During the course of a year, police officers can encounter some pretty wild situations. For Officer Timothy Taylor of the Northeast’s 7th district, wild became almost routine in 2013.
Taylor recorded the most arrests of anybody in his squad during the year as he captured a litany of alleged killers, thugs, burglars and thieves. For those efforts, Taylor was named as the 7th district’s Officer of the Year during the May 15 meeting of the Police District Advisory Council at New Boulevard Diner.
Numerous public and police department leaders took part in the award ceremony, including state Sens. Mike Stack III and Tina Tartaglione and state Reps. Kevin Boyle and John Sabatina Jr., along with representatives for U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and City Councilman Brian O’Neill.
Police leaders on hand included Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Northeast Division Inspector Benjamin Naish and Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 7th district.
Taylor’s “commitment to both the department and the community he serves … is evident in the quality of his work on a daily basis,” wrote the officer’s supervisor, Sgt. Steven J. Carroll, in a nomination letter.
During 2013, Taylor won the district’s Officer of the Month Award four times, including once in collaboration with his partner, Officer Ernest Green. In July, the partners captured two men who were wanted in connection with an attempted murder. Taylor also saved a life in the case as he administered CPR to the shooting victim, who had suffered a wound of the back.
Taylor also won the monthly award in August, when he spotted a young man suspected of burglary and chased him on foot for several blocks before making the arrest. As a result, police recovered about $8,500 worth of stolen property and were able to identify and capture a second alleged burglar.
Taylor made two noteworthy arrests in October when he used live surveillance to locate and capture a Northeast man wanted for a shooting in Center City. It wasn’t an easy arrest as the suspect fled his house and led the officer on a vehicle pursuit. In the same month, Taylor locked up three alleged thieves who had broken into cars at Conwell Playground.
In December, Taylor won his fourth monthly award after arresting two guys who allegedly beat up a female Washington High student at a bus stop.
Carroll wrote that Taylor has been recommended for official department citations for those various episodes. According to the sergeant, Taylor has made a big impact in the district since his transfer there about two years ago.
Taylor joined the police department 13 years ago and spent much of his career in the 35th district. In the 7th, he has become a leader in his squad, Carroll said, and is always available to back up his fellow officers or provide advice to less experienced colleagues. Taylor shares his positive attitude with the public, too, and has garnered praise from citizens he has served. In addition to his standard duties, Taylor is trained as a bicycle officer and has participated in the bicycle demonstration at the annual Hero Thrill Show four times, helping to raise money for the families of fallen police and firefighters.
Two other 7th district officers were also nominated for the Officer of the Year Award. Officer Terrence Black was described as a “hard working, dedicated officer who is passionate in the performance of his duties and commitment to the community,” in a nomination letter written by Lt. John Morgan, who also identified Black as a “self-motivated officer who takes a personal interest in the community he serves.”
Meanwhile, Lt. Mike Root nominated Officer Patricia Hershman for the award. Hershman was assigned to the 7th district in 2003 following 12 years in the 12th district. She has been the “school beat” officer at George Washington High School for the last seven years.
In addition to helping the school maintain a positive and welcoming climate, free of drugs, violence, intimidation and fear, Hershman made numerous important arrests during 2013. Her efforts resulted in arrests on and around school grounds involving weapons, narcotics, assaults, thefts, robberies and disorderly conduct. Further, the school officers’ presence in and around the site helps deter dangerous activity and diffuse serious situations that may arise, Root said.
In a separate award presentation, the 7th PDAC recognized Peter Gronczewski and David Van Skiver as the district’s Officers of the Month for April. The partners rescued a woman who had attempted to commit suicide in a parking lot on the 11000 block of Roosevelt Blvd.
The incident occurred on April 6 at about 2 a.m. The officers were on patrol when they saw a car parked in the lot with its headlights on and the engine running. As they approached the car, they saw no one inside, so they ran the license plate through the police database and learned that the registered owner had been reported missing and suicidal.
The officers took a closer look inside the car and saw that an unconscious woman was lying on the rear floor beneath a front seat, which had been reclined fully. There was a suicide note on the front seat.
The officers found that the woman had a slight pulse and had her transported to a local hospital for treatment of a drug overdose. The woman survived. Her father later visited the police district to personally thank the officers for saving his daughter’s life. ••