2017 Police Officer of the Year Awards
Officer Daniel Kolar
Grosse Pointe Park Department of Public Safety
Using an extraordinary blend of courage and intuition, Grosse Pointe Park Police Officer Daniel Kolar single-handedly ended a gruesome domestic-violence attack that unfolded in a desolate field, in a section of Detroit known for danger.
An exemplary member of the Wayne County Action Auto Theft Task Force, Officer Kolar was en route to a follow-up vehicle arson investigation scene just after noon on the early-spring day, when he observed a dark blue Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck parked suspiciously in the middle of a vacant field.
The vehicle’s hood was up and its driver’s-side door open – details that piqued Officer Kolar’s well-trained curious instincts.
After parking and exiting his unmarked squad car, Kolar cautiously approached the truck, intuitively sensing that something wasn’t right.
As he neared the Silverado, a man flashed a gold badge and identified himself as a police officer as he jumped out of the open driver’s-side door of the truck.
The suspect declared himself a member of a fugitive apprehension team, who was in need of a gallon of gas.
When asked to produce a piece of official identification by Officer Kolar, the suspect became agitated and produced only a medical marijuana card.
The suspect then lifted his shirt, revealing a semiautomatic handgun tucked in the waistband of his pants.
Officer Kolar’s years of meticulous training and beyond-the-textbook awareness kicked into high gear.
Within a matter of seconds, Kolar secured the man’s weapon and placed him in handcuffs.
It wasn’t until Kolar inspected the interior of the truck that he realized how potentially lethal the suspicious scenario he wandered upon had become.
There, seated on a blood-drenched passenger seat of the Silverado was a woman, later identified as the suspect’s wife. It was evident she was suffering from recently-inflicted trauma wounds on her head and face.
A closer inspection by Officer Kolar revealed stabbed wounds to both of the women’s hands – indicative of defensive injuries inflicted while fighting off her attacker.
Officer Kolar immediately contacted Detroit Police Department dispatchers and had an ambulance rushed to the scene.
The intensity of the attack became clearer moments later, when it was discovered by EMT crew members that the woman – who was naked except for a blanket – had suffered gunshot wounds to both legs.
A trail of her bloody clothes was scattered throughout the vacant field – a field where the woman would have been left for dead if not for the extraordinary actions of Officer Kolar.
Post-incident interviews revealed that her husband, the man Kolar arrested, was the woman’s attacker.
Officer Kolar’s quick-thinking actions resulted in the successful rescue of a brutalized woman and the arrest of her husband. Intuition and instincts are vital police officer tools. They clearly played an important role on March 16th. There can be no doubt Kolar’s awareness saved a woman’s life.
The Police Officers Association of Michigan proudly honors Officer Kolar by presenting him with the Police Officer of the Year Award.
Sergeant Chris Bacik
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department
Over the course of their careers in society’s most dangerous profession, law enforcement officers take many kinds of risks. The degree of risk ranges in severity from low risk routine patrol duties to sudden life-threatening, deadly emergencies. Obviously, an officer working alone facing an armed suspect who was pointing a weapon at him and who refused orders to stand down, rises to the level of a deadly force emergency.
This scenario was not merely theoretical for Sgt. Chris Bacik, a 15-year veteran of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.
On February 3 of 2016, he had to face those exact deadly circumstances. His performance and restraint that day rose to the level necessary to meet that life-threatening danger in the safest possible manner.
The situation which led to this potentially deadly encounter was set in motion when Bacik was on patrol in Springfield, a separate city within the borders of the City of Battle Creek. Shortly after noon he was notified that the vehicle used in an armed robbery committed several days earlier was just spotted traveling near his current location.
Bacik spent the next several minutes unsuccessfully searching the local streets for a 1990s-vintage pickup truck that matched the description in the BOL issued the day of the robbery. After carefully checking a large commercial parking lot without success, he was summoned by a supervisor to a different location. While on the way, his observational skills paid off when as he drove past a gas station, he spotted a ‘90s-era brown Chevy pickup, which was an exact match of the wanted truck.
After executing a U-turn, Bacik saw that the target vehicle had pulled onto the road and was ahead of him in traffic. He moved up behind the truck and advised dispatch of the situation. He then activated his overhead lights, which instantly developed into a chase. Instead of stopping the driver accelerated and took off. The suspect turned onto a residential street lined on either side with homes. The suspect continued through the neighborhood at a high rate of speed until he suddenly turned into a home’s driveway. He quickly exited the vehicle, and ran into a detached garage through the service door.
Bacik informed dispatch of the suspect’s specific location. However, there wasn’t enough time for backup officers to arrive before a crisis point was reached. The suspect abruptly exited the garage brandishing a pistol which he pointed directly at Bacik. Bacik shouted a command to “drop the gun.” The command had no effect. The subject continued to ignore the repeated order to drop his gun, while continually moving in and out of cover. Each time Bacik spotted him he was still aiming his weapon as Bacik. Bacik, realizing his life was in danger, while carefully considering the safety of innocent bystanders, fired his first shots at the suspect. They were unsuccessful. He made tactical position changes and waited for the suspect to again expose himself. The suspect suddenly jumped up from behind his pickup truck, still threatening Bacik with his gun. Bacik’s new position allowed him to safely fire more shots at the suspect. Two shots hit their mark and the man dropped to the ground. The suspect, 50-year-old Derrick T. Shirk, was a parole violator whom the county prosecutor’s office would subsequently charge as a habitual offender, along with charges of fleeing and eluding, assault with a dangerous weapon, and resisting and obstructing police in connection with the Springfield case.
The results of their potentially tragic confrontation, which took place at mid-day in a highly populated residential area, reflect thoughtful, careful police work and commendable courage from the start of the incident to its sudden and violent resolution. Bottom line: The suspect, a multiple-offense felon, was wounded and is once again behind bars. Due to Bacik’s caution, no one else was injured.
Sgt. Chris Bacik, you acted with remarkable personal bravery and exemplary professionalism in locating, pursuing and ultimately apprehending a dangerous felon whose lifetime history of law-breaking have clearly established him as a menace to the community.
We are privileged to salute you as POAM Police Officer of the Year.
Shirk was struck twice in the torso during the incident and was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo for treatment –in connection with the Feb. 3 incident.
Sergeant Jeffrey Garrison & Corporal Timothy Clive
Dearborn Police Officers
The calm stillness of a routine Sunday afternoon in the lobby of the Dearborn Police Department was abruptly changed by the unthinkable on February 5 when two heavily armed men wearing ski masks, body armor and assault weapons marched boldly through the facility’s east entrance with dark, stubborn attitudes and a mission to prove a dramatic point.
The intruders’ terroristic garb consisted of all black clothing, combined with an AK-47 assault rifle one of the men was carrying, was enough to cause a recently-released inmate waiting for a ride in the lobby to make a frightened dash to safety behind a nearby desk.
The pair of intruders’ presence was as bizarre as it was daunting. One hauled a camera-mounted tripod; the other, in addition to the assault rifle, also had a holstered hand gun. With a violent confrontation looming like a lit match inches from an open gas tank, the heroic and take-control actions of Dearborn Sergeant Jeff Garrison and Corporal Timothy Clive intervened to extinguish the threat with a display of composure and teamwork.
Sergeant Garrison acted quickly after making the initial visual sighting of the suspects as they approached the east entrance of the department’s lobby.
Sergeant Garrison alerted Corporal Clive, who was stationed at the lobby’s front desk, of the suspects’ imminent arrival. Garrison ordered Clive and a civilian intern to take cover behind the desk.
Uncertain as to whether he was about to encounter a terrorist threat, a Suicide by Cop situation or a showdown with a couple of psychotic modern-day desperadoes, Sergeant Garrison retrieved a rifle from a locked cabinet and advanced to the lobby area with another sergeant close behind.
With the intensity of the scenario escalating rapidly, Corporal Clive left the cover of the desk to help guide the terrified former inmate to safety behind the desk.
The suspects walked briskly into the lobby. They were on a mission.
The suspect carrying the tripod and camera quickly approached the desk and set up the device at an angle so that the impending confrontation between his cohort and the Dearborn officers could be recorded.
The suspects were warned firmly and repeatedly to drop their weapons.
As the suspect armed with the AK-47 and the hand gun strode into the building, Sergeant Garrison again ordered him with a loud and challenging voice to stop and put his weapons on the ground.
Both suspects refused the orders and stated that they were “legal” and inside the facility to file a complaint.
After ignoring repeated orders to disarm themselves, one of the suspects responded by saying that, “The police work for me and that the department is an open building.”
As the drama intensified, Sergeant Garrison and Corporal Clive demonstrated incredible restraint by not shooting the armed rebels.
Finally, after several more commands by Sergeant Garrison, the suspect armed with the assault rifle recognized his peril, and placed it on the floor, with the muzzle down. He then followed directions to lie down and place his hands behind his head.
The second suspect continued to resist the officers’ orders.
A coat concealed most of the second suspect’s clothing, preventing the officers from knowing whether the man was also armed. Corporal Clive secured the tripod so that it could not be used as a weapon, and after the still-rebellious suspect repeatedly refused orders to join his partner on the floor, he was tackled to the ground and placed in handcuffs by multiple officers.
A post-incident investigation revealed how volatile the episode could have gotten: The heavily-armed suspect was carrying a Glock 19 and an AK47 – both of which were loaded. The Glock, in fact, had a round in the chamber.
The rifle was stocked with 47 rounds – and both suspects were wearing heavy ballistic armor vests.
A search of the suspects’ vehicle revealed a second AK-47 in the trunk, along with an AR-15, and a number of loaded magazines.
As it turned out, these individuals were right-to-carry psycho confrontation fanatics, notorious throughout central Michigan for their fearless brand of false bravery that always carried right to the edge of a near-combustible level of tragedy.
The suspect who was transporting the cameras and tripod was wearing a small transmitter that was connected to an anti-police website. Investigators discovered that once activated, the transmitter sends a GPS signal to other website users, notifying other anti-police individuals to respond to the GPS location when the transmitter’s wearer encounters the law enforcement.
If not for the composed, tactically-sound efforts of Sergeant Garrison and Corporal Clive, the situation could have easily evolved into a full-blown tragedy, with almost certain death.
They displayed incredible restraint and heroism during an intense exchange with individuals who were baiting a confrontation with police.
The Police Officers Association of Michigan would like to commend Sergeant Jeff Garrison and Corporal Timothy Clive by presenting them each with the 2017 Police Officer of the Year Award.
Deputy Andrew Jenkins
Eaton County Sheriff’s Department
Police officers know that at any moment of any workday they might suddenly find themselves at the center of a life-threatening situation. Eaton County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Jenkins experienced this reality first-hand December 20, 2016. Thanks to the way he responded, multiple lives were saved and he became a genuine hero.
Jenkins was nearing the end of what had been an uneventful shift at the department’s Delta Township substation when a fire alert abruptly sounded just before 11pm. A condominium, one of several attached units in a large structure only a short distance away, was in flames.
He raced to the location and instantly recognized that anyone unlucky enough to be inside the blazing unit would be in extreme danger. In the next few seconds extreme danger became his problem when he discovered that three people – a woman, her husband, who was an amputee, and their disabled daughter – were still inside of the burning condo and in imminent deadly peril. The crisis was escalating, and it was obvious that attempting to save them would mean putting his own life on the line.
Jenkins didn’t hesitate. He pushed open the condo’s door and was confronted with a scene of sheer desperation. The mother was struggling to move her disabled adult daughter to safety. Her physically handicapped husband, who had already been burned over much of his body, was lying immobilized on the floor a few feet from the fire. Flames were rapidly closing in and noxious smoke was filling the entire unit. Even worse, the blaze was obviously on the verge of erupting into a full-fledged inferno in which none of them could possibly survive.
Taking immediate action and quickly executing a plan was critical. Jenkins began by maneuvering the helpless burned father toward the door away from the flames. He then noticed that the mother was unable to pull their daughter to safety, so he left the incapacitated father by the doorway, far enough from the advancing fire to buy a little precious time. He was then able to assist the mother by picking up the daughter and carrying her outside to his just-arrived colleague, Deputy Andrew Schlegel. This allowed the mother to escape. He then went back to the doorway and quickly finished removing the father from the residence.
Quickly is the key word because just seconds after the father was rescued the fire “flashed,” a term meaning that all of the gases within the condo combusted within an instant, generating hellishly intense heat. The extraordinary chaos of the scenario was exacerbated by exploding rounds of firearms ammunition stored within the residence. Fortunately, no one was harmed by the bizarre effect of the fire.
Everyone involved in the incident survived. The mother and daughter sustained minor injuries. The father was hospitalized in critical condition and underwent a course of treatment for severe burns. He has since recovered and has rejoined his wife and daughter. Jenkins was monitored at a Lansing hospital over night and released the following morning to resume his duties.
Deputy Andrew Jenkins, the three people you rescued from their burning residence are alive and together today only because of your extraordinary courage, professional excellence, and dedication to the highest standards of service and protection. In order to save that family, you took immediate and effective action that required jeopardizing your own safety by entering into a highly dangerous and potentially catastrophic environment.
With great admiration for your selfless bravery and enormous pride in your life-saving heroism, we salute you as POAM Police Officer of the Year.
2017 Distinguished Service Award
Officer Andrew Percha, Centerline Public Safety Officers Association
2017 POAM Loyalty Award
“Every year, there’s always going to be an incident where cops will run through a door, to a burning car and save lives. It takes a special person to be out there. But that guy who answers the page in the middle of the night are the men and women who are here.
The most important thing is that you continue to persevere. It’s a hard job. There’s no substitute for good, first line guys. Some do it for a long time. It might mean that they gave up a promotion or answered calls when their kids were crying or when the turkey is done. This next award is called the Loyalty Award. It goes to people who have been in service for a long time, who keep answering that call no matter what.” – Jim Tignanelli
Kent County Law Enforcement Association
Glenn is one of those guys who always has fun with what he does. Whether it’s a negotiation or just another day. I’ve had incidents at 3am in the morning and I can always call Glenn.
Dearborn Police Officers Association
Al retired a year and a half ago, and he’s one of those guys who I’m really sad he’s retiring. He knows more about what’s going on in Dearborn than anyone else. He’s a great guy. Congratulations.
“Thank you for this award. I have the utmost respect for POAM. There’s no better definition of loyalty than the Police Officers Association of Michigan. Thank you very much.” – Alan Brzys
2017 POAM Man of the Year
Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., Retired Michigan Supreme Court
“I’m deeply touched, I am always touched by these events. I’ve been coming here since my hair was dark. You all exhibit such heroism and dedication. You protect us and our families. These are difficult times for all of us. As all of us are watching as officers are raided, but the heroism and dedication that these awards reflect are a reflection of all of you, all the time. We need to get these events of heroism out there more often. These people see so much negative about law enforcement. We need to have a much more positive and robust presentation of what you do every day. Thank you to all of you. Thank you for this award.” – Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.