Farmington Public Safety awards honor officers, life-savers

Two nurses who helped save a life, a city code enforcement officer, and a school lunchroom aide were among those honored – along with officers – during the Farmington Public Safety Department’s annual awards banquet, held May 5 at the Maxfield Education Center in Farmington.

Director Frank Demers said officers look forward to the event, which includes recognition of outstanding public safety work, and the department’s Officer of the Year award, which went to Officer Scott Brown.

Farmington Public Safety Commander Demers and Angie Smith
Farmington Public Safety Director Frank Demers reads the Civilian Citation presented to Angie Smith.

“It’s so easy to say ‘this is your job’,” Demers said. “It’s important to give officers recognition for the good work they do. It brings you back to why you do the job in the first place.”

Angie Smith and student Katija Bjedov received Civilian Citations for helping a Farmington High School student who was choking on a piece of apple. Bjedov realized the student was in trouble and called for help; Smith administered the Heimlich maneuver. The student suffered no ill effects from the incident – in fact, Smith said, she went right back to her lunch.

“It’s an honor to be acknowledged and recognized for something I would have done for any child,” Smith said. “It made me think of my own kids. I would have wanted someone to do the same for them.”

Officer of the Year Scott Brown serves as the department’s defensive tactics instructor, and because of his efforts, Demers said, “officers are able to achieve subject control and compliance, while at the same time utilizing the minimum force necessary. A busy investigator, Brown is also credited with resolving many large-scale fraud and identity theft cases, securing charges against a number of defendants with a long criminal history, Demers added.

Farmington Public Safety Officer of the Year
Farmington Public Safety Officer of the Year Scott Brown is pictured right, with Public Safety Director Frank Demers.

Other honors and citations handed out during the evening included:

Longevity awards
  • Fire Reserve Officer Kenneth McDonald – 5 years
  • Fire Reserve Officer Ryan Cannon – 5 years
  • Sgt. Shane Wash – 10 years
  • Cmdr. Andrew Morche – 10 years
  • Director Frank Demers – 20 years
  • Sharon Davis, school crossing guard – 25 years
Unit Citation

Cmdr. Todd Anderson, Sgt. Wash, Sgt. Patrick Spelman: During the course of a March 6, 2015 traffic stop, Spelman noticed underage passengers who had been drinking. A search of the vehicle uncovered packages of marijuana, and suspects admitted to having additional marijuana at their Madison Heights home. Spelman shared the information with Wash and Anderson, who worked with the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team to recover the additional narcotics; two suspects were charged.

Civilian Citation

Cadet Paul Hughesdon: On March 20, 2015 Hughesdon noticed that a prisoner in one of the department’s jail cells had wrapped one end of a blanket around the toilet and the other around his neck, in a suicide attempt. He alerted on-duty officers, who intervened. The prisoner was committed to a local hospital for mental health treatment.

Letter of Appreciation

Officer Aaron Malewski: After hearing a March 24, 2015 dispatch broadcast about a larceny from auto on Halsted in Farmington Hills, Malewski spotted the suspect vehicle leaving Independence Green Apartments and stop at a local gas station. He and Sgt. Spelman blocked the vehicle and took the suspects into custody without incident.

Life Saving Award & Civilian Citation

Cmdr. Anderson, Cmdr. Morche, Officer Alan Baranski & EMS Coordinator Jim Etzin, Paramedics Carter Gillis and Pawel Puwalski, Tonya Howell, RN, Indria Hughes, LPN: On May 5, 2015 Hughes and Howell noticed a person laying on the ground at Grand River and Blanchard, and began administering CPR when they noticed the person was not breathing. Officers arrived and took over cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and used an automatic external defibrillator (AED); Etzin arrived to assist, then paramedics took over, providing advanced life support. The person was taken to Beaumont Hospital and was discharged eight days later.

Letter of Appreciation

Cmdr. Paul Houhanisin, Officer James Wren: While patrolling the Jamestown Apartments on May 8, 2015, Wren heard a dispatch call regarding a person not breathing in the area of Grand River and Halsted. Because he was close, Wren responded and found the person on the ground. He and Houhanisin administered CPR and attached an AED and oxygen until the patient had a pulse. A Farmington Hills Medic unit then took over.

Unit Citation

Cmdr. Morche, Sgt. Spelman, Officer Mark Keeley, Officer Wren, Fire Reserve McDonald: The officers all responded July 5 to a house fire on Shiawassee, in which an attached garage was fully involved. After knocking down the fire, Spelman and Wren entered the home; a search quickly concluded all occupants had gotten safely out. With a quick response, officers limited damage to the garage, adjoining walls and ceiling of the home. An investigation later revealed that a faulty garage door opener caused the fire.

Unit Citation & Civilian Citation

Cmdr. Morche, Sgt. Spelman, Officer Scott Brown, Officer Lisa Kobernick, Officer Perry Edgell, Officer Mark Umerlik; & Justin McCoy: On August 11, McCoy flagged down Umerlik, a Farmington Hills officer, after confronting someone carrying a white trash bag walking behind a home on Floral Street. Spelman located the bag, which contained electronics and other items, along with an ID. Edgell located someone matching the suspect’s description, and Brown was later able to get a full confession.

Cmdr. Justin DuLong, Pat Hill, Officer Matthew Miracle
Pat Hill had an opportunity to thank Cmdr. Justin DuLong, left, and Officer Matthew Miracle, right, who helped save her life last year.
Life Saving Award

Cmdr. Justin DuLong, Officer Scott Hermann, Officer Matthew Miracle, Paramedics Juwana Manley and Greg Eberlein: DuLong, Hermann, and Miracle responded September 29 to a report of a 70-year-old woman who had passed out. While en route, they were told she had lost consciousness and stopped breathing. DuLong and Hermann began CPR, while Miracle administered AED shocks, until Manley and Eberlein took over. After additional AED shocks, the patient’s vital signs returned and she was transported to Beaumont Farmington Hills Hospital.

Letter of Appreciation

Stephanie Volpe: While working as a hall monitor at Farmington High on October 30, Volpe spotted the outline of a phone in the pocket of a student who had a phone confiscated. Knowing that another student had reported a stolen phone, Volpe contacted school liaison officer Alan Baranski, who later recovered the phone and arrested the student for receiving and concealing stolen property.

Unit Citation

Sgt. Richard Friess, Officer Baranski, Officer Brown: After a Farmington mother reported on November 24 that her 16-year-old daughter had run away, Baranski began following up on multiple tips, while Friess got in touch with a person the mother had identified as someone who might know where her daughter was, and tracked that person’s cell phone. Friess and Brown then interviewed the person, who eventually told them where the missing teen was located.

Unit Citation

Cmdr. Houhanisin, Cmdr. Anderson, Cmdr. Morche, Sgt. Jeffrey Brow, Sgt. Friess, Sgt. Wash, Sgt. Spelman, Records Supervisor Corinne Brazzil: The department’s Field Training Program, supervised by Houhanisin, trained four new public safety officers and four new cadets, conducting more than 2,000 hours of training in 2015.

Letter of Appreciation

Code Enforcement Officer John Koncsol: After a number of calls for assistance at a Farmington home, officers noticed unsanitary conditions and contacted Adult Protective Services. They also turned to Koncsol for help, and he patiently and professionally worked with the residents to provide them with options, resources, and encouragement to improve their living conditions.

Director’s Citation

Sgt. Reginald Madeline: Madeline served as the department’s Fire Marshal from October 29, 2007 to March 7, 2016, and during those nine years, established a number of fire and community safety programs, including the Child Car Seat Inspection Program and the Multi-Family Dwelling Extinguisher Education Program. His thorough inspections greatly contributed to a steep decline in structure fires during his tenure.