LIME CITY — A joint award from the National Association of Police Organizations was given to 11 police officers for outstanding service, bravery and heroism for a combined case from Perrysburg Township and the City of Perrysburg departments.
The NAPO presented the Top Cops Awards in Washington, D.C., on Sunday at the organization’s awards dinner, as part of National Police Week.
“The Perrysburg Township Trustees invite our community to recognize and honor the team members receiving this distinguished award. This occasion should also serve as a reminder to Perrysburg that our entire emergency services personnel deserve our unyielding support and gratitude for their courage and professionalism,” said Bob Mack, Perrysburg Township trustee.
Representing the State of Ohio for their outstanding service, the following seven Perrysburg Township police officers were honored: Lt. J. Matthew Gazarek, Sgt. David Molter, Sgt. Scott Moskowitz, Ptl. Donald Widmer, Ptl. Chris Klewer, Ptl. Alicia Cryan and Det. Dustin Glass.
Four City of Perrysburg police officers were honored: Ptl. Wm. Kelly Chalfant, Ptl. Doug Cunningham, Ptl. Mark Lepkowski and Ptl. Ryan Merrow.
The recognition was given for the case of a Perrysburg Township officer-involved shooting that killed an armed suspect who had taken hostages on Aug. 27.
“They were responding to a dangerous situation and they were able to help the civilians out. That’s what it boils down to,” said Patrick Jones, chief of the Perrysburg Police Division. “It was a pretty dangerous situation they had going on there. It’s nice to see our officers get recognized.”
One case is selected from each state to receive the award of Honorable Mention. Officers are nominated by an independent selection committee of fellow officers.
“This is a tremendous honor for our officers and the Perrysburg Police Division. As a community, we celebrate the courage and selfless sacrifice of our officers who work tirelessly to protect and serve Perrysburg,” said Tom Mackin, Perrysburg mayor.
The purpose of the Top Cops Awards is to educate the American public about the nation’s heroes and to pay tribute to law enforcement officers from federal, state, county and local agencies across the nation for outstanding service to their communities during the preceding year.
The Aug. 27 incident led to the resignation of the Perrysburg police chief, who was criticized for pulling his officers away from the scene.
It began with a traffic stop on Ohio 795 by a township police officer. As one of the passengers was being arrested, two others in the vehicle fled leading officers around the township.
One of the suspects, 25-year-old Trent Harper, allegedly jumped on a riding lawnmower, holding a man and his grandson hostage briefly.
Harper reportedly opened fire on officers and was fatally shot.
In October, after video and audio apparently showed Paez calling off the Perrysburg police officers, Mackin asked for a Lucas County Sheriff’s Office investigation.