 OSA Awards
POLC Sergeants recognized for bravery in lifesaving efforts
— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor, with excerpts from news media
A Royal Oak Police Sergeant and Kalkaska Public Safety Sergeant were recognized for bravery and dedication to their profession for putting their lives at risk entering a burning car and a burning home to rescue others.
The Sergeants were presented 2017 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Outstanding Service Awards Sept. 22, 2017 during the POLC/GELC Conference at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. They were among a group of officers nominated for the annual awards by their peers. “For them it’s just day-to-day. They just do their job the best they can. It’s not about the recognition,” said POLC/GELC Labor Rep. John Stidham, who nominated the Kalkaska Sergeant for the award.
ROYAL OAK SGT. KARLY WINGART
Royal Oak Sgt. Karly Wingart was driving along Woodward Avenue just after midnight Jan. 15, 2017 when she saw smoke on the opposite side of the road. Her quick response made her the first emergency responder on the scene of a crash between a Ford Fusion and a SMART bus near 12 Mile Road.
She found a 36-year-old woman covered in blood inside the burning Fusion, her legs pinned under the dashboard where the impact occurred. Although conscious, the victim wasn’t able to get out on her own and Wingart could not get the crushed passenger side door or window open. Worried about the woman burning or the car exploding, she ran to the driver’s side door, which was open. The driver had gotten out of the car and was lying in the road. Wingart told the woman she had to get out and reached inside the burning vehicle and pulled her to safety.
“I was mostly worried about her being burned. I can see the flames growing on the other side of the windshield,” Sgt. Wingart said. “The SMART bus driver had a little fire extinguisher. He did attempt to put it out and it didn’t work.”
With the help of a retired EMT standing nearby, Wingart was able to carry the passenger away from the burning car. “A Berkley Public Safety Officer, who arrived while I was trying to get her out, got his fire extinguisher. As I’m pulling her down the road, I can see the car is reigniting,” Sgt. Wingart said.
The Royal Oak Fire Department arrived and finished putting out the blaze. The driver, passenger and one bus rider with minor injuries were taken to Beaumont Hospital. While the driver and bus rider were treated and released, the Fusion passenger underwent reconstructive surgery and remained hospitalized until mid-February. The Fusion driver was later charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury.
“I am very proud, but not surprised with Sgt. Wingart’s quick thinking and bravery,” said Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue in a statement. “With complete disregard for her own personal safety, she entered a burning vehicle to assist an injured passenger.”
The investigation found the driver rear-ended the bus, which had just dropped off passengers. Andrew Aman James, a 29-year-old Macomb Township resident, plead no contest to one count of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury. James, who has a prior conviction for operating while impaired, was sentenced to 90 days in jail. After 30 days successfully served, James will be put into a work release program, serving 24 months of probation with an electronic tether. He was also assessed fines, costs and restitution in excess of $4,000.
“We like to recognize our officers for the outstanding work that they do,” said Royal Oak Police Lt. Keith Spencer. “The biggest thing … is the sheer bravery that night.”
KALKASKA PUBLIC SAFETY SGT. BLAKE HUFF
Kalkaska Public Safety Sgt. Blake Huff found himself in a similar situation, arriving before firefighters, at the scene of a house fire involving a woman trapped inside.
When Huff and Kalkaska County Deputy Ben Hawkins responded around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 22, 2017, they saw smoke and flames coming from the living room area of the home on Division Street in the Village of Kalkaska.
Grace Tester, the 63-year-old homeowner, had gotten outside on her own, according to 9 & 10 News online. However, she told the officers her paraplegic daughter-in-law, Mary Jo Tester, was still inside the living room. The officers decided they couldn’t wait for firefighters to arrive.
“I went in and started army crawling to her. Once I gained access to her, we started pulling her back out,” Sgt. Huff told 9&10 News online. “Then Deputy Hawkins grabbed a hold of my legs and helped guide me back out to the door we came in originally … due to the smoke and the flames.”
They rescued the 50-year-old woman, along with two dogs that were trapped inside.
“They’re heroes. They put their own lives on the line and went into a situation that was very dangerous,” Kalkaska Township Fire Chief Derek Hogerheide told 9 & 10 News.
All were transported to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City where Grace Tester and the officers were treated and released for smoke inhalation. But Mary Jo was flown to a Grand Rapids hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries, including severe burns.
Unfortunately, despite their heroic efforts, Mary Jo Tester died Feb. 27 at the Grand Rapids hospital. Despite their tragic loss, her daughter, Danielle Bowen, wanted to let Sgt. Huff know how much she appreciated what they did for her mother. “I called Sergeant Huff and I thanked him personally for pulling my mom out,” Bowen told 9 & 10 News. “I cried, I actually really did because that just meant so much that they’re willing to go so far above and beyond what they are paid to do to help somebody in need.”
“I’m glad we could help and try to possibly save a life,” Huff told 9&10 News online. “We try to do our best to help prevent anything from happening like this and do the jobs we signed up to do.”
2016 OSA Awards
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.
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.”
“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?”
SHARED HISTORY & FUTURE
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:
2015 OSA Award
Swartz Creek Officer given LEEP Award for saving another officer
— By Jennifer Foley with excerpts from Outstanding Service Award nomination
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.
2010 OSA Awards
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.
MAKING A COMEBACK
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