N.H. officer honored for saving man's life

By Patrick Cronin
Portsmouth Herald News

HAMPTON, N.H. — Hampton police officer Derek Brown was honored earlier this week for saving the life of a man last July who had jumped off the Hampton Harbor bridge.

Brown received the prestigious Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award Sunday night during the 10th annual 2007 Congressional Law Enforcement Awards.

"We are very proud of him," said Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan, noting that over the years numerous Hampton officers have won the award.

Brown, who joined the department as a full-time officer in 2006, was one of several officers throughout the state honored at the event for outstanding contributions to law enforcement.

Awards were given out by U.S. Sens. John Sununu and Judd Gregg and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes at the Police Standards and Training Academy in Concord.

Hampton Police Lt. Dan Gidley said Brown saved the man during an incident in the early-morning hours of July 16.

At the time, police received a 911 phone call reporting a distraught man had just thrown his bicycle over the bridge and then jumped in the water himself.

When officers arrived at the harbor they found the man in the water about 15 yards from shore on the east side of the bridge.

"Officer Brown, risking his own safety entered the water to assist the man onto the shore," Gidley said. Police said if it weren't for Brown, the man may have drowned.

"The men and women in law enforcement face danger every day to keep law and order in our state," Hodes said. "Their extraordinary bravery deserves respect and recognition, and that is what these awards are about."

Congressional law enforcement awards for dedication and professionalism, going beyond the call of duty and other service were awarded to 13 others.

Two New Hampshire police officers killed in the line of duty, Officer Michael Briggs and Cpl. Bruce McKay, were also honored with Career Service Awards.

Briggs, of the Manchester Police Department, was shot and killed while on bicycle patrol on Oct. 16, 2006. McKay, of the Franconia Police Department, was shot and run over May 11 during a traffic stop.

Copyright 2007 Portsmouth Herald News

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