Evacuated eleven people from a burning building

Officer Paul Cotter
Officer Edward Monahan

On Tuesday, November 13, 2009, at approximately 0702 hours, Officer Paul Cotter and Officer Edward Monahan were dispatched to a house fire on Endicott Street.  The officers were in the area when they got the call from Lynn Police Dispatch, so they arrived before the Lynn Fire Department.  When the officers arrived on the scene they encountered a three-story apartment building that had heavy black smoke billowing from the sides of the structure, as well as from the roof.  Bystanders advised the officers that people were still in the building.  Both officers entered the front door, where they were met by heavy black smoke and poor visibility.  Officer Cotter and Officer Monahan assisted several people that were in the hallway and on the stairs in getting out of the building.  The officers then went back to attempt to make their way up to the second floor.  As the smoke got increasingly thicker, it made it hard to breathe as well as created decreased visibility.  Officer Monahan stopped at the second floor, went into the apartment at that level, and assisted about six people including children escape down the stairs and out of the building.  Officer Cotter continued up to the third floor apartment, where he was overcome by the smoke.  He found relief by going out to the third floor porch to get some air, and did this several times as he went inside the third floor apartment to check on the well being of the people there.  As it turned out, the occupants of the third floor apartment were among the initial group of people that the officers led out of the building.

When the officers met outside they were informed that people might still be in the first floor apartment, and Officer Monahan tried to open the front door to the apartment without success.  Officer Cotter then ran around to the rear door to try to gain entry, and as the officers continued to try to kick in the doors the first floor occupant came out of the front door with her dog.  She and her dog were led safely out of the building.

        Officer Paul Cotter and Officer Edward Monahan were responsible for evacuating eleven individuals out of the building safely, including several children.  The officers stayed with the victims and helped them get Red Cross services at the scene.  An unidentified 8-year old girl was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, and it was unknown if she was transported to the hospital.  Both officers then maintained crowd control as the fire department worked the fire.  Officer Cotter began coughing excessively, and was transported to Union Hospital by Atlantic Ambulance for smoke inhalation.  Officer Monahan followed in the cruiser, and once he arrived at the hospital began to feel weak and began to sweat profusely.  He was also treated for smoke inhalation.


Assisted in the rescue of a victim trapped in a burning house

Officer David Galeazzi
Officer Thomas Hazard,
Officer John Marr

On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, at approximately 2125 hours, the Lynn Police Dispatch began to receive calls of a working fire in the area of Clinton Street and Washburn Street.  Officer David Galeazzi, Officer Thomas Hazard and Officer John Marr responded and were the initial emergency units on scene.  The officers found the house on Clinton Street to be engulfed in flames and a large amount of smoke pouring from the residence.  Several people outside of the residence reported that a person was still inside the house.

Officer Galeazzi, Officer Hazard and Officer Marr located a resident in the front hallway, attempting to enter the house to search for the trapped individual. The officers removed him from the area and then immediately entered the building in an effort to locate and rescue the trapped individual. The officers encountered an inordinate amount of debris blocking their path and an extreme amount of smoke that severely limited their visibility.  Officer Galezzi, Officer Hazard and Officer Marr continued to push their way through the large amounts of debris while calling for the person trapped in the house.  They were able to locate the individual in a first floor room, but were unable to free him and remove him from the residence.  Although they were beginning to be severely affected by the heavy smoke, the officers continued their rescue efforts.  The Lynn Fire Department arrived on the scene, and they were able to assist in the rescue of the trapped individual.  As a result of their rescue efforts, Officers Galeazzi, Hazard, and Marr suffered from smoke inhalation and had to be transported to Salem Hospital for treatment.


Apprehension of
a violent gang member and removal of a firearm from the streets

Officer Domingo Polonia

On Saturday, October 24, 2009, Officer Domingo Polonia was working a detail at Rafffi’s Place on Summer Street.  At approximately midnight, he walked outside and heard at least four gunshots, and observed an individual point a gun in the direction of Lowell Street, and then turn and run towards South Street.  Officer Polonia immediately radioed into the station that shots had been fired and that he was in a foot pursuit.  The officer yelled for the suspect to stop as he chased him down Lowell Street.  Officer Polonia could see that the fleeing individual was carrying a gun, as he ran crouched down, holding something against his right side.  The suspect refused to stop and ran into a driveway on Lowell Street.

When Officer Polonia turned into the driveway, he encountered an SUV backing out. He had his gun drawn and shouted for the SUV to stop, while ordering all the occupants to put their hands in the air.  Officer Polonia then observed the suspect run into the front hallway of a residence on Lowell Street, and waited for back-up to arrive.  Officers quickly arrived on scene, and secured the SUV, which was searched with no weapons found. 

Officer Polonia, along with Sergeant Richard Donnelly, Detective Gary Hagerty, Detective Stephen Withrow, Officer Edward Tansey, Officer Patrick McGuire, and John Campbell of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department went to the second floor apartment, where they could hear people scattering about.  After knocking several times, two females answered the door and appeared to be in distress.  Sergeant Donnelly asked the females if anyone else was in the apartment and they said “no”.  The officers could hear other people moving in the apartment and entered to do a protective sweep.

Detective Withrow found someone hiding under some sheets in a bedroom and began shouting verbal commands for him to “come out”.  Officer Polonia immediately recognized this party as the same individual he had chased down Lowell Street.  The officers observed a .25 caliber shell casing on the floor that matched the shell casings recovered on the corner of Lowell and Summer Street minutes earlier and immediately secured the apartment. Detective Withrow applied for and was granted a search warrant.  The warrant was executed, and a .25 caliber handgun with the serial number defaced was subsequently found in the living room inside a speaker, by Detective Gary Hagerty.

        Due to the keen observations of Officer Polonia, followed by his quick and decisive actions, he was able to arrest a violent gang member and remove a deadly firearm from the streets of Lynn.


Apprehension of Armed Abductors

Officer Michael DiMeglio
Officer David Spelta

On October 14, 2009, at approximately 2110 hours Officer Michael DiMeglio and Officer David Spelta received a general broadcast from the Lawrence Police Department via Lynn Dispatch of a possible abduction of a female.  Further information was provided that shots were fired at the victim’s residence and that three males had fled the scene in a green minivan with chrome rims. 

At 2255 hours, Officer DiMeglio and Officer Spelta were patrolling the Green Street area, when they observed a green minivan with chrome rims parked in front of a residence on Green Street.  They observed three individuals exit the van and walk over to a vehicle parked in front of it.   Officer DiMeglio and Officer Spelta exited their cruiser and approached the individuals and as they did, one of the individuals crossed the street and went into a yard.  They conducted a pat frisk on two of the suspects based upon the information that had been broadcast, and Officer DiMeglio recovered a loaded firearm in the front left pocket of one of the suspects.

These officers then requested additional units to the scene, in order to create a perimeter to contain the third suspect who had fled the area.  Dispatch informed these officers that the State Police would also be sending a K-9 Unit to assist.  After an extensive search of the neighborhood, the third suspect was not located.

One of the suspects was arrested for being in possession of a firearm and not being licensed to carry and the other suspect was charged with disorderly conduct.

        Due to the officers’ diligent work in investigating the information they received, they were able to make two arrests in this alleged abduction, and also remove another gun from the streets. 


Apprehension of Armed Gang Member

Detective Michael Kelter
Detective Ross Panacopoulos

On Thursday, September 10, 2009, Detective Michael Kelter and Detective Ross Panacopoulos were on routine patrol conducting narcotics enforcement in the area of Fayette Street and Williams Avenue.  They observed two suspicious individuals, one male and one female, who based on their personal knowledge, were both heroin addicts. The detectives remained in the area and attempted to conduct covert surveillance on the two individuals in hopes of intercepting an illegal narcotics transaction.  Within a few moments, they observed a male approach the female subject and the two went to the rear of a building on Williams Avenue.  After a brief moment, the two reappeared on the street and as a result of their training and prior experience, the detectives believed a drug transaction had occurred.   

Detective Kelter and Detective Panacopoulos immediately pulled up in their unmarked vehicle, and as Detective Panacopoulos walked toward the suspect, with his badge clearly displayed, the suspect suddenly reached up under his shirt and took off running up Williams Avenue, toward Fayette Street.  The detectives immediately began chase, as the suspect turned left onto Fayette Street, and then left onto Trinity Avenue.  While running up Williams Avenue, Detective Kelter observed the suspect throw an object under a shrub in a yard at the corner of Williams Avenue and Fayette Street.  Detective Panacopoulos was able to catch up and arrest the suspect as he attempted to hide beside a parked vehicle in the rear driveway of a house on Trinity Avenue.  The object the suspect threw was recovered by Detective Kelter and it was discovered to be a loaded .22 caliber High Standard semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number.  After the arrest and further investigation, the detectives learned that the suspect was gang affiliated, with past arrests for firearm charges as well.

        Recently there has been a sharp increase of violent crimes, especially firearm-related robberies.  Also, since the unit has had manpower reduced due to budget constraints, it has become more difficult and certainly more dangerous for plain clothes officers to be out on the streets conducting proactive and self-initiated enforcement efforts.  Due to the keen observations of both Detective Kelter and Detective Panacopoulos, followed by their quick and decisive actions, they were able to arrest a violent gang member and remove a deadly firearm from the streets of Lynn.


Apprehension of Armed Robbery Suspect

Officer Gary Hagerty
Officer Michael Kmiec

On September 11, 2009, at approximately 2310 Hours, Officer Gary Hagerty and Officer Michael Kmiec were on routine patrol in a marked cruiser.  As they approached the area of Union Street, they observed suspicious behavior by one male party toward another male.  After turning onto Buffum Street, they quickly parked and exited their cruiser so that they could engage in covert surveillance of these individuals.  The officers observed the suspect walk away from the victim, but then stop after moving only about fifty feet.  The officers watched as the suspect turned around, took an article out of his pants pocket and started walking back to the victim.  As the suspect walked up to the victim, Officer Gary Hagerty observed the suspect raise his arm up to the victim and point a black handgun to his head.  The officers immediately approached the suspect with their service weapons drawn and began yelling verbal commands to the suspect.  Upon seeing the officers approach, the suspect lowered the handgun and put it back in his pants pocket.  However, he refused to comply with the officers’ orders to get on the ground in a safe position.  Both officers approached the suspect and attempted to place him into custody.  The suspect continued to be hostile and defiant.  A brief struggle ensued, during which the suspect held one hand under his body at the front of his pants and refused to comply.  Officer Kmiec warned the suspect and then sprayed him with his department issued pepper spray.  Because of the close proximity of the officers to the suspect, some of the spray bounced back from the suspect into the eyes of Officer Kmiec.  Despite suffering from the disabling effects of the spray, Officer Kmiec continued to assist Officer Hagerty in securing the suspect in restraints before seeking relief.  The suspect’s handgun was recovered and determined to be an authentic looking BB handgun.

In a subsequent interview with the victim, he confirmed that the suspect had placed the gun to his head while rifling his pockets prior to the officers’ approach.  As a result, the suspect was charged with Armed Robbery.  During the booking procedure, Officer Hagerty and Officer Kmiec noticed that the suspect matched the description of that of a suspect in other recent robberies.  He had a silver chain on his person that was consistent with one that had been stolen in a recent robbery.  The chain was seized as evidence and detectives are following up the investigation for possible additional charges against him. 

The keen observations of both Officers Gary Hagerty and Michael Kmiec, followed by their quick and decisive actions to engage the suspect, prevented an Armed Robbery from occurring, prevented potential further harm to an innocent citizen, and led to the apprehension of a violent criminal.  It is believed that this suspect is responsible for numerous robberies that have been recently committed in the City.  The suspect is well acquainted with the Criminal Justice System.  He is known by numerous aliases and has lengthy history of violent crimes committed over a thirty year span.


Apprehension of Three Armed and Violent Suspects

Sergeant Henry Wojewodzic

On September 18, 2009, at approximately 1450 Hours, Sergeant Henry Wojewodzic was in his personal vehicle, off-duty and unarmed.  He was waiting at the lights at the intersection of Franklin Street and Western Avenue, when he witnessed two individuals in an altercation.  The incident quickly escalated and one of the involved parties ran across Western Avenue towards Hines Liquors.  At that point, Sergeant Wojewodzic heard two loud gunshots.  He then observed three suspects run from the scene down Western Avenue and take a left onto Franklin Street.  Sergeant Wojewodzic took note of the description of the suspects and observed that one of them continually grabbed at his right hip as he ran down the street.  He continued to follow the suspects in his vehicle as they took a right onto Albany Street.  He then contacted Sergeant Godbout (S3) via his cell phone and informed him that he was following armed suspects that were involved in a shooting.  Lynn Control received the call and immediately dispatched units to the area.

Sergeant Wojewodzic had exited his vehicle to keep an eye on the suspects as they attempted to get into a building located on Albany Terrace.  The responding units were advised that an off-duty officer had followed the fleeing suspects onto Albany Terrace.  Captain Michael Mageary was also in the vicinity, reported to the scene, and assisted Sergeant Wojewodzic in apprehending the three suspects until other units could arrive.

        Sergeant Wojewodzic displayed tremendous courage and dedication to duty by his actions.  Because of his willingness to become involved and put himself in harm’s way while off-duty, three violent suspects were taken into custody and a .357 revolver was recovered.


Apprehension of an Armed and Violent Gang Member

Officer John Bernard 

            On July 18, 2009, at approximately 0300 Hours, Officer John Bernard was conducting a motor vehicle stop on Maple Street at the intersection of Tucker Street.  During the stop, he heard six distinct gunshots directly behind his location.  Officer Bernard immediately ran to the end of Tucker Street, where he observed a motor vehicle speeding down Cleveland Street onto Maple Street. 

Officer Bernard returned to his cruiser, contacted Lynn Control, and then attempted to stop the fleeing car.  The suspect failed to stop for him as he followed behind with lights and siren activated.  He then advised Lynn Control of his location and the failure to stop.  After a short distance, the lone operator pulled into a driveway on Western Avenue, where he quickly exited and fled on foot around the back of the home.  Officer Bernard, alone at this time, reported his location to Lynn Control and other responding units, and initiated a foot pursuit.  He was quickly able to locate and control the suspect, who was subsequently taken into custody.  Assistance from other units arrived on the scene, and after retracing the suspect’s path of flight, the Second Division units were able to recover a 9mm Luger semi-auto pistol.  Six 9mm shell casings were also recovered from the interior of the suspect’s vehicle.

Officer Bernard was able to assess and respond to the above incident by swiftly communicating vital incident information to Lynn Control and to the other responding Second Division Units, while consistently maintaining a calm and professional bearing.  His exemplary actions resulted in the arrest of a violent gang member and took an illegal handgun off the streets. 


Apprehension of Two Armed and Dangerous Individuals

Officer Robert Avery
Officer Gregory Brotherton
Officer Michael Gorman
Officer John R. White

            On May 5, 2009, at approximately 0200 hours, Second Division Officers Gregory Brotherton and John R. White were assigned to an unmarked cruiser patrol.  They were staking out a Western Avenue address for illegal narcotics activity which has been the scene of several drug related arrests.  It has also been an area where there have been several gang and drug related shootings.  This address is considered a “hot spot” of criminal activity and the neighbors have identified it as a nuisance property.

Officers Brotherton and White observed two individuals exit this house, and given the time of night and the reputation of the building; they approached them to conduct an inquiry.  Both suspects appeared nervous, and after some initial conversation, one of the parties being questioned took off running.  A foot pursuit ensued down several streets and through several back yards.  The suspect scaled some fences and initially eluded capture.  A call came into the station that the suspect may be hiding in a yard on Western Avenue.  Officer Michael Gorman found the suspect, and another foot pursuit was initiated into a yard on Congress Street.  At this time, Officer Robert Avery arrived on the scene and both officers then tackled the suspect in the driveway as he continued to try to scale a fence.  The suspect struggled violently with the officers while trying several times to reach into his right pant pocket.  After a lengthy and violent struggle, the officers managed to handcuff the suspect, a pat frisk was then done, and a 22 caliber 4 shot handgun was found in his right pant pocket. 

Meanwhile, back at the location of the initial encounter, Officer White found that the other suspect was in possession of a knife with a blade over 2 ½ inches.  Both individuals were taken into custody without anybody being seriously injured, and several bags of crack cocaine and drug packaging material were found in their possession.  It was later learned that one of the suspects was out on parole and had several default warrants for serious felonies out for his arrest. 

        The officers responding to this incident exhibited the highest level of professionalism and dedication to duty, as they quickly arrived on the scene and utilized their training and skills to take two armed and dangerous individuals into custody.


Apprehended Armed and Dangerous Felon

Officer Robert Avery
Officer Christopher Hagerty

            On April 3, 2009, the Second Division received information from the First Division that had been forwarded by the New Bedford Police Department, regarding a Bolo for a suspect, who was wanted for several felony charges out of New Bedford; including kidnapping, armed assault with a handgun, intimidation of a witness, as well as other charges, which were also being filed. The suspect had a lengthy criminal history, including illegal possession of a firearm and drug charges.   

The information was given out at Roll Call, and at approximately 0215 hours, Lynn Dispatch received additional information from New Bedford Police Department that the victim was receiving telephone calls from the suspect.  They were also able to track his cellular telephone through a GPS tracking system.  The last known location of this individual’s call was in the area of Mall Street and North Common Street in Lynn.  Several units immediately canvassed the area without any success in finding him.  Officer Christopher Hagerty and Officer Robert Avery (Car 17) were assigned to an unmarked vehicle in this area, which has been their primary route for the past couple of years, and during this time they have developed superior knowledge of drug locations, prostitution, and other problem areas.

Officer Hagerty had recently received information regarding an individual that was frequenting an apartment at 185 North Common Street.  This address is on the corner of Mall Street, contains 30 apartments, and has been the location of several drug and prostitution arrests in the past.  A particular apartment has been a known source of problems inside this building and these officers were extremely familiar with the occupants.  They have been known to have late night visitors which included drug users and prostitutes. Officers Hagerty and Avery used this route knowledge, as well as the information of the last known use of the suspect’s cellular telephone.  They were assisted by Officer Paul Holey, Officer Craig Hunter, Officer John Manning and Sergeant Stephen Haberek.  The officers received consent to enter the apartment, and once inside, immediately observed the suspect and four other individuals.  The suspect was seen exiting the bedroom and was immediately placed into custody.  A subsequent search discovered over 14 grams of crack cocaine packaged for distribution.  The suspect also had a round of ammunition on his person.  The officers also recovered a small black handgun in the bedroom in which the suspect was observed exiting upon their arrival.  The gun was loaded, and several additional rounds were found inside the apartment, which matched the round on the suspect.  There was also more crack cocaine found inside the apartment.

New Bedford Police were contacted and notified of the arrest and they confirmed that the gun described was a match to the gun found inside 185 North Common Street.  New Bedford Police were extremely appreciative for the arrest and recovery of the firearm.

Officer Avery and Officer Hagerty received information regarding an armed and dangerous felon that was at large in the City of Lynn.  This suspect has a violent criminal history and was wanted for several new felony charges, including illegal possession of a firearm.  Based on the last known location of the suspect’s cell phone, these officers took their investigation a step further.  Without their superior route knowledge and dedication to duty, a simple area check would most likely have taken place, and the suspect and the firearm may not have been recovered.  These officers utilized valuable information to investigate this area further.  They immediately identified a known problem apartment and were able to successfully capture an armed and dangerous felon without any further incidents of violence.  They were also able to recover an illegal handgun and a substantial amount of illegal narcotics.                

            Because of the immediate and decisive action taken by Officer Avery and Officer Hagerty, a violent suspect was quickly apprehended without injury to the public or to the officers on the scene.


Apprehension of Armed and Dangerous Felons

Officer Robert Avery
Officer Christopher Hagerty


            On January 8, 2009, at approximately 0340 Hours, Officers Robert Avery and Christopher Hagerty were on proactive patrol in an unmarked Expedition in plain clothes.  They were driving on Canal Street when Officer Hagerty recognized the individual who approached them.  He was bleeding from the face and attempted to gain entrance into their vehicle.  The individual told the officers that the other men had a knife and a gun and were going to kill him.  Officer Hagerty and Officer Avery immediately exited the Expedition and observed a male party holding a large butcher knife in his hand.

            The officers began to make verbal commands to the suspects, while attempting to create more distance by slide stepping backwards.  After several commands, one of the suspects dropped the knife, was brought to the ground and subsequently into custody.  Officer Avery attempted to take a second suspect into custody, but he fled in a motor vehicle, refusing to stop.  Officer Avery was able to give out a description of the vehicle, state that the suspect was fleeing, and also the direction in which the vehicle was going.  A few minutes later, Officer David Hunter and Officer Ronald Brown observed the vehicle on West Neptune Street, and were able to place the second suspect into custody.  Identification of both suspects was made by the victim.  Officer Avery was also able to identify the second suspect from the incident on Canal Street.  A third suspect has not been located at this time, but charges are being sought against him for his involvement.

            The diligence and keen observations of both Officer Avery and Officer Hagerty, were able to interrupt an armed robbery in progress.  They were faced with serious danger as they were approached by a suspect refusing to drop his knife.  Their ability to remain calm during this chaotic incident allowed them to give descriptions out to the other Lynn units.  This immediate response by the officers led to the arrest of the second suspect only moments later.