Yesterday, Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Safety Director Michael McGrath, and Police Chief Calvin D. Williams will recognize and honor the following Cleveland Police Officers, Citizens, and Organizations for their contributions to making the City of Cleveland a safer and better place. -Photos by William Reiter
MEDAL OF HEROISM
The Medal of Heroism is awarded to police officers who demonstrate extraordinary bravery or act in an exemplary and extraordinary manner while at substantial risk of personal harm.
|Rank/Badge||Name||Assignment||Date of Incident|
|1913||Lyndsey Appling||District 5||5/13/2014|
|2411||Barry Bentley||District 4||7/26/2013|
|Sergeant||Kevin Coleman||District 4||6/1/2014|
|2220||Daniel Jopek||District 4||6/1/2014|
|6||Kevin Kincaid Jr||District 4||6/1/2014|
|2459||Robert Mangan||District 4||6/1/2014|
|2230||James Merritt||District 4||6/1/2014|
|2519||Ian Mussell||District 4||6/1/2014|
|747||Mark Pesta||District 4||6/1/2014|
|384||Robby Prock||District 4||6/1/2014|
|434||Gene Sardon||District 4||7/26/2013|
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to police officers who demonstrate a high degree of personal initiative, perform substantially beyond normal requirements in an exemplary manner, contribute significantly to the achievement of law enforcement goals or consistently perform at the highest levels of law enforcement excellence as indicated by a special faithfulness to duty.
|Rank/Badge||Name||Assignment||Date of Incident|
|Sergeant||Paul Baeppler||District 5||3/22/2014|
|Sergeant||Paul Baeppler||District 5||4/13/2014|
|150||Patrick Bishop||District 3||3/22/2014|
|1844||Donna Brown||District 1||6/7/2014|
|1700||Brian Charney||District 2||1/29/2014|
|1563||Victor Claudio||District 5||1/29/2014|
|1306||Nicholas D’Amico||District 3||4/25/2014|
|1701||Dylan Demas||District 2||12/6/2013|
|331||Michael Glick||District 1||6/7/2014|
|1678||Christopher Harper||Airport Unit||3/5/2014|
|349||Andrew Hayduk||District 3||4/25/2014|
|1133||Michael Herrin||Mounted Unit||1/13/2014|
|2491||Donald Horvat||District 2||1/29/2014|
|2218||Thomas James||Vehicle Impound Unit||12/6/2013|
|1165||Karl Lessmann||Sex Crimes & Child Abuse Unit||5/7/2014|
|Lieutenant||David Menear||District 1||5/22/2014|
|2302||Brian Messer||District 4||12/6/2013|
|Sergeant||Fred Mone||District 3||3/22/2014|
|2569||Ronald Myers Jr||Gymnasium Unit||4/25/2014|
|2310||Vasile Nan||District 2||10/9/2014|
|2150||Donald Nuti||District 5||3/6/2014|
|2150||Donald Nuti||District 5||3/22/2014|
|808||David Oliver||District 5||3/5/2014|
|1584||Douglas O’Neill||District 5||1/29/2014|
|2019||Andrew Posante||District 5||3/3/2014|
|715||Bobby Rose||District 3||12/6/2013|
|869||Scott Sieger||Mounted Unit||1/13/2014|
|816||Daniel Smith||District 3||4/25/2014|
CITIZEN AWARD PLAQUE
The Citizen Award Plaque is awarded to civilians who distinguish themselves through the performance of a heroic act involving great personal risk.
|Name||Date of Incident||Name||Date of Incident|
|Dominic Celima||5/18/2014||Harold Martin III||5/12/2014|
|John Kuntz||3/11/2014||Francisco Ortiz||6/7/2014|
|Dwayne Malone||1/23/2014||Reginald Starnes||5/25/2014|
By answering the call to duty in the United States Armed Forces these officers made personal and professional sacrifices, and overcame many burdens. They accepted the challenging responsibility of protecting the freedoms we oftentimes take for granted as a society. Their dedication is honorable and praiseworthy.
|Rank/Badge||Name||Branch of Service|
|1700||Brian Charney||Air Force|
|2205||Christopher Howard||Air Force|
|2310||Vasile Nan||Army Reserve|
|Sergeant||Brian Todd||Army Reserve|
|2546||Ralph Valentino||Air Force|
|2554||Richard Varndell||Navy Reserve|
|2412||Kevin Walker||Army National Guard|
Officer Lyndsey Appling – Medal of Heroism
On May 13, 2014, Patrol Officer Lyndsey Appling was on routine patrol working a one-officer car when she heard a male yell and seconds later heard a gunshot. Officer Appling then observed two males running from the area. Officer Appling immediately notified dispatch of her location, exited her patrol car, drew her firearm and ordered the males to stop and show their hands. At this time one of the males indicated to Officer Appling that he had just been robbed. Officer Appling continued to pursue the armed male while broadcasting her position. Officer Appling, with assistance from responding officers, was able to grab the male and place him under arrest. The handgun and stolen property were recovered. Officer Appling showed great courage and bravery in pursuing an armed suspect while working alone. Officer Appling’s actions showed selfless commitment to the safety of the citizens of Cleveland and took a dangerous criminal off the streets.
Officers Barry Bentley and Gene Sardon – Medal of Heroism
In the early morning hours of July 26, 2013, Officers Barry Bentley and Gene Sardon were on routine patrol when they observed two males arguing in front of a bar. It was at this time that they heard a gunshot and saw a muzzle flash. One of the males had shot the other and was now walking away. The officers exited their patrol car, drew their weapons, identified themselves as police officers, and ordered the suspect to stop and drop the weapon. The suspect refused and fled on foot. The officers pursued the male on foot during which time the suspect raised his gun at Officer Sardon, who fired his weapon at the suspect in self-defense. As Officer Bentley reached the parking lot where the shooting had just occurred, he observed the suspect draw his weapon and fire at the officers. Officer Bentley returned fire and the suspect continued to flee. The suspect ultimately collapsed and officers were able to take him into custody. The suspect was transported to the hospital for treatment from multiple gunshot wounds. The officers responded with courage when faced with an armed felon, who had just shot a citizen and fired at police officers, saving innocent citizens from the risk of further harm from this deadly threat.
Officers Daniel Jopek, Kevin Kincaid Jr., Robert Mangan, James Merritt, Ian Mussell, Mark Pesta, Robby Prock, and Sergeant Kevin Coleman – Medal of Heroism
On June 1, 2014, Officers Daniel Jopek, Kevin Kincaid Jr., Robert Mangan, James Merritt, Ian Mussell, Mark Pesta, Robby Prock, and Sergeant Kevin Coleman heard a loud crash outside the 4th District Police Station. The officers immediately ran outside to determine what occurred and provide any assistance. They discovered a motor vehicle crash involving two vehicles and one vehicle was on fire with the driver trapped inside. As the officers began a rescue effort it was discovered that the trapped driver was unable to exit the vehicle because he was confined to a wheelchair and the wheelchair was stuck. At great personal risk and through a coordinated team effort, the officers were able to extinguish enough of the fire to cut the seatbelt and carry the disabled driver to safety. The driver was transported to Metro Hospital where he was treated and released without serious injury.
Sergeant Paul Baeppler – Distinguished Service Medal
On April 13, 2014, Sergeant Paul Baeppler received information about the location of a homicide suspect. Sergeant Baeppler had been pursuing leads for several weeks attempting to capture this male, who had been leading officers on dangerous pursuits and threatening to kill any officer who confronted him. Sergeant Baeppler, along with numerous assisting officers responded to the location and surrounded the house. When one of the occupants was heard telling someone inside to “hide”, Sergeant Baeppler tightened the perimeter security and requested SWAT. With SWAT on scene, numerous occupants voluntarily came out of the home. Intelligence was gathered from these occupants that the homicide suspect was still hiding in the home. SWAT made entry into the home after using robots and a canine, but no suspect was found. Sergeant Baeppler was convinced the male was still in the home and the house was searched again. This time one of the SWAT team members removed a plank in the basement revealing access to the area under the front porch where the suspect was found to be hiding. Sergeant Baeppler, through his supervision, diligence, and perseverance was able to locate a dangerous male wanted in connection with a homicide.
Officers Patrick Bishop, Donald Nuti, and Sergeants Fred Mone and Paul Baeppler – Distinguished Service Medal
On March 22, 2014, Sergeant Fred Mone was on routine patrol when he spotted a vehicle that matched the description of one taken at gunpoint earlier that morning. Two males were in the auto, and as soon as they observed Sergeant Mone they fled the area on foot in opposite directions. While inventorying the stolen auto, Sergeant Mone located a loaded handgun. A short time later numerous calls were received stating that the two suspects were hiding in dumpsters. Officers Patrick Bishop and Donald Nuti, along with Sergeant Paul Baeppler responded to assist Sergeant Mone and were able to flush the male out. The suspect then attempted to hide under a porch, but was ultimately extracted and taken into custody.
Officers Donna Brown, Michael Glick – Distinguished Service Medal, and Mr. Francisco Ortiz – Citizen Plaque Award
On June 7, 2014, Officers Donna Brown and Michael Glick received a radio assignment for a male shot in a park. Upon their arrival one minute later, they observed a large crowd surrounding the motionless victim on the ground covered in blood. No one was attempting lifesaving efforts. The officers immediately began first aid. The victim had no pulse and was not breathing so the officers began CPR. Mr. Francisco Ortiz assisted by providing rescue breathing as the officers performed chest compressions until they were relieved by Cleveland Fire and EMS personnel. The officers then began conducting interviews. Despite the exemplary efforts of the officers and Mr. Ortiz the victim succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
Officers Brian Charney and Donald Horvat – Distinguished Service Medal
On January 29, 2014, Officers Brian Charney and Donald Horvat were on routine patrol when they observed a male walking into a beverage store with his hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head. Knowing that the area had been plagued by recent robberies, and their intimate community knowledge that two elderly males worked in this store, the officers went to check on the welfare of the store clerks. Upon pulling into the parking lot, the officers observed one of the store clerks struggling near the doorway with the suspect who was wearing a black mask. The officers notified dispatch of the robbery in progress and quickly took action. The officers confronted the violent suspect who struggled with them, shoved them, and refused to comply with their commands. The suspect also stuffed his hands into his waistband, leaving the officers fearing that he may have a weapon. The officers were able to handcuff the suspect and a vial of pepper spray was found in his sweatshirt. An accomplice of the suspect was also caught leaving the store and both were taken into custody for robbery. The officers showed a tremendous amount of restraint, and used their personal knowledge and experience to bring two robbery suspects to justice.
Officers Victor Claudio and Douglass O’Neill – Distinguished Service Medal
On January 29, 2014, Officers Victor Claudio and Douglass O’Neill were on routine patrol when they were flagged down by a hysterical female who advised them that her father had collapsed and was unconscious and not breathing. The officers immediately stopped and went to render assistance. The officers found the male lying face down on the living room floor, unconscious and not breathing. Officer Claudio began CPR as Officer O’Neill began working with radio dispatch to get EMS to the seen as quickly as possible. As Officer Claudio began to tire, the male began to take short breaths on his own, however the breaths stopped. At this time Officer O’Neill took over the CPR duties as Officer Claudio updated radio dispatch, requesting that EMS hurry their response. The officers took turns performing CPR until EMS arrived. When EMS arrived the male was breathing on his own and had a weak pulse. The male was conveyed to the hospital for treatment and was listed in stable condition. The officer’s quick actions of performing lifesaving CPR while requesting the response of medical personnel helped save the man’s life.
Officers Nicholas D’Amico, Andrew Hayduk, Ronald Meyers Jr., and Daniel Smith – Distinguished Service Medal
On April 25, 2014, Officers Nicholas D’Amico and Daniel Smith were on routine patrol when they heard four gunshots. The officers notified dispatch of the activity and began touring the area. Moments later the officers located a naked male yelling for help. The male was bleeding profusely from gunshot wounds to his upper torso. The officers immediately began treating the wounds while simultaneously gathering vital information from the victim including an excellent description of the suspect vehicle. The officers broadcast the description of the uniquely colored vehicle. Officers Andrew Hayduk and Ronald Meyers Jr. heard the broadcast and positioned themselves in a high traffic area, and spotted the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle immediately made evasive maneuvers before backup cars could respond to assist. The officers maintained pursuit of the two suspects. The vehicle eventually stopped at which time the passenger threw a handgun and began running. Officer Meyers was able to capture this suspect almost immediately. The driver of the auto, however, was able to flee several hundred yards further. Officer Hayduk chased this male who was seen throwing a knife and several other items to the ground. Officer Hayduk was able to finally catch the suspect, who continued to refuse to comply with his commands. Both suspects, who had just committed a heinous and violent act, were taken into custody. The weapon used in the shooting was also recovered.
Officers Dylan Demas, Thomas James, Brian Messer, Bobby Rose, and Bienvenido Santiago – Distinguished Service Medal
On December 6, 2013, Patrol Officer Dylan Demas was off-duty monitoring his personal-issue radio when he heard a broadcast for a vehicle that had just been stolen with a small child still inside. Officer Demas then observed a vehicle matching the description given and quickly notified dispatch who confirmed that it was indeed the stolen auto. Officer Demas relayed his location and direction of travel to dispatch and other officers. Officers Brian Messer and Bienvenido Santiago heard the broadcast and quickly responded to the area. The officers were able to position their vehicles to stop the stolen vehicle, and ordered the suspect out at gunpoint. The suspect refused and backed up striking the officer’s vehicle and forcing them to jump out of the way to avoid being struck. Officers Bobby Rose and Thomas James responded to assist and made numerous attempts to stop the fleeing suspect and were ultimately able bring the stolen vehicle to a safe stop. The child was safely rescued from the rear of the vehicle and the suspect was arrested. These officers displayed courage, sound tactical judgment, patience, and persistence to end a dangerous situation safely saving a small child and innocent citizens from further harm.
Officer Gabriel Gibbons – Distinguished Service Medal
On January 30, 2014, Patrol Officer Gabriel Gibbons was working a one-officer car when he received an assignment to follow up on a missing elderly male. Officer Gibbons verified that the male was still missing and then began to investigate. Officer Gibbons responded to a church where the male worked as a janitor. Officer Gibbons conferred with a neighbor who stated that she had never known the male to leave a light on in the church, and there were lights on inside. Officer Gibbons also learned that there had been no services at the church for a week due to extensive snow. Officer Gibbons notified his supervisor of the possibility the male was inside the church. Officer Gibbons began knocking on the door and calling out to the male. Officer Gibbons then heard a muffled voice coming from inside. After some time the male was able to open the inner door of the church and explained that he could not walk because of health issues. The male also explained that he had lost his keys and was unable to open the security gate to get out, and that his cell phone battery died leaving him unable to call for help. The male was trapped inside the church and had not eaten for seven days. The Division of Fire responded to cut the lock off the security gate and the male was conveyed to the hospital for treatment. Medical personnel stated that if the male had not been found when he was, he may not have survived much longer.
Officers Christopher Harper and David Oliver – Distinguished Service Medal
On March 5, 2014, Officers Christopher Harper and David Oliver were working secondary employment at the Horseshoe Casino when Ohio gaming agents observed a male cheating at a casino game. A subsequent background check of the male revealed that he had a very violent criminal history, including an arrest for the murder of a police officer. The officers were contacted by the gaming agents and provided invaluable assistance in planning a strategy for approaching the male. The officers, along with gaming agents, approached the male who was taken into custody quickly and safely. The male was discovered to be carrying a loaded revolver in his waistband. The officers displayed professionalism and sound tactics in bringing a potentially violent situation to a peaceful resolution.
Officers Michael Herrin and Scott Sieger – Distinguished Service Medal
On January 13, 2014, Officers Michael Herrin and Scott Sieger were patrolling Public Square on horseback when they observed an assault occur within a large crowd. The officers observed a juvenile male strike another male in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground. The high vantage point of being on horseback allowed the officers keep the suspect in view as the suspect fled through the crowd. The officers pursued the suspect on horseback as he ran toward the entrance to a large shopping mall. The suspect entered the building and Officer Herrin quickly dismounted and pursued the suspect on foot while Officer Sieger secured the horses. The suspect ran toward the RTA rapid station and boarded a train. Officer Herrin followed the suspect onto the train and made the arrest.
Detective Karl Lessman – Distinguished Service Medal
Detective Karl Lessmann is assigned to work “cold cases” in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit. A lead was developed as a result of the “Sexual Assault Kit Initiative”, which is a program of examining previously untested sexual assault kits for DNA evidence. It was discovered that six different kits had suspect DNA that matched, but no known DNA profile existed, making the suspect unknown. Detective Lessmann was given this list of related cases to investigate. After reviewing these cases, Detective Lessmann discovered and pursued a lead from 1993, and was able to identify a suspect. Using numerous databases, Detective Lessmann was able to track down the suspect and obtain a photograph. Detective Lessmann located the victims of the open cases, and the suspect was positively identified from a photo-array. Detective Lessmann obtained a warrant, arrested the suspect, and obtained a sample of his DNA which was confirmed to be a match. Shortly after the arrest another kit was tested that linked the suspect to a seventh rape. Detective Lessmann used his experience and expertise to identify and arrest a violent serial rapist who eluded capture for nearly 20 years.
Lieutenant David Menear – Distinguished Service Medal
On May 22, 2014, Lieutenant David Menear was off-duty and working secondary employment when he was approached by a security officer who informed him there was a 12-year-old female standing on the opposite side of the railing of a nearby bridge, threatening suicide. Lieutenant Menear immediately notified on-duty officers via his issued portable radio, and then quickly sprinted to the scene. Lieutenant Menear, along with additional officers that arrived to assist, began a dialogue with the young girl in an attempt to prevent her from jumping. After approximately 2 hours the young girl kicked off her shoes and was holding on only by her fingers and toes. Fearing that the girl was about to jump, Lieutenant Menear and the assisting officers began inching closer while continuing to talk to her. At just the right time Lieutenant Menear and the assisting officers were able to grab ahold of the girl by the arms and collectively pull her over the railing to safety. The actions of Lieutenant Menear, along with the assisting officers, certainly saved the life of this young girl.
Officer Vasile Nan – Distinguished Service Medal
On October 9, 2014, Patrol Officer Vasile Nan was working a one man patrol car when he responded to a call for gunshots fired into a residence. The residence was occupied by five people at the time of the shooting including two small children. Officer Nan was able to locate and view a video of the shooting, which showed two suspects in possession of the handgun that was used. Officer Nan then began patrolling the area for the suspects. Officer Nan located two suspects who matched the description, but both suspects fled as Officer Nan approached. Both suspects were soon apprehended and the handgun used in the shooting was recovered. It was later learned from the suspects that they were the victims of an earlier robbery and were out to seek revenge on the perpetrators. Officer Nan’s proactive approach to solving this crime prevented further gun violence from occurring in this neighborhood.
Officer Donald Nuti – Distinguished Service Medal
On March 6, 2014, Patrol Officer Donald Nuti was on routine patrol in a one-officer car when he observed a male with a gun approaching another male screaming at him as he stood in front of a café. When the armed male saw Officer Nuti he immediately grabbed the other male and pulled him inside the café. Officer Nuti immediately notified dispatch of the situation and requested backup. Before backup could arrive the armed male exited the café. Officer Nuti exited his vehicle, drew his firearm, and ordered the male to the ground. The male refused to comply with commands, but Officer Nuti was able to secure the male by placing him in handcuffs. Officer Nuti discovered a loaded handgun on the male. Officer Nuti acted with extraordinary bravery by taking action after observing an armed male enter a crowded establishment brandishing a gun. Officer Nuti, while facing a substantial risk of personal harm, stopped any further actions from this armed male and prevented several dangerous or possibly deadly scenarios from playing out.
Officer Andrew Posante – Distinguished Service Medal
On March 3, 2014, Patrol Officer Andrew Posante and his partner responded to an assignment of a juvenile female threatening suicide with a knife. Upon arrival Officer Posante and his partner spoke to the mother of the child, who stated that her daughter was distraught and had grabbed a large knife and was threatening to kill herself. Officer Posante and his partner proceeded up the stairs to the child’s bedroom. The child was seated on the floor, holding the knife to her neck. Officer Posante calmly talked and empathized with the child, attempting to discover what was causing her actions. After several minutes Officer Posante was able to convince the child to put down the knife. Officer Posante secured the knife and discovered that the child was being bullied in school and was upset that no one seemed to be doing anything about it. Officer Posante’s quick thinking and genuine empathy defused a potentially tragic situation.
Mr. Dominic Celima – Citizen Plaque Award
On May 18, 2014, Mr. Dominic Celima was driving on the freeway when he observed an accident scene. Mr. Celima observed a heavily damaged motorcycle on the ground with the operator lying on the other side of the median barrier in the high speed lane facing oncoming traffic. Mr. Celima stopped his vehicle and, without regard to his own personal safety, entered the high speed lane and directed approaching traffic away from the injured motorcyclist. Mr. Celima’s actions prevented the motorcyclist from being seriously injured or killed.
Mr. Harold Martin III – Citizen Plaque Award
On May 12, 2014, Mr. Harold Martin III was driving his vehicle when he was flagged down by a young female. Upon stopping Mr. Martin found that the female had been shot in the face and was bleeding profusely. Fearing that the person who shot her might still be nearby, Mr. Martin immediately put the female in his car and drove her out of the area for safety. Mr. Martin then called 911 requesting police and EMS to respond. While waiting for assistance, Mr. Martin was able to get pertinent information from the female that he was able to convey to responding officers. The information that Mr. Martin was able to gather helped police locate and arrest the shooter and recover the weapon. Mr. Martin’s courageous actions, while facing great personal risk, helped save this female’s life and take a dangerous criminal off the street.
Mr. John Kuntz – Citizen Plaque Award
On March 11, 2014, Mr. John Kuntz was driving in his vehicle when he observed a male shooting a gun. Several rounds were fired, and one hit a male in the side. Mr. Kuntz immediately called the police and stayed on the phone with the dispatchers continuing to provide updated information to the police. Mr. Kuntz kept the male in sight by following the male in his vehicle as the male ran several blocks. Mr. Kuntz provided updated locations and direction of travel to the police who were able to respond and take the male into custody. A loaded semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the male. Mr. Kuntz risked great personal harm by following a male that had just shot someone in broad daylight and brought quick resolution to a very dangerous situation preventing anyone from suffering further harm.
Mr. Dwayne Malone – Citizen Plaque Award
On January 23, 2014, Mr. Dwayne Malone was in a fast food establishment when an armed male entered and jumped over the counter in a “take-over” style robbery. The suspect pointed a gun at the head of a female employee and demanded that she open the cash register stating that if she did not open it he would shoot her. The employee indicated to the suspect that she was unable to open the cash register, and the suspect became very agitated. Mr. Malone heard the employee’s pleas for help and proceeded to step between the suspect and the employee. Mr. Malone calmly attempted to diffuse the situation by telling the suspect to take the cash register and leave. After attempting unsuccessfully to smash open the cash register, the suspect fled on foot. Mr. Malone’s actions allowed the female employee to exit the establishment safely, and prevented a very dangerous situation from escalating to a potentially deadly level.
Mr. Reginald Starnes – Citizen Plaque Award
On May 25, 2014, Mr. Reginald Starnes was driving his vehicle when he observed two males who were being attacked and beaten severely with a large piece of wood. Mr. Starnes began recording the attack on his cell phone to help police identify the attackers. Mr. Starnes observed one of the victims get struck in the head and knocked unconscious as the suspects continued assaulting him. Mr. Starnes, fearing that the male was going to be beaten to death, grabbed a crowbar from his vehicle and ran to the victim’s aid. Mr. Starnes was able to chase off the assailants and stop the vicious assault. Mr. Starnes remained on the scene and provided police a copy of the recorded assault. At great personal risk Mr. Starnes’ heroic actions saved the two victims from further assault, which could have led to greater injuries or even death.