8th district officers honored for stellar service

The 8th Po­lice Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia holds an awards ce­re­monyat Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity, hon­or­ing eight po­lice of­ficers for out­stand­ing per­form­ance on Wed­nes­day, Decem­ber 5, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

Sui­cide at­tempts, gun­point rob­ber­ies, home in­va­sions, road rage as­saults, at­temp­ted rapes and car­jack­ings: the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict has seen all of those crimes and a lot more dur­ing the second half of 2012.

But all of these in­cid­ents have at least one thing in com­mon. Patrol of­ficers were the com­munity’s first line of de­fense in each case.

Com­munity lead­ers and po­lice su­per­visors gathered re­cently at Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity to pay trib­ute to some of the 8th dis­trict of­ficers who have made the greatest crime­fight­ing im­pact dur­ing the last six months. Sev­en mem­bers of the dis­trict col­lec­ted Of­ficer of the Month awards.

“There were real people who really needed help and the of­ficers stepped up to the plate and did it,” said Capt. Len Ditch­kof­sky, com­mand­er of the 8th dis­trict.

Of­ficer Dan Richard­son was se­lec­ted as the June win­ner for cap­tur­ing a rob­bery sus­pect soon after he al­legedly mugged a wo­man on the Route 66 SEPTA trol­ley. The in­cid­ent happened on June 24 at 8:35 p.m. When the trol­ley stopped at 7200 Frank­ford Ave., a man ap­proached the vic­tim and her daugh­ter, then grabbed the wo­man’s purse and cell phone be­fore flee­ing to the street. A short time later, Richard­son spot­ted a man fit­ting the de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect on the 8300 block of Frank­ford Ave. The of­ficer ar­res­ted the sus­pect after the vic­tims iden­ti­fied him as the cul­prit.

Mark Mazzoni and Andy Jerico were named Of­ficers of the Month for Ju­ly for cap­tur­ing an armed rob­bery sus­pect. The crime oc­curred at a loc­al Metro PCS store on Ju­ly 1. The rob­ber al­legedly poin­ted a gun to a wo­man clerk’s head, de­man­ded money from the re­gister and stole her purse. He fled be­fore po­lice ar­rived.

The crime re­mained un­solved on Ju­ly 7 when Mazzoni and Jerico were called to the 8300 block of Frank­ford Ave. to in­vest­ig­ate a re­port that a man fit­ting the de­scrip­tion of the rob­ber was in Pennypack Park. The of­ficers ar­res­ted the man after an eye­wit­ness to the crime iden­ti­fied him as the rob­ber.

Also dur­ing Ju­ly, Mazzoni ar­res­ted a man and wo­man who al­legedly broke in­to a house on the 9200 block of Mel­rose St., where a girl was home at the time. Nobody was in­jured dur­ing the crime, which oc­curred Ju­ly 13. Sur­veil­lance video helped Mazzoni identi­fy the burg­lars, who were ar­res­ted two days later after board­ing a SEPTA bus on the 7400 block of Tor­res­dale Ave.

Fi­nally, on Ju­ly 18, Mazzoni re­spon­ded to a re­port of a car­jack­ing at Wood­haven and Knights roads. The thief fled in the vic­tim’s car to the area of Academy Road and Brandon Drive, but the vic­tim was able to track him down and point him out to the ar­riv­ing of­ficer. Mazzoni pulled the thief from the car and ar­res­ted him.

No awards were giv­en for Au­gust.

The Septem­ber Of­ficers of the Month were Chris­toph­er Adams, Colleen McLain and Rassheem Mor­ris. They were honored for sav­ing a wo­man who threatened to shoot her­self in the head. The in­cid­ent oc­curred in a house on the 4700 block of Ash­burn­er St. on Sept. 9. They found the wo­man in a bed­room with her broth­er. She had a loaded gun poin­ted at her head.

The of­ficers asked the broth­er to leave the room, then con­vinced the wo­man to put down the weapon. She was taken in­to cus­tody for psy­chi­at­ric eval­u­ation.

Of­ficer  Harry Taylor was in­volved in sev­er­al ma­jor cases in Oc­to­ber to earn top hon­ors for that month. On Oct. 2, a girl was re­por­ted miss­ing from the Steph­en Dec­atur School in Park­wood. Taylor took the re­port and was on his way to the girl’s home when he spot­ted her walk­ing on the 3200 block of Bel­green St. At the same time, he was no­ti­fied by po­lice ra­dio that a girl had broken in­to a house on the 12600 block of Calpine Road and threatened a wo­man res­id­ent with a bar­be­cue fork.

Taylor stopped the girl and later de­term­ined that she was the miss­ing stu­dent and the home in­va­sion sus­pect. She was charged with the break-in.

On Oct. 11, a mo­tor­ist al­legedly poin­ted a gun at a Fe­d­Ex de­liv­ery driver in a road rage in­cid­ent at Grant Av­en­ue and Ashton Road. A short time later, Taylor spot­ted a car on the 9100 block of Academy Road that fit the de­scrip­tion of the one driv­en by the gun­man. Taylor stopped the sus­pect and ar­res­ted him.

On Oct. 22, Taylor ar­res­ted two males who al­legedly tried to break in­to a home on the 8000 block of Row­land Ave. The of­ficer spot­ted the sus­pects walk­ing on the 7800 block of Crispin St. shortly after the crime.

Adams earned an­oth­er Of­ficer of the Month award for Novem­ber after he chased down a sus­pect in the sexu­al as­sault at knife­point of a 19-year-old wo­man. The crime oc­curred Nov. 22 in the laun­dry room of an apart­ment build­ing on the 2800 block of Wal­nut Hill St. The wo­man fought off her at­tack­er, who ran away, only for wit­nesses to chase him.

Adams picked up the foot pur­suit and caught the sus­pect on the 2800 block of Welsh Road. He ar­res­ted the al­leged at­tack­er after the vic­tim iden­ti­fied him. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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