Police officers honored in New Garden ceremony
The New Garden Township Police Department merged with the West Grove Police Department to form the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department on Jan. 1 of this year, but on April 13, it took care of some last business from 2016.
It recognized several officers for their outstanding work last year.
The 2016 Chief Gerald W. Davis Award recipient was awarded to the department's former criminal investigator, Sgt. Keith Cowdright. On June 29, 2016, Sgt. Cowdright, now with the Chester County Detectives unit, was called out to investigate a fentanyl laced heroin overdose resulting in a death. He coordinated the many support agencies needed to investigate this case to include working with the US Attorney’s Office and Drug Enforcement Administration in the District of Delaware.
His timely actions, networking and thoroughness resulted in a suspect being identified from Wilmington, DE. Within days, the investigation would lead to a buy/bust arrest of two suspects, the seizure of 50 logs (6,500 bags) of heroin and an illegal weapon. On October 13, 2016 Donte Jacobs, age 28 of Delaware was indicted on the delivery of fentanyl and heroin that resulted in the death of another person.
The ceremony also honored six officers who were recipients of the department's DUI Enforcement Award. They included Officer Maria Mattioni; Officer Stephen Madonna; Officer Benjamin Brown; Officer Jeremy O’Neill; Cpl. John Gibson; Officer Ryan D. Kushner; and Cpl. Joseph P. Versagli, who received a Lifetime Award for his DUI work.
Officer Kushner was also the recipient of a Meritorious Service Award, given to an officer who displays valiant conduct that result in an apprehension or ensures the safety of the community. During the night of June 13, 2016, Kushner acted on information he received about a suspect who was armed and dangerous, and wanted in connection for triple homicide that he committed hours earlier in West Virginia. Kushner placed himself in an area to optimize his chances of locating the wanted person, who was reportedly heading to Southern Chester County.
Kushner located the suspect's vehicle as he left New Garden Township and entered Avondale Borough. Kushner initiated a traffic stop, and subsequently arrested the triple homicide suspect, Erick David Shute, without incident.
Sgt. Joseph F. Greenwalt and O’Neill both received Life Saving Awards from the department, given annually to officers for their heroic or distinguishable actions that result in the saving of a human life.
On Feb. 23, 2016 at about 6:15 pm, Sgt. Greenwalt and Officer O’Neill responded to a call from a co-worker of an individual who had recently exhibited signs of depression. While at the scene, the officers were told by the victim's coworkers that he was not present and not been seen since approximately 5:00 pm. Greenwalt and O’Neill were advised by witnesses that they had not observed any unusual behavior throughout the day.
After searching the immediate area for the person, Greenwalt and O'Neill widened the area of their search, and came across a parked vehicle idling about 50 yards from the building. They approached the vehicle and located the victim inside the vehicle, attempting to commit suicide by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. Greenwalt and O’Neill were able to extricate the victim and immediately rendered aid. Additional assistance was rendered by Avondale Station #23 personnel. The victim was transported to Jennersville Regional Hospital where he was admitted for treatment.
Raymond Sullivan was sworn in as an officer with the department by Magistrate District Judge Matthew Seavey.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.