Five local police officers and a dispatcher were lauded Thursday for their work in January and end a string of armed robberies in the region.
Sgt. Stephen Trepanier and Officer Karen Wallace, Sgt. Jeff Tobey and Officers Brent Morong and David Marsh, plus Hamilton-Wenham Emergency Center dispatcher Keith Holloran were all awarded the Medal for Meritorious Service.
The honor was handed out on Thursday afternoon at the Hamilton Police station in front of family, friends, officers and town officials.
On hand were Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens, Wenham Police Chief Ken Walsh and Chief Dispatcher Anne Marie Cullen, plus Hamilton Town Manager Michael Lombardo, Wenham Interim Town Manager Mark Andrews plus Hamilton Board of Selectmen Chairman David Neill and Wenham Board of Selectmen Chairman Molly Martins.
“There is no such thing as routine,” said Stevens, noting the danger of police work, even in a small town. In recent months, two police officers have been killed in the line of duty nearby, he noted – Chief Michael Maloney in Greenland, N.H. and Officer Kevin Ambrose in Springfield.
The officers and dispatcher were also all issued a citation from the state House of Representatives.
“Knowing most of you for most of my life, I’m not surprised to be here,” said state Rep. Brad Hill, R-Ipswich, who represents both towns.
The officers all played their own role is capturing Michael Gallella minutes after he allegedly robbed at knifepoint on Jan. 28.
Gallella has on the North Shore.
The complete text of awarded the Medal for Meritorious Service:
On Jan. 28, 2012, at approximately 1:15 p.m., Dispatcher Keith Holloran received a 911 emergency call from Larry Chase, the owner of Harrigan's Package store on Bay Road in Hamilton. At that time, Mr. Chase stated he had just been robbed by a male party wearing a ski hat, sunglasses and wielding a knife. Mr. Chase advised that the assailant left the store and is possibly in a yellow compact car. While in an off-duty capacity, Wenham Police Officer David Marsh overheard Dispatcher Holloran's robbery broadcast and observed the yellow compact in the area of Margaret Road. Officer Marsh was able to obtain and broadcast a registration number of the suspect vehicle and description of the operator. At the request of Sergeant Stephen Trepanier, Staff Sergeant Jeffery Tobey and Officer Brent Morong from the Wenham Police Department also responded. While in route to the scene, Officer Karen Wallace observed the accused vehicle traveling southbound on Bay Road. Staff Sergeant Tobey, along with Officer Morong, subsequently stopped the vehicle and with Officer Wallace placed the two occupants in custody without incident. As a result of the quick actions of Sergeant Trepanier, Sergeant Tobey, Officer Wallace, Officer Marsh and Officer Morong, the Hamilton Police Department was able to place two individuals under arrest without incident. The arrest of these individuals has also aided with the investigation of four additional package store robberies in other municipalities.
Criteria: The Medal for Meritorious Service will be awarded to any person or persons rendering a service with a high degree of alertness, perseverance, and superior judgment in the performance of a difficult task resulting in protection of life, recovery of property, the prevention or solving of a major crime, or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person.