A normally emotional presentation carried some extra charge Tuesday as Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish recognized four officers for life-saving heroism at the Dothan City Commission meeting.
One of the reasons? The actions of one officer helped save the life of another.
Parrish and Dothan Police Department Capt. Todd David presented “Life-Saving Awards” to officers Lawrence Wells, Jake Gillilan and Chase Etress and Sgt. Dereck Wieczorek. The presentation to Wells carried major significance for Parrish and other officers as Wells was the officer who discovered Lt. Will Glover had suffered a major medical episode while on duty Dec. 10, 2018.
“Officer Wells passed the (city’s) downtown gas pumps and noticed Lt. Will Glover’s door was open,” Parrish said. “He thought that was suspicious.”
When Wells investigated, he discovered Glover had collapsed to the ground due to an aneurysm. His instinct and quick actions are credited with saving Glover’s life.
While Glover could not attend the presentation to Wells, Capt. Will Benny used videoconferencing technology to help Glover watch the ceremony. Glover’s wife and Benny also presented Wells with a gift.
Parrish recognized Gillilan for his actions when he discovered a person had suffered a major laceration on Aug. 15, 2018. Gillilan applied a tourniquet, which allowed medical personnel time to respond to the scene.
Etress performed CPR on an elderly woman on March 24, an action Dothan Fire Department officials said saved the woman’s life. Parrish recognized Wieczorek’s actions when he convinced a man threatening suicide to put his gun down and unlock his bedroom door.
Parrish also honored two other officers for other contributions to the community – Nicholas Baity and Matthew Cole.
Baity earned the Dothan Police Officer of the Year and the Medal of Merit honors as voted on by the department. In less than three years of joining the DPD force, Baity has displayed immense leadership and commitment to the organization, Parrish said.
Baity was also recognized for his response to a man’s rampage in late February that resulted in a traffic fatality.
Cole earned the Police Cross Award for his community service. Parrish said Cole always carries extra food, water and clothing in his patrol vehicle so he can provide those items to those in need.
The presentations coincide with National Police Week, which Mayor Mark Saliba recognized with a proclamation. National Police Week begins May 12 and ends May 18 and includes Peace Officers’ Memorial Day on May 15.