Two Bastrop police officers were recognized for acts of bravery at the city of Bastrop's Feb. Board of Alderman meeting.
Mayor Betty Alford-Olive and Police Chief Downey Black nominated Assistant Police Chief Hughie McDuffie and Captain John Anthony Evans for the Congressional Badge of Bravery subsequent to incidences where each man went above and beyond his call.
To meet the definition of an act of bravery, nominees for Congressional Badge of Bravery must have either:
1.Sustained a physical injury while -
engaged in the lawful duties of the individual and
performing an act characterize as bravery by the agency head who makes the nomination, and
being at personal risk; or peace
2. Although not injured, performed an act characterized as bravery by the agency head who makes the nomination that place the individual at risk of serious physical injury or death.
The officers' names were submitted under category two.
"It was an honor for us to submit these nominations for the work of these officers, especially with no injuries or fatalities," Mayor Olive said.
McDuffie's nomination stemmed from an incident on Jan. 1, 2012, where officers responded to a call regarding a suicide attempt.
When the officers arrived at the residence, they spoke to a white male who appeared very upset and was threatening suicide. The man stayed at his front door except to go inside from time to time. He had a 22 caliber rifle which he would discharge inside the residence and also point at himself. He asked to speak with McDuffie, who was contacted by the dispatcher and arrived around 1:30 a.m.
Upon arrival, McDuffie saw the man who was apparently upset because his girlfriend had left him.
"I only knew him from seeing him around town down through the years," McDuffie, who was about 75 yards from the door, said.
"The subject tried to get me to come into his house and talk to him," McDuffie continued. "But I told him I could not come in because of the gun."
Relying on knowledge gained from 30 years of service and his officer safety training, McDuffie patiently talked the man into putting the gun inside the door and stepping outside. He also signaled for the six or seven officers on the scene to go to the back of the residence and cautiously come up behind the man.
As he came out of the house, McDuffie was able to grab him and his fellow officers were able to aid in apprehend him.
"The subject was clearly a danger to himself, and of course, as officers, we could not take any chances for our own safety," McDuffie continued. "None of his friends could reason with him, as he was in what appeared to be a very depressed state of mind."
Evan's nomination stemmed from an armed robbery of a local convenience store.
Captain Evans was on patrol when dispatch announced the robbery and described the alleged suspect.
While on his way to the scene, Evans saw a man fitting the suspect's description running on a street close to the store. He noticed the man's mask was off and that a silver GMC pickup truck was slowing to a stop. The truck stopped long enough for the suspect to run from some bushes and climb truck climb into the vehicle.
Captain Evans quickly called in the license plate number of the truck and engaged his siren in an effort to stop the vehicle.
The driver refused to stop and Evans began a pursuit. The suspect ran stop signs and intersections inthe residential areas and nearly struck three vehicles.
"I stayed focused before he could get away or hurt someone, Evans said. "I was never afraid for myself, but for others and had to adjust my speed to allow for traffic."
The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed before leaving the city limits of Bastrop on West Madison. As the pursuit continued toward Ouachita Parish, the vehicle reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. As it entered the city limits of Monroe, the vehicle traveled on the shoulder of the roadway.
When the driver turned on to Sterlington Road, he struck another vehicle and continued onto DeSaird St., where he hit the raised concrete barriers, bringing the vehicle to a stop in the grass between Hwy. 165 South and Martin L. King. Jr. Drive.
A hispanic male exited the vehicle from the driver's side and ran south on Martin L. King but was apprehended by a Monroe police officer within 100 yards of the vehicle. Captain Evans observed a small black handgun and a black ski-mask being thrown from the passenger's side of the vehicle and a hispanic male exiting from the passenger's side. Two Monroe officers apprehended him and Evans advised him of his Miranda warning before turning the scene over to Monroe Police Department.
This incident and the apprehension of the men resulted in solving a string of robberies committed in the region by these suspects.