NDPD officers garner awards for their work
Nine officers from the Newberg-Dundee Police Department received awards from the Oregon Peace Officers Association in November. At the OPOA's 50th annual awards banquet on Nov. 15, the officers were presented with awards for "exemplary deeds or services on behalf of their communities during the previous year," according to a release from the city of Newberg.
Officer Steve Schoening received the Distinguished Service Award for his years serving in NDPD's K9 program. The award is a tribute to Schoening's decade-plus working in the field and comes after the retirement of his longtime K9 partner, Arko, a German shepherd who had to step down from police duties due to age and a recent leg injury.
"As a K9 handler, Officer Schoening has distinguished himself in an exemplary manner," NDPD Public Information Officer Brian Hagen said in an email. "With extraordinary commitment and dedication to our K9 program, our department and to our community, Officer Schoening has set himself apart from the average."
Officer Nathan James was awarded the Medal of Valor for his response to a dramatic incident in April. James responded to a suicidal woman armed with a rifle on the roof of her house, and when the situation escalated to threats toward officers he deployed a 40mm less-lethal round to incapacitate her in time for officers to apprehend her.
"This situation could very easily have resulted in a deadly force incident, but Officer James' actions allowed for the subject to be taken into custody without injury to officers or citizens, and allowed the subject to receive important mental health treatment," Hagen said.
A number of other officers received awards for their work with suicidal subjects as well. Officer Jeromy Pilon received the Life Saving Award With Valor after he encountered a suicidal woman on an overpass who tried to jump onto the Newberg-Dundee bypass. He put himself at risk by restraining the woman until emergency personnel arrived, despite her attempts to break free.
Officers Tom Sattler, Dan Fouch, Justin Caughlin and Ariel Siqueiros, Sgt. Mark Cooke and Capt. Jeff Kosmicki were all involved with a similar incident and received Life Saving Awards for their actions. A suicidal woman was on the Wynooski Street overpass and intended to jump onto the bypass before the officers responded.
"The adult female went over the railing of the bridge as officers approached, but officers were able to hold onto portions of her clothing through the railing to prevent her from falling," Hagen recounted. "The subject kicked and clawed at the officers in an attempt to break free from their grasp. Additional officers were able to close freeway traffic below and call for a ladder truck to get access to the subject. After 41 minutes of life-saving efforts by all on scene, the combative subject was finally brought down to safety and transported for mental health treatment."
Hagen noted that Kosmicki was one of two patrol captains in the state of Oregon to receive awards this year. His actions during the rescue of the woman on Wynooski Street overpass – which included climbing up the ladder truck to secure the suicidal person – were highly unusual.
"I will speak for the rank and file officers here by stating, it is not common for a patrol captain of any agency to get up on a ladder and get involved like Capt. Kosmicki did," Hagen said. "We appreciate his work ethic and leadership."
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