The 2nd Police District Advisory Council honored five police officers during a meeting at the Philadelphia Protestant Home on Tabor Avenue.
The PDAC honored Officers of the Month for March, April and May.
Officers Padraic Feeney and Kevin McGrorty arrested a man who tried to speed away with one of the officers hanging onto his minivan in March. Officer Michael Melvin stopped two people who were beating a cab driver in April, and Officers Michael Long and Anthony Rosselli rescued two people from a burning building in May.
According to police, Feeney and McGrorty were in plain clothes but riding marked police bikes in the late afternoon on March 15 when they tried to stop a vehicle. The officers were on a burglary detail in the neighborhood around Sanger Street and Rising Sun Avenue, where there had been a rise in daytime burglaries.
The two noticed Blake Johnson, 19, who police wanted to talk to about a recent home invasion. Johnson, who also is known as Blizz, was seen going into a green minivan behind a home on the 500 block of Godfrey Ave. A few days earlier, a man matching Johnson’s description had been reported with a gun in a green minivan.
Although the two officers were in plain clothes, they had their badges visible and around their necks. They identified themselves and ordered Johnson to stop. He did but then pulled forward. Feeney drew his weapon and ran to the driver’s door. The officer reached into the van to try to turn off the ignition, but community relations officer Mark Mroz said Johnson sped away with Feeney hanging on to the side of the van.
Feeney fired his gun and managed to get off of the van, which then crashed into a tree. Johnson was not struck by the gunfire. Mroz said Johnson tried to run away, but the two officers caught him.
They found what turned out to be marijuana in the van. Johnson faces charges of assault, resisting arrest and other offenses. He is free on bail and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 9 in courtroom 1003 of the Criminal Justice Center, 13th and Filbert streets.
Early on April 17, Melvin arrested two people who allegedly were beating up and robbing a cab driver.
Mroz said the driver took a man and woman to an address near Cottman and Bustleton avenues, but the fares told the cabbie that he had not taken them to the correct place. When he refused to take them anywhere else, they allegedly pulled him out of his cab and started beating him. They also took $25 from him, Mroz said.
Somebody called 911 to report the beating. Melvin, who was patrolling in the area, heard a police radio broadcast, got to the scene and arrested Erik Barrett, 24, and Laura Decero, 23. Both were charged with criminal conspiracy, robbery, assault and other offenses.
Long and Rosselli rescued two senior citizens from their burning home early on May 5, Mroz said.
They were on patrol when they responded to a radio call about a fire on the 700 block of Princeton Ave. The two arrived before firefighters and were told by neighbors that two elderly people who had not been seen getting out were still in the burning building.
Rosselli then notified police radio for additional help, and the two officers went to the front door. They heard faint calls for help. They then went inside to look for the couple.
The officers began calling out to the people trapped inside, but received no reply. They heard movement in a rear bedroom and crawled through heavy smoke toward the sounds.
They saw two figures stumbling in the room. The man and woman were disoriented, Mroz said, and resisted the officers’ attempts to save them.
Long and Rosselli, who felt themselves becoming affected by the smoke and heat, pulled the two out of the burning bedroom.
The rescued people were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation. The officers were not injured.
Capt. Michael McCarrick, commander of the 2nd Police District, said burglaries, always a problem in Philadelphia, worsen in warm months.
“Burglary is a crime of opportunity,” said McCarrick.
When the weather warms and residents don’t close and lock their windows, burglars can easily cut through screens, and some gain entry to homes by pushing in window air conditioners.
The advisory council will not conduct sessions in July or August. The group’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m., at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. ••
Contact reporter John Loftus at 215-354-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org