WASHINGTON — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Mark Uffelman and Officer David McAndrews of the Philadelphia (PA) Police Department as its Officers of the Month for April 2009.
As veteran officers, Mark Uffelman and David McAndrews know all too well the dangers inherent in the law enforcement profession, both from personal experience and as sons of former Philadelphia Police officers. They grew up hearing the stories of heroism and tragedy that come with the job. In 2008, the Philadelphia Police Department lost four officers in the line of duty—the most of any agency in the nation—and another officer was killed in February 2009.
On June 24, 2008, Officers Uffelman and McAndrews, partners who work in the Third District’s Tactical 5 Squad, were temporarily assigned to the Homicide Unit to assist in the investigation of the murder of an aspiring high school teacher who was killed a week earlier. The officers were working undercover that evening in South Philly, in an unmarked vehicle, when they observed two males leaning over a gentleman who was sitting on the curb. The man who was sitting down looked nervous, prompting the officers to pull over and inquire if there was a problem. Little did the officers know, they were in for a busy night.
As the two men attempted to explain that they were “helping a friend,” the man seated on the curb began signaling to the officers by making the shape of a gun with his hand. Picking up on the hand gesture, the officers exited their vehicle and approached the men. Immediately the two men ran from the scene while the victim shouted that the fleeing suspects were armed.
As Officer Uffelman chased after one suspect, Officer McAndrews secured the victim in the unmarked car before taking off after the second suspect. Halfway down the street, the first suspect stopped, turned and began shooting. Feeling a sharp pain in his left arm, Officer Uffelman discovered he had been hit in his left elbow with a .38-caliber slug. He radioed in his condition, requested back-up and, though seriously injured, continued chasing the suspect. Officer Uffelman, an award-winning long-distance runner, was determined to catch and detain the shooter. However, the shooter was still firing, and Officer Uffelman could not immediately determine where the bullets were coming from or where they were landing. Continuing to pursue on foot, the officer eventually located the suspect attempting to hide behind a parked car and placed him under arrest.
Meanwhile, Officer McAndrews followed the second suspect and found him hiding in a doorway not far from where the chase began. That suspect, who was armed with a 9mm handgun, was arrested without incident. Both suspects had lengthy criminal records and had served time in prison for felony convictions including weapons and drug offenses, sexual assault and kidnapping.
After being treated for the gunshot wound, Officer Uffelman insisted that he be the one to call his mother about the shooting. On October 13, 1978, while off-duty, his father Charles Uffelman was murdered in a carjacking. The injured officer wanted to spare his mother from once again having a Philadelphia Police officer knock on her door in the middle of the night. In honor of his father, Officer Mark Uffelman wears the same badge, number 3677, that his father proudly wore.
In submitting their Officer of the Month nominations, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey wrote, “I am proud of the strong bonds that Officer Mark Uffelman and Officer David McAndrews have with the community of South Philadelphia. These two police officers are an enormous asset to the Philadelphia Police Department and display an excellent work ethic.”
Officer Mark Uffleman has served with the Philadelphia Police Department for 28 years. He has received six Merit and two Valor Commendations, as well as three Commendatory Citations from the department. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Michael G. Lutz Lodge #5 in Philadelphia.
A 10-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, Officer David McAndrews is the recipient of four Merit Commendations, one Bravery Commendation and three Commendatory Citations. He is a member of the Emerald Society and Philadelphia FOP Lodge #5.
Located in the nation’s capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officers Uffelman and McAndrews, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2009, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2010 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s 2011 calendar.