Awards given out last week at the Rutland City Police Department Awards Ceremony brought attention to the work officers do that goes beyond arrests and traffic stops.
During the ceremony at Tuttle Hall Theater at College of St. Joseph, members of the city police department were recognized for life-saving actions such as disarming a woman who was asking police to shoot her, clearing apartments when police got to a fire ahead of firefighters and, in one case, caring for three children after their mother died abruptly.
At the fifth annual awards event, police were also recognized for coming to work, sometimes for years at a time, without taking a sick day, helping train other police officers, dedicating themselves to physical fitness and safe driving. A few citations were based on arresting someone wanted for a crime, but most incidents were not the kind that end in someone being taken away in handcuffs.
The awards were handed out by Police Chief Brian Kilcullen, Mayor David Allaire and Police Commissioner Sean Sargeant.
“We’re here to recognize those who embody our core values of respect, integrity, honesty, teamwork, professionalism, loyalty and courage. I hope some of what you hear today will inspire you in some small way,” Kilcullen said.
Two of the big awards recognized officers who once served with the Rutland City Police Department. The Sergeant Bernard “Skip” Mulcahey Award was given to Officer Sean Maguire.
A three-year member of the police department, Maguire became a field-training officer this year.
“One day, prior to the scheduled training, Officer Maguire broke his ankle while at work, in the line of duty. Officer Maguire’s dedication to this task was so strong, he attended and completed the (field-training officer) class with a broken leg,” Kilcullen said.
Mulcahey, whose 35-year career with the Rutland City Police Department started in 1972, died in 2014.
Maguire is taking over as the domestic violence investigator for the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office.
An award named for James Baker, Kilcullen’s predecessor, was given to Cpl. Andrew Plemmons.
Plemmons moved to Rutland to start a church, Sargeant said.
“When Cpl. Plemmons responded to an untimely death investigation recently, he discovered there were three young children (who) had just lost their mother. His compassionate sense of community kicked in. He knew these children would be forever devastated by the death of their mother, that he needed to help them in any way possible. Cpl. Plemmons and his family immediately cared for these children, sharing their home with them, providing a safe and loving environment to them,” Sargeant said.
Plemmons said Baker was the police chief who hired him.
“I didn’t expect it at all. Didn’t do any of the stuff I did to get any kind of recognition,” Plemmons said.
After the ceremony, Plemmons, who said he works with a “great bunch of guys who put their lives on the line every day,” said he was fostering the children and hoped to adopt them.
Plemmons was also one of two recipients of an award for saving a life. For Plemmons, the award was for an incident when he responded to a man laying on the sidewalk unresponsive on Sept. 3. Plemmons performed CPR until Regional Ambulance arrived to take over.
Sgt. Adam Lucia, who was also given citations and an award for his efforts to make the highways safer, received the other life-saving award for an incident on April 10.
While on his way to investigate a different matter, Lucia was flagged down by a woman who asked for help with her child. The child was not breathing, but Lucia performed chest compression, which allowed the child to breathe until emergency medical technicians arrived to take over.
Kilcullen said the child recovered fully.
“It’s pretty humbling,” Lucia said about the awards. “It’s always nice to be recognized, but I’m just doing my job and trying to serve the city as best I can. That’s all.”
Detective Daniel Meytin’s citation, which Kilcullen said was for Meytin’s work as a domestic violence investigator, came at an unusual time. The ceremony took place on his last day on the job, prior to leaving Vermont for a job with the federal government.
Meytin, who was with the Rutland City Police Department for four years, said he was going to miss his coworkers, friends and the Rutland community.
“Bittersweet is a pretty good word, cliché as it is,” he said.