LPD takes home two Valor awards
LaGRANGE — Officers with the LaGrange Police Department took home two awards Tuesday at the annual LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards.
Both the Bronze Medal of Valor and a Public Safety Unit of the Year Award were presented to officers and investigators with LPD during the award ceremony, held annually to honor outstanding public safety officials.
The Bronze Medal of Valor was presented to LPD Sgt. Steven Taylor, Cpl. Craig Wheeler, Cpl. Clayton Bryant, investigator Charlie Brown, and officers Erik Vaughn, Justin Norris and Jared Askins. The Bronze Medal of Valor is awarded in situations where, during the course of an emergency, a public safety official or unit demonstrates extraordinary judgment in performance of duties.
The officers responded to a call in downtown LaGrange where a female had a knife and was damaging cars, according to a release by the Chamber of Commerce. The officers knew the female had a history of mental illness. When she saw the officers, she barricaded herself in her apartment and was making threatening statements and gestures with knives; she stated she would cut off the officers’ heads.
The emergency reaction team coaxed her back outside. They could have used a stun gun or fired a gun to apprehend her, the chamber statement said. However, they were patient and used their training for more than an hour to peacefully resolve the incident without injury. The woman was transported to the hospital for mental health treatment.
Additionally, the LPD Special Investigations and Crime Suppression units were awarded a Public Safety Unit of the Year Award.
LPD investigators Darrell Prichard, Ray Ham, Sgt. Mark Cavender, Cpl. Curtis Spivey and officer Jarrod Anderson were presented their award for outstanding work reducing crime in LaGrange earlier this year.
During January and February of this year, LaGrange experienced a significant increase in violent crimes and crimes directly related to street gangs, according to a statement by the Chamber of Commerce. In April, the two units were merged into one in order to concentrate efforts toward eradicating gang-related violence.
The five officers made a total of 401 arrests, signed more than 600 arrest warrants, recovered about 50 illegally possessed weapons, made 47 gang-related arrests, recovered almost $150,000 worth of illegal narcotics and recovered $100,000 in seized currency and other real property.
Since June 1, violent crime in LaGrange is down more than 40 percent from where it started in April 2015.