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Massachusetts police officers, troopers, presented George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery



Photos courtesy of Massachusetts State Police

WORCESTER – Today, in a ceremony at Worcester’s Mechanics Hall, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy presented the 39th Annual Trooper George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery. The Hanna Awards honor the memory of Massachusetts State Police Trooper George Hanna, killed in the line of duty in 1983, and recognize members of law enforcement for exemplary acts of bravery.

“There is extraordinary bravery across all of the Commonwealth’s police departments, and the Hanna Awards offer us an opportunity to honor the courageous men and women who protect and serve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Like Trooper George Hanna, the dedicated women and men in law enforcement perform exceptional work guided by their deeply rooted commitment to helping others, no matter the risk to themselves.”

“Members of our law enforcement community have demonstrated their extraordinary capacity to adapt and evolve to meet the public safety challenges of our time,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Today’s Hanna Awards remind us that in the most challenging and dangerous situations, police officers embrace the needs of our communities, continually renew their training and place their skilled expertise at the service of all.”

Since 1983, 145 individuals have received the Hanna Award Medal of Honor, the highest honor the Commonwealth bestows on a law enforcement officer. This year’s prestigious award ceremony honored 32 recipients, hailing from Worcester, Winthrop, Wakefield, Brockton, Braintree, Boston, and the Massachusetts State Police Departments.

“The stories of today’s Hanna Award recipients illustrate the extraordinary bravery required in this profession,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said. “As we honor these men and women today, we also express our gratitude to their loved ones who know too well the absence of their loved one at the dinner table, on a holiday, or at a school event, the families who endure the weight of uncertainty until he or she returns home safely from a shift.”

Each year, local and state agencies submit Hanna Award applications, which are reviewed by a committee of public safety and law enforcement executives. Upon selecting individuals or teams as recipients, the committee considers the facts of each nomination to classify the award as either a medal of honor or valor. Honor is the highest award for those who demonstrate extraordinary bravery and courage in the face of extreme risk and certain and imminent danger to life or limb. Valor is awarded to those whose valor in a single incident goes above and beyond the call of duty, and who demonstrate selfless bravery despite the potential for danger to themselves.

On Saturday, February 26, 1983, Trooper George Hanna conducted a motor vehicle stop in Auburn. Three men and two women were in the vehicle, and when Trooper Hanna removed the occupants for questioning, he was instantaneously shot six times by one of the male suspects. He died later that evening in a Worcester hospital, leaving behind his wife, Marilyn, and three children, Deborah, Kimberly, and Michael. Deborah and Kimberly participated in today’s program, presenting each award alongside Governor Baker.

In addition to the Medals of Honor and Valor, the Selection Committee reviewed a special event for which they recognized a 34-year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police, retired Trooper David L. Green, posthumously.

On June 26, 2021, Green heard a large truck crash near his home in the Town of Winthrop. With no regard for his personal safety, Green left the safety of his home to render aid. Turning into an alley next to his house, Green immediately encountered a deeply disturbed, armed gunman. Unarmed and a black man himself, Green confronted the suspect in an attempt to end the threat he posed to the community. During the confrontation, the suspect fatally shot Green. Although actions outside of formal duty as a retired law enforcement officer do not meet the Hanna Award criteria, the committee unanimously agreed that David Green epitomized exceptional bravery and disregard for his safety in the face of grave danger.

The 2022 Hanna Award recipients and incident summaries are as follows:

Sergeant Nicholas C. Bettano

Winthrop Police Department

Medal of Honor

Sergeant Bettano was dispatched to the Winthrop motor vehicle accident that resulted in a stolen truck being left abandoned after the crash into the side of a building. While en route, Sergeant Bettano also received a report of gunfire.

One block from the reported accident, Sergeant Bettano rendered aid and protection to a woman lying in the middle of the road with serious gunshot injuries. A witness yelled to alert Bettano that the gunman was one block behind him carrying a firearm. Moving toward the subject, Bettano ordered the subject numerous times to drop the weapon as he took cover behind a parked car. The suspect raised his firearm and pointed it at Sergeant Bettano who returned fire, striking the subject.

Sergeant Bettano, without any regard for his safety, rendered aid to a gunshot victim, engaged the threat, and took appropriate action. Although two victims died because of fatal gunshot injuries, Sergeant Bettano’s brave action saved countless lives that terrible day.

Officer Robert T. Otis and Officer Christopher D. Perez

Brockton Police Department

Medal of Valor

On the evening of Thursday, October 7, 2021, several officers were dispatched to a man with a gun call on Taber Avenue in the City of Brockton. As the first on scene, Officer Robert Otis and Officer Christopher Perez observed a car resting against a fire hydrant with a driver who had been shot.

As Officer Perez returned to his police car for a medical bag to render aid and Officer Otis retrieved a patrol rifle from his police car, Otis noticed an air conditioner on the second floor of a nearby residence begin to move. As he alerted Perez, the air conditioner was suddenly removed from the window, and a male began to shoot at the Officers.

Despite being struck with two bullets fired by the suspect, Otis assumed position next to a police car and returned fire with the rifle. Officer Perez took cover behind the police car and moved to the vehicle’s passenger side. He opened the passenger door, observed Otis injured, and crawled through the vehicle’s interior. Perez helped pull Otis through the vehicle and out the passenger door, where both officers took cover.

In the meantime, first responders created a secure perimeter, evacuated residents, and deployed additional resources to the scene. With Otis secure and enroute to a medical center to treat his gunshot wounds, Perez remained on scene with a detective to continue the emergency response.

In the following hours, the suspect emerged from the home and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Detective Christopher J. Grace and Detective John E. Ryan

Wakefield Police Department

Medal of Honor

On January 19, 2021, Detectives Christopher Grace and John Ryan responded to a request for immediate assistance from two patrol officers in Wakefield who discovered a homeowner to be the victim of a homicide. As part of a search of the home for additional victims or suspects, the Detectives entered a small, cluttered basement. Suddenly and without warning, the suspect emerged from hiding, charged from just a few feet away with a knife raised above his head, and yelled, “You’ll never take me alive.”

While attempting to retreat, Detective Ryan tripped and began to fall backwards while the suspect was almost on top of him. Fearing for his life, Detective Ryan discharged his department-issued firearm. Detective Grace, also in fear that Detective Ryan was in immediate danger, discharged his department issued firearm. The suspect, eventually identified as the homicide victim’s son, was stopped before causing harm to either of the Detectives.

Officer William Cushing, Officer Matthew Donoghue, and Officer Richard Seibert

Braintree Police Department

Medal of Honor

On the afternoon of June 4, 2021, Braintree Police Officers Matthew Donoghue and Richard Seibert responded to a domestic incident. A woman called 911 and stated that her boyfriend had choked her and held a gun to her head before leaving her apartment. K9 Officer William Cushing was called in to track the suspect with his partner, K9 Kitt.

The three officers were on high alert as they began their search for the suspect in the dense wooded area that limited their field of view. About 100 yards into the woods, Kitt sensed the suspect’s presence. Unknown to the officers, he was lying in wait behind a large rock only 10-15 feet away.

Suddenly, the suspect opened fire and an intense gun battle ensued with approximately 50 rounds exchanged. K9 Kitt leaped into action, pursued the shooter, and diverted his attention from other members of the team who ultimately eliminated the threat.

In the exchange, Kitt was struck by gunfire, killing the eleven-year veteran of the force. Donoghue and Cushing were both hit, and, despite their injuries, both continued to engage the suspect along with Seibert. Seibert’s experience as a sixteen-year veteran of the force and a former U.S. Army combat medic proved essential. His swift application of a tourniquet saved Cushing’s life in the aftermath of the attack.

Officer Paulmichael Bertocchi, Officer Nicolas Cubarney, Officer Zachary MacInnis, and Officer Max McGuire

Boston Police Department

Medal of Honor

On the evening of October 6, 2021, Boston Police Officers responded to a 911 call from a woman who stated her brother had just assaulted her. Officers were familiar with the parties involved due to a history of violence towards police at this address, including an incident in 2018, when a female officer was nearly strangled to death.

As officers arrived on scene and entered the first-floor hallway, several family members were engaged in the domestic dispute. One female physically blocked all officers from proceeding up the staircase towards the suspect. While a Boston Police officer tried to de-escalate the situation on the first floor, other officers attempted to establish contact with the male suspect who became enraged, yelling at officers, and then fled up the stairs towards the third floor.

Officers Bertocchi, Cubarney, MacInnis, and McGuire proceeded up the staircase and were able to regain a visual of the suspect who was now crouched behind the railing at the top of the third floor. They repeatedly attempted to speak with the suspect from the floor below. The suspect continued his hostile behavior and disobeyed all verbal commands. MacInnis and McGuire began climbing the stairs when the suspect quickly stood up, wielding a large knife he had hidden, and violently attacked MacInnis, stabbing him in the head and neck while tackling him down the stairs. Cubarney witnessed the attack and was able to quickly discharge his firearm, striking the suspect, who was on top of MacInnis at this time.

MacInnis was able to get to his feet and exit the apartment, where another officer assisted in applying first aid until Boston EMS arrived and transported him to Boston Medical Center for further treatment.

Responding officers also gave first aid to the suspect, who was transported to the hospital and later pronounced dead. Were it not for the officers’ brave and swift actions, MacInnis may not have survived, and the suspect could have injured many more officers.

SWAT Team Members: Sergeants John D. Conway, Ian Mahoney, Joel McCarthy, and Michael Ridge, as well as Officers Brendan Bosse, Brian Carlson, Christopher Carr, Sean Francis, Otis Harewood, Bruce Hicks, Derek Marcoaldi, Frank Nogueira, Jamie Pietroski, and Peter Zographos

Boston Police Department

Medal of Honor

On the morning of November 9, 2021, officers assigned to District B-3 in Mattapan responded to a call for a person with a gun inside an apartment building in Dorchester. On arrival, officers spoke to the victim who stated that the man pulled the gun on her and her son inside their apartment. The victim stated that she and her son were able to get out of the apartment, but the man stayed behind. Victim further stated the man had a history of, not only, mental issues but issues with police, as well. In light of the obvious threat, officers on scene quickly evacuated the building, established a safety perimeter and made a call to the SWAT Team. On arrival, BPD SWAT quickly established strategic positions in and around the building.

In short time, negotiators were brought in, in hopes of de-escalating and bringing the incident to a peaceful conclusion. However, with each passing hour, the incident grew increasingly tense. Throughout the stand-off, SWAT Officers were able to keep a close eye on the armed suspect after sliding a camera under the apartment door. With the video surveillance showing the man angrily and repeatedly pointing his gun in the direction of the officers outside the apartment door, SWAT Officers knew they had to be prepared for the worst.

Close to seven hours into the stand-off, the worst occurred with gun shots ringing out as the suspect fired and struck several members of the SWAT Team stationed outside the rear of the location. As two of their team members were treated for injuries, Zographos, the door breacher, with only the RAM in his hand, slammed open the rear apartment door allowing fellow SWAT members Bosse, Hicks, McCarthy, and Mahoney to give chase. All the while, officers dodged a hail of bullets while the suspect continued firing. But, as the suspect ran toward the apartment’s front door, Harewood, Pietroski, Francis, Carr, and Nogueira returned gunfire that ultimately bought the hours-long armed stand-off to an end. The suspect received immediate medical attention but was pronounced dead at the scene. Two members of the SWAT Team shot during the stand-off were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers Enmanuel Familia, Steven Barnett, Angela Consiglio, Devin Davenport and Scott Morin; Trooper Amy M. Waterman

Worcester Police Department and Massachusetts State Police

Medal of Honor

Residents and visitors of Worcester know Green Hill Park as a picturesque public space; However, the City prohibits swimming in its central pond due to hazardous debris at the bottom and strong currents that can challenge the strongest swimmers.

In the early afternoon of June 4, 2021, Worcester Police Officers responded to the Green Hill Pond for an undetermined number of swimmers in distress. As events on scene unfolded, first responders determined there were three teenagers in distress in the water. Officer Morin entered the water to render assistance and guide two swimmers to shore. Meanwhile, officers continued to look for a third swimmer.

Officer Enmanuel Familia made repeated attempts to locate and rescue the third swimmer underwater. When he did not resurface, Officers Steven Barnett, Angela Consiglio, Devin Davenport, and Trooper Amy Waterman immediately expanded their search and rescue operation for both the young man as well as Officer Familia. They did so without hesitation, well aware of the life-threatening, inherent dangers of attempting water rescue, and without any dive equipment to protect themselves in a water rescue.

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