Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each challenge freely and unselfishly while answering the call to duty. In certain instances, their actions warrant special attention from their respective departments. The Bulletin also wants to recognize those situations that transcend the normal rigors of the law enforcement profession.
Officer/Flight Medic Thaddeus “Ted” Plezia of the Nassau County, New York, Police Department had just finished his shift when he spotted several cars parked at a railroad crossing on his route home. He observed smoke and steam in the air and a car with sparks and smoke billowing from beneath it parked on the railroad tracks. Officer Plezia parked his personal vehicle and approached the scene, where he heard voices yelling, “Get out of the car!” and “Don’t touch the car!” He could not tell if the vehicle was on the electrified third rail. Further, he did not realize the fire soon would spread to the upper part of the vehicle and did not even know if the railroad yet had halted trains or cut power to the third rail. Officer Plezia had no way to obtain answers to any of these questions or request back up. Nonetheless, he ignored the imminent danger to his own life and reached into the burning vehicle to remove the victim from the car. After struggling briefly, the officer successfully untangled the victim from the car and they both fell safely onto the eastbound tracks. Officer Plezia and a bystander then helped the victim to safety away from the burning car.
Lieutenant John Morgan of the McMinnville, Tennessee, Police Department responded to an emergency call about a fire on the third floor of a motel. The manager previously had tried to extinguish the flames with buckets of water, but the growing volumes of flames and heavy black smoke prevented him from entering the room. When Lieutenant Morgan arrived at the scene, the manager informed him that a guest remained inside the burning room, at which point the lieutenant immediately rushed upstairs to quell the flames with a fire extinguisher. Once inside the room, he located the individual, who was intoxicated, severely burned, and unable to escape. Although the guest acted combatively when the officer attempted to rescue him, Lieutenant Morgan remained persistent and helped the injured man to safety. Emergency medical personnel soon arrived and transported the victim to the hospital.
Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based on either the rescue of one or more citizens or arrest(s) made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety. Submissions should include a short write-up (maximum of 250 words), a separate photograph of each nominee, and a letter from the department’s ranking officer endorsing the nomination. Submissions should be sent to the Editor, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA 22135.