12 State College Police officers presented with awards for heroicness

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)- A dozen officers from the State College Police Department were honored for going above and beyond the call of duty.

State College Police Department award ceremony in council chambers July 21

Lining up in a single file line, the 12 officers stood humbly in front of the mayor, borough manager, council members, friends and family to be awarded.

“They do a remarkable job with it and they deserve the thanks of the community for the work that they do,” said Mayor Ron Filippelli.

Officer Dean Woodring, Cameron Earnest, Larry Crawford, Benjamin Capozzi and Lieutenant Barrett Smith received the Medal of Valor Award.

“And just to let you know t’s the second highest award one can receive at the police department,” said Chief of Police John Gardner.

The five men were presented with the high honor after rescuing a woman who was trapped in a burning home. Putting their lives on the line to save another, Officer Dean Woodring says is second nature.

“You don’t really think about who it is, what’s going on, you just know that someone needs help and you go,” said Woodring.

According to Woodring, it’s only after talking with onlookers, as well as reviewing the body cam footage that: “Holy cow I didn’t realize the house was that bad. Then you start thinking about the what if’s. What could have happened? But in the moment, nobody there is thinking what should I do, they just knew what they needed to do and that was get to the address and do our job.”

Working along side his fellow officers, who Woodring says are more like family, is his greatest award.

“It’s nice to get an award don’t get me wrong but ultimately just seeing the level of professionalism the level of dedication my coworkers have not only for their job but for each other is more rewarding than anything,” said Woodring.

Also honored for their heroicness were Officer John Tlumac, Kurt Stere and Martin Hanes.

The three men were presented with life saving awards. Thanks to their efforts that range from performing cardiac arrest on an individual until medics arrived, to applying a tourniquet to stop someone from bleeding out, Chief John Gardner says they’ve gifted many with a second chance at life.

Officer John Aston, Eric Burnett and retired Mark Rhodes were honored for showing the highest degree of courage in the face of danger after arresting a suspect for carjacking.

“A high speed pursuit is one of the most stressful and dangerous situations in policing,” said Chief Gardner.

According to Gardner the officers executed sound tactics and decision making to be able to intercept the vehicle and make a safe apprehension.

“I just want to say how much I respect these gentlemen, all the people who work in the police department for the untold sacrifices they provide every day in their service. When you need help, you know who to call, it’s 9-1-1 and the State College Police will always be there,” said Chief Gardner.

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