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2000 TOP COPS Awards Winners


July 12, 2000
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2000 TOP COPS Awards Winners

ALASKAState Trooper Scott D. QuistAlaska Department of Public Safety, Division of Fish and Wildlife ProtectionTwo men were missing in Alaska’s frozen wilderness. One, aged 32, the other, 70, the men had been lost in severe weather with blowing snow and low visibility. Search teams scoured the area without success. Finally, as daylight began to fade, Trooper Scott D. Quist radioed from his skiplane. "I think I'll take one last pass,” he said. About seven miles from a nearby town, Quist spotted the two men. Temperatures were near zero. High winds raged all around him. Quist assessed the risks, and chose to go in. The older man was nearly dead from hypothermia. The younger, also hypothermic but still mobile, was barely able to help Quist drag the older man to the plane. It took two trips, in severe and dangerous weather, to get both men to safety. The 70-year-old arrived at the hospital with a body temperature of 86 degrees. Doctors say he would not have lasted more than a few hours if Trooper Quist hadn’t found him. Accomplishing this rescue under such desperate conditions showed a high degree of skill and judgment. But the lives of two men saved are the real reward for Trooper Quist’s remarkable efforts.ARIZONADeputy Richard CarmonaPima County Sheriff’s DepartmentIt looked for all the world like a routine three car pile-up. Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Carmona, in plain-clothes and headed out of town, stopped to help. In heavy traffic, Carmona noted that the driver of the center car seemed to be slumped over the wheel. The front and rear vehicles were empty. Just before he opened the driver’s door, bystanders hiding behind other vehicles began to screaming and waving at Carmona. “He tried to kill us!” they cried. Instantly, Carmona made the mental switch to full tactical mode. He moved his unmarked car, grabbed his duty weapon from his car, radioed for assistance, and ordered the civilians to safe cover. Then he confronted the suspect in the vehicle. For several long, tense, confusing minutes Carmona first tried to convince the suspect to leave his own car and then put down his weapon. Suddenly, the suspect (who turned out to be a dangerous ex-con who had just murdered his father and may have been on the way to murder a previous girlfriend!) spun towards Carmona, aimed a semi-automatic handgun and fired. A bullet grazed Carmona’s temple as he returned fire. After several rounds the suspect went down. Carmona missed his flight, but his heroics saved the lives of many innocent bystanders, not to mention one lucky ex-girlfriend.CALIFORNIAPolice Officer Cynthia FrenchPolice Officer Romik KeshishiSergeant Joan LeuckLos Angeles Police DepartmentL.A. is a tough town. So it needs tough cops to protect its citizens. Sergeant Joan Leuck, Officer Cynthia French and Officer Romik Keshishi have to be three of L.A.’s toughest. These three officers were among the squad who responded to a call involving a man with a rifle behaving erratically. The man turned out to be James McCracken, who had a history of violent behavior...and a deadly arsenal of weapons. When the officers arrived, McCracken was found armed with three assault rifles, a semiautomatic pistol and about a hundred rounds of ammunition. Officer French confronted McCracken and attempted to take him into custody. The first of several gun battles ensued. Facing an onslaught of fire from McCracken’s high-powered weaponry, Officers French and Keshishi and Sgt. Leuck engaged the suspect in gun battles again and again. At one point McCracken fired a hail of bullets, critically injuring Officer French. In spite of her wounds, she continued to fight valiantly until a gunshot to the hand robbed her of her weapon. The courage displayed by these officers in the face of overwhelming firepower saved the lives of many citizens and ensured their place among the candidates for America’s TOP COPS. COLORADOSpecial Agent Blake L. BotelerBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and FirearmsAmerica’s cops risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. But for those who spend weeks and months undercover, “living in the lion’s den,” the danger is especially great. Blake Boteler, Special Agent (S/A) for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, spent many months infiltrating the notorious “Sons of Silence,” one of the most ruthless of the so-called “Big Five” Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. As he worked his way into the heart of the organization, he uncovered a veritable snake pit of illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking. After nearly a year among the outlaws, S/A Boteler accomplished something no other law enforcement officer had ever been able to do: become a patch-wearing member of a “Big Five” outlaw motorcycle organization. S/A Boteler’s life was in constant jeopardy. One wrong move, one slip of the tongue, and the Sons of Silence could have silenced Boteler ­­for good. Working quickly and carefully, using risky electronic surveillance, S/A Boteler amassed a wealth of evidence against the bikers and their associates. To date, his investigation has led to the arrest of more than 40 defendants. Thanks to this TOP COP’S® daring work, authorities believe the Sons of Silence may never ride again.MISSOURIDetective Sergeant Joe DeliaMaryland Heights Police DepartmentEven among bad guys, the so-called Evans Family has to rank among the lowest of the low. For years, the "Family" ran a lucrative prostitution ring that made its money by exploiting young girls...some no more than 13 years old! Their operation spanned 26 states and one Canadian province. With girls bringing in between $2,000 and $15,000 a week, the "Family" was netting millions of dollars. They were sitting pretty, until they ran up against Detective Sergeant Joseph Delia of Maryland Heights, MO. Delia became involved after the arrest of two underage females. His gift for skillful, sensitive interviewing quickly convinced him these two young prostitutes were involved in something big. He brought the Minneapolis Police Department, the FBI, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Division onto the case. Patient, tenacious, and relentless in his pursuit of justice, Delia conducted hundreds of interviews. He plowed through years of records from hotels, motels, hospitals and Western Union. After two years of exhaustive work, a federal grand jury delivered indictments. Raids in four states led to the arrest and conviction of 18 individuals. Perhaps more importantly, Det. Sgt. Delia’s actions brought vindication to the hundreds of victims exploited by the “Family” and saved countless other young women from falling victim to these predators.NEW JERSEYPatrol Officer Lee F. EvansWest Windsor Township Police DepartmentPatrol Officer Lee Evans was off-duty, but in full uniform, when he heard the radio alert: a car had driven off a nearby bridge and crashed into the frigid waters below. Without hesitation, Patrol Officer Evans headed toward the scene. When he arrived he found the car floating, but sinking fast. Several Good Samaritans were trying to break out the car’s rear window so they could rescue the driver who was slumped over the wheel semi-conscious. Evans dove into the icy water. By now the car was fully submerged. Following the car underwater, Evans reached through the broken rear window and struggled until he was able to free the driver and pull him through the broken window. Finally, the officer and the victim reached the surface of the river. Gasping for air, Evans managed to swim, carrying the still semi-conscious driver safely to the shore. The driver recovered and Patrol Officer Evans proved yet again, that there is no limit to the courage of America’s TOP COPS®.NEVADAPolice Officer Dennis DevitteLas Vegas Metropolitan Police DepartmentIs a TOP COP® ever really off-duty? Not if he’s LasVegas’s Officer Dennis Devitte. Not long ago, Devitte and several fellow officers were relaxing in a crowded sports bar, when three heavily-armed men burst through the door, announced their intention to rob the place, and began firing into the crowd. When one patron went down seriously wounded, Devitte, the only armed policeman in the bar, sprang into action. Armed with nothing but his small-caliber off duty pistol, he left his cover position and closed in on the main shooter. The would-be robber turned on Devitte and began firing at point blank range. The officer and the criminal stood less than a foot apart, blasting away at each other. As the other two criminals fled, Devitte fell to the floor - riddled with eight gunshot wounds. His attacker made it to the parking lot before he collapsed, mortally wounded. Devitte survived, but endured multiple surgeries to recover from his wounds. His quick thinking and raw courage saved the lives of many people in the crowded bar and epitomize the characteristics we honor in America’s TOP COPS®. PUERTO RICOSpecial Agent in Charge Michael S. VigilDrug Enforcement Administration, Caribbean Field DivisionIf illegal drugs are a little harder to find in your town this weekend, you might thank Michael Vigil, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Caribbean Field Division. In a cooperative effort involving officers from 15 Caribbean, South and Central American Countries, Agent Vigil, the DEA and its partners dealt a severe blow to drug trafficking operations in the Caribbean. Through the strategic use of undercover agents, confidential sources, surveillance and other tactics, the massive 12-day operation, code-name “Operation Columbus,” resulted in nearly 1,300 arrests and the seizure of over 900 kilos of cocaine, 9 kilos of heroin and almost 1,097 metric tons of marijuana were seized and destroyed! The raids netted 38 weapons, 26 vehicles, 27 boats and one airplane. Highlights included: · Jamaica: Arrested 590 Individuals and Seized a Hashish Oil Laboratory· Curacao: 280 kgs of Cocaine Seized· Haiti: 275 kgs of Cocaine Seized along with a $2,000,000 Residence, Luxury Vehicles and $41,900 in US Currency· Barbados: Arrest of Two Customs Officials, 50lbs of Marijuana and 25 lbs of Cocaine Seized· Dominican Republic: Over 350 ArrestsDespite limitations in manpower, the operation succeeded thanks to careful planning, experienced leadership, and the courage, cooperation and enthusiasm of the agents involved.UTAHSenior Special Agent Donald A. DaufenbachU.S. Customs ServiceAs we enter a new millennium, we also face a new frontier of crime: the Internet. Cyber criminals intent on exploiting innocent children have turned parts of the Internet into a marketplace for child pornography and abuse. Fortunately, the forces of law and order have a new breed of cop - with special skills and a special kind of courage - who are making the job of the cyber criminal a lot tougher. U.S. Customs Senior Special Agent (SSA) Don Daufenbach is one such cop. SSA Daufenbach has traveled the globe helping to bring criminals to justice. He was the first American law enforcement officer to testify before the Parliament of the Russian Federation in Moscow. He has trained officers in Britain’s Scotland Yard, in Canada (British Columbia), Germany, Italy, and other countries. Here at home, SSA Daufenbach has spearheaded more than 100 successful Internet-based investigations. He has brought to justice many of those who would exploit and abuse innocent children. His arrests have included many high-profile military officers, CEO’s, physicians, people with top-secret clearances, even fellow police officers. In the process he has saved untold thousands of children from exploitation, and helped usher in a new kind of law enforcer: The Cyber Cop.WASHINGTONDeputy Joseph P. CraigSergeant Patrick A. “K.C.” SauletKing County Sheriff’s OfficeIt’s Memorial Day Weekend, and as residents of Shoreline, WA plan a holiday of fun and relaxation, a man named Lonnie Davis murders his mother and nephew. He then hits the streets and begins a rampage that will leave another innocent person dead and three seriously wounded. This tragedy will soon make heroes out of two of America’s TOP COPS®. After the first two murders, Davis steals his mother’s car and speeds down a local highway. He tears into a motorcycle, severing the cyclist’s leg. Abandoning both the car and his victim, he flees to a nearby neighborhood. There he savagely beats one elderly woman to death and viciously attacks another. Davis tries to hide in a house, but is driven out by two men with a baseball bat. He breaks into a second, where he finds an arsenal of deadly firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. One of the first officers on the scene, Deputy Diana Russell, is shot in the head as Davis begins firing a total of more than two hundred rounds. Other officers are pinned down by gunfire. Russell lies bleeding in the street. Police evacuate a six-block area around the house.When Sgt. Pat “K.C.” Saulet learns Russell is wounded, he asks Deputy Joseph Craig to help him get her out. Without hesitation, Craig agrees. Putting the welfare of a fellow officer ahead of their own, Saulet and Craig drive a patrol car into the thick of the deadly gun battle. With Saulet at the wheel, Craig lays across the back seat. He grabs Russell and Saulet speeds off toward a waiting ambulance. More than eight hours after the slaughter begins, a police sniper ends it, taking Davis out with a perfectly aimed shot. Deputy Russell survives the incident thanks to the extreme courage of two of America’s TOP COPS®, Pat Saulet and Joseph Craig.



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